City Mazes is one of the larger new kids on the block in the Escape Room Universe. Headquartered in Bristol, City Mazes now operates in 4 locations, Bristol, Oxford, Cardiff and now London. Bristol boasts 4 rooms with a 5th on the way and Oxford and Cardiff both have 4. I played both Rooms in the London Location, just slightly off main road in Islington.
The company is easy enough to find with google maps and on arrival you notice a rustic but spacious waiting area. The staff were enthusiastic and professional in welcoming us.
First up was Bamboozled, now I’ve never seen Jumanji, either the original or the new one but I got what it was meant to be pretty early on.
2 – 10 people
✮✮✮✮ Skill Rating
After playing a mysterious board game that you found in your attic
you’re somehow transported into a jungle world! The only way to escape
is by completing the game in 60 minutes or less! Will you be able to finish
it before whatever is lurking in the wild finds you?
So when Team Hydra and I got in the room, we all thought “ok, potential but nothing says wow”. The Jumanji style centre piece was strong but the kind of precision needed to operate it hampered progress throughout the game. There was a reasonable mix of puzzles but the linear nature of the game was a tad frustrating. Now sometimes the decor in the room either enhances the experience or can cover up for weak puzzles. Here the cheap decor did little for the game play or promoted a strong sense of immersion.
If the puzzles hadn’t been ok I would have been far more disappointed than I was. Even though they hadn’t been open long the wear and tear on the room had already started to show. Despite all of the this the room for improvement was large and potential to be a strong room was obvious. The key here is simple, a better job at immersion would take this from being an okish to slightly disappointing room to being a good room. The test is this, look up, and if you see office panels don’t expect much. A few extra hundred quid on creating a real jungle feel would go a long way.
I had high hopes for the next game having seen through the door at the end of someone’s game. Was the Lost Cabin about to set things right? Well not quite.
THE LOST CABIN
2 – 8 people
✮✮✮✮✮✮ Skill Rating
CAUTION! EXTREME CHALLENGE!
Day 74 on the Island. Last week on a scavenger hunt, you saw
a Cabin in a clearing that had never been there before. The day
after when you went to show your people…it had gone. Did you imagine
it? You can’t have. You just woke up in it. How do you get out?
From the outset the Lost Cabin ticked most of the decor boxes. I even resisted the need to examine the ceiling for a good 10 minutes. The first puzzles was explained to us before the doors closed and it’s a good job it was…maybe we are all pretty thick but the first puzzle was a logic leap way beyond us. We made steady progress despite a real lack of coherence to the story. Was it a horror virus, was it a spaceship, was it a Cold War experiment gone wrong? We got stuck a couple of times, and after the hints were given we all asked “why?”; for me things need to make much more sense. The virtual reality element of the game seemed to be there for the sake of it rather than being in anyway linked to the actual game play. We got out with a few minutes to spare but didn’t realise we had escaped, in my view another issue. My experience of Russian bought rooms has been quite good but this left me disappointed.
We left doubly disappointed and kind of glad we had got it on a groupon.