I don’t usually spend my weekends locked in handcuffs, frantically attempting to escape from prison… but this Saturday was different.Advertisement
We headed to Escape Room Preston not really knowing what to expect. Our research was minimal as we wanted to avoid spoilers about the game and go in with a completely open mind. All we knew was that we would have one hour to complete a series of tricky puzzles in order to flee from a prison cell. A doddle, right?
Escape Room is set inside a converted mill in Aqueduct Street, and it all feels pretty cool and edgy when we walk through the doors. The walls are covered with bright graffiti and its quirky, underground feel pulls us right in. We’re greeted by the upbeat staff and there is a bunch of happy-looking game players leaving as we go in. So far, so good – we’re ready to take on the challenge!
Guided through to the reception room, we sat waiting for our turn, a little anxious about what was to come. There are screens with information about each of the five games – The Mummy, Gallery, Prison Break, The Vampire Chronicles and Taken.
We were signed up for Prison Break. It’s rated four out of five stars on the difficulty scale, so not impossible but still pretty challenging for two people taking part in our first game! You’re allowed up to six people in the room, so we wondered if being four men down might prove an obstacle in itself.
Our brief was this:
‘You are locked in a maximum security prison and are awaiting your execution. You were framed by a serial killer and you are now facing charges for a murder. There were multiple attempts to escape from this prison but many people failed and most inmates were either killed or recaptured while others disappeared without a trace, giving hope to inmates that there are ways to escape! You have sixty minutes to escape from the premises and free yourself before the prison guards return.’
Exciting! Once we’d read about our task, a member of staff came over with handcuffs. ‘OK, guys. I’m just going to handcuff you both together,’ she said casually. ‘Erm, sure!’ we laughed. She locked us together and guided us down the hallway of escape rooms, each impressively graffitied on the outside to match the theme behind the door- The Vampire Chronicles looked particularly menacing!
We walked into the room, which was decked out to match everything you’d expect from a small, dark and eerie prison cell. There’s a dirty old mattress on the floor, a single sink and a lot of random scribblings on the wall – these would all come in handy later in the game.
The room is split in two and divided by metal bars. We’re told we need to unlock the bars and eventually make our way out of the locked door on the other side to ‘escape’. Struggling? There’s a button we can press to get a clue. But we’re only allowed two clues throughout the hour. With a quick ‘good luck’ the staff member starts the timer on the wall and the countdown begins. She leaves and it’s just us against the clock…
I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of the Prison Break game, as throwing yourself into it without any sneaky hints of how to crack the code is all part of the fun. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to break out in time, but it’s definitely something we are going to go back and try again!
I’d recommend playing Prison Break in a group of three. Although we maybe could have done with an extra helping hand, the rooms are quite small and a group of six might seem a bit overwhelming when everyone is trying to have their say on how they think things need to be done.
The detail and planning that has obviously gone into each game is brilliant and well worth the experience. The only downside would be that the torch we were given wasn’t very bright, so it was a struggle to read some of the padlock numbers in the dark and make sure they were moved into the right section.
Overall, this is perfect for anyone looking for something a bit different as a day out. We found the game gripping right up to the last second and we were left wanting more challenges to solve.
Prices are £22 per person for two people, but it goes down to £15 if you have six people on your team. More information from the Escape Rooms website.
Have you taken on Escape Rooms? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below