Published on April 1st, 2016 | by Dean Love0
Escape Hunt, London – Kidnapping in the Living Room
This was exciting. A new London venue but not one by some hobbyists. Oh no. This was Escape Hunt. One of the biggest room escape franchises in Europe, if not the world. The big boys had come to London to play, with three different rooms in a massive venue hosting eight in total. This could redefine room escapes as I knew them – we’d played a few games by smaller companies getting started in a very young UK market, but what would the professionals bring?
Well as it turns out, I was right. It seems Escape Hunt understand the market of room escapes extremely well. We entered the venue and the staff were rushing around the waiting room clearly too small to hold everyone, and asked us to wait a while as they were running a little late. Not a problem and we were into our briefing and game not long after. And the game was entirely average. Given the challenge they had set themselves of making a room look like a “living room” wasn’t exactly the most challenging, it’s somewhat shocking that the room wasn’t even decorated that well. It looked more like a run-down office than anything else. I can appreciate if you’re going with something bolder like “mad scientist’s lab” or “Egyptian tomb” then you might not quite manage to create something that looks and feels exactly right, but how hard is to get “living room” right?
The puzzles were fine but not particularly memorable, but then about 45 minutes in, the whole thing fell apart. We were on one puzzle, and got, un-prompted, a call on the walkie-talkie to give us a ‘hint’. I say ‘hint’ but the staff member simply instructed us on exactly what to do to solve the puzzle. That would have been frustrating enough, but that was the final puzzle. We did what she said, put the numbers in and escaped with 12 minutes to go! Remember how I said they were running a bit late? That’s one way to solve that problem.
The end-of-game debrief simply consisted of telling us where to get our complementary tea and that we could get a photo taken in the booth if we wanted to and that was it.
See, I was right. Escape Hunt understand this business well. They know exactly what the minimum they need to do is, to get as many people through as possible and maximise their income. All hail free-world economics.
Result – we escaped with quarter of an hour to spare!
Date played: 9 November 2014
Date of review: 31 March 2016
Team: Dean, Katherine, Sarah
Escape Hunt has since closed down, and premises are occupied by Escape Entertainment
Summary: The worst escape experience I’ve had in London. Avoid.