What do you do once you’ve had the hangover to end all hangovers and your friends are all in relationships and having offspring, or at least seemingly curating their own indoor zoo? Watch Netflix? Yes, but after spending a week inside completing Black Mirror and Stranger Things it is recommended you get out and find some new adventures. This feature is just a way to try and help out those who are stuck for new ideas and are hoping there are still new things out there other than drinking and dating apps. Which is why I recently went to an escape room!
The UK has apparently fallen in love with the phenomenon, where teams of two and above have 60 minutes to escape a themed room by solving the puzzles and challenges that await inside – think The Crystal Maze, but on a smaller scale and with no celebrity hosts. Each room varies from location to location, from horror themed rooms, to sci-fi and even Christmas related rooms – and they have nothing to do with 50 Shades of Grey. Well not any I’ve come across.
U-Escape is one of Bournemouth’s latest rooms and they invited myself and a few keen players to play their latest “Barber Shop Mystery”. The 1930’s themed room has been under surveillance from the New York police, and we had 60 minutes to get inside, unravel the mysteries and get out before being discovered. It is always hard to describe what goes on inside an escape room without any spoilers. What I can say is that we were instantly transported into another world and time; there was a multitude of treasures to discover with the perfect blend of items to find and puzzles to solve.
Each member of the team felt involved in the process, and in a state of excitement about what was around the corner and if we had enough time to complete out mission. Unlike other escape rooms this didn’t just rely on finding out combination lock codes and keys. It was easy to see that the owners had really thought about the narrative and puzzles and created an experience that certainly eclipses the usual Tuesday night pub quiz.
There are over 850 rooms in the UK and that is easily going to hit 1000 by the end of the year. This is simply down to how addictive they are. Once you’ve felt the glory of escaping a room you just have to Google where you can play next, and the rooms are evolving constantly with more mechanics and newer technology – the future looks bright so get down and get locked inside an escape room.
For more information on U-Escape check out their website here.