The most fun you could have behind bars
30 years ago, ex-prisoner Joseph Wendle attempted to escape Standfast Jail. Over the five years he was held there, he created an elaborate escape plan which, on July 23rd 1989, he executed right up until the final stage when he was caught red handed attempting to steal the Warden’s keys. Unfortunately, prisoner Wendle was transferred to a high security unit in Dover, but fortunately for you he has left a trail of intricate clues and codes to help lead you to freedom.
We don’t normally detour to venues with just one room, but as we’d heard good things about Jail Break at Clue Cracker we decided to make an exception and swing by Tunbridge Wells on our way home after a weekend near Ashford.
In 2016 in its original form this game was in Margate and since then, Ben and Katie have been escape room vloggers so we’d been aware of them for a little while. Once we saw they were reincarnating Jail Break they had our attention.
ClueCracker are located just behind the Shuffle House, which for the record does amazing pizza, so they were very easy to find. Escape rooms pairing up with food establishments seems like a win-win for both businesses.
When we arrived we were greeted by Ben and taken through to the backyard where the room was. We had a little chat about escape rooms in general and then we were given the option of putting on some rather orange prison attire, opting for full immersion we donned our coveralls and after a short health and safety speech, we were lead into our cell.
The staging for this room is really good, but for me, this room really excelled with the puzzles. Some of the puzzles seemed quite easy at first but you soon realise that their puzzles are like ‘Inception of the puzzle world’ – puzzles within puzzles.
As you’d expect in a prison cell, a number of items have been hidden from the guards so there is an element of searching required, although this wasn’t a search heavy room.
There was a good mix of puzzles in this room, both in terms of variety and difficulty. One puzzle required teamwork and communication but obviously, all of the puzzles will be easier if you talk to each other.
People love or hate padlocks, and this room has a lot of them, so bear that in mind. Personally, I quite like padlocks so long as the puzzles to get the code makes sense, and all the puzzles in this room were perfectly logical.
Prison break rooms must be one of the most popular themes for an escape room (as well as bank heist rooms), so it was pleasant to see that despite the theme being the same as so many others, this was a very different room on so many levels.
There was a good flow throughout the room and everything from the start to the very end made sense with the theme. Getting picky you could say there were items in there which prisoners probably wouldn’t be allowed (are they allowed padlocks?), but this is an escape room so suspend that disbelief.
Prison break rooms can be dark, overly dark, but Clue Cracker seemed to get the lighting perfect for this room. At one point in the room, the lighting is low, very low, but they provide items to assist you here and they were perfectly adequate.
One thing to note, there are a few points in the room where you will need to duck/crawl. At the time we didn’t see a way around this, but ClueCracker have confirmed that there are systems in place to bypass this, and this room is actually perfectly accessible for those of limited mobility, with the full team still able to be actively involved in orchestrating your jailbreak. I’d say if you’re concerned, it’s always best to speak directly to the venue, and they will be sure to help you out.
Sometimes when you’re working on a puzzle it can help to write things down, so it was nice to see that our cell contained a little chalkboard and chalk to make life a little easier.
I love a strong ending and although this room didn’t have a ‘wow factor’ ending, it was a clear ending and finished off the story nicely.
Clues were delivered in character by Joseph Wendle via a screen in the room. Clue Cracker have obviously thought about where people are likely to get stumped and have pre-recorded messages ready to go. If you need assistance that they hadn’t prepared for then they could still chirp in through a speaker system (again in character).
Our GM, Ben, was obviously watching us closely as when we requested a clue it came almost instantly. Equally, if he saw us about to do something very stupid they even had a pre-recorded message ready to go for that. When he did give nudges/clues they were just enough to give us the push in the right direction without actively spoon-feeding us.
The screens also displayed your remaining time so you knew how you were progressing.
Clue Cracker are planning on opening a new room at some point next year and if this one is anything to go by, it will be worth a detour! Hell, we’d probably even make it the destination.
We’ve done a few prison break rooms but this one is up there with the best, perhaps even tied for our favourite with The Prison at Lucardo, Manchester
Team: Two players – escaped in 53:33 with four clues
Address: 68 St John’s Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9PE