Go wild in the aisles!
Shop smart and shop fast because there’s plenty of points to be won. You and your team will solve puzzles and fill those trolleys, shopping has never been so much fun!
IT’S TIME TO GO WILD IN THE AISLES!
It had been a while since we’d visited Margate and played games at Ctrl Alt Esc (Frankenscape, Spacescape and Detention, but in that time they have been busy working on a new venue in town and opened up a new game, Quick-E-Mart. I also gather that another new game will be opening there soon too (correct at time of review).
We were actually on a little escape room holiday with our friends Amy and Ian from Brit of an Escape Habit and initially hadn’t planned to stop by Margate, but we managed to rejig our itinerary a little and swing by for a quick stop off at the Quick-E-Mart.
Parking was easy as we found a car park just down the road, and when we arrived we were greeted by our GM, Florence. We had a little chat with Florence, all made use of the facilities, and before long it was time to check out (pun intended) the game.
We stored our bags away in the secure bench-style lockers (which also had USB chargers so we could charge our phones, nice touch), and before we knew it, Florence disappeared and then our game-show host reappeared. We were given some very brightly coloured aprons to wear, like all good quick-e-mart employees should have, and Florence proceeded to do their very best to channel their inner game-show host.
This epic intro explained all we needed to know about our challenge for this
room gameshow, and then Florence escorted us up the stairs to the Quick-E-Mart. After explaining a few more things, our host departed and it was time for the cameras to roll!
If you’re from the UK and of a certain age then you’ll likely be familiar with a game-show called ‘Supermarket Sweep’ and really that is the best way to explain what this game is about. It’s like Supermarket Sweep with some puzzles thrown in – a really great idea for an actual game show, I think.
Despite this being offered as a 90 minute game, we couldn’t help but feel the pressure from the moment our time began. Quick-E-Mart felt like a very fast game and at times, a bit frantic. We never felt like we were rushing to complete things but by the time we had completed the game only 36 minutes had gone past which was a little disappointing as we expected more content. Saying that, we were a very experienced team and this isn’t a normal escape room experience.
I don’t know why, but I was expecting this game to take place in a much bigger space than it did, but even then there was a lot of running around and back-and-forth and at some points it got a tad chaotic! Everything is pretty much on show from the moment you enter the game, but there are still some surprises to keep you on your toes.
The space did indeed feel like it was a small off-license/corner-shop that you could find on any random street in the UK, but there were also atmospheric noises and music to make it feel more exciting and authentic.
If you are looking for a game that is rammed full of silly jokes, puns, and innuendo – then this is the game for you. Despite our short time in this game, we had a lot of laughter (and sighing).
This is technically an escape room but it doesn’t feel like many escape rooms we played as it’s a different type of experience. Yes, there are puzzles, but really the puzzles take a bit of a back seat to the experience and it’s the experience that gets the adrenaline going.
As you may expect from a game that is loosely based around ‘Supermarket Sweep’, a good chunk of the game is finding items and then returning them to your basket. But it’s not simply a case of finding something that is lost, you have to work out exactly what is being asked for and then find it.
Searching obviously played a big part of the game, some things were in the open and others were locked which had puzzles you had to solve before you could release them. Observation, maths, logic, audio, wordplay – there really was a little bit of everything in this game.
In addition to the tasks/challenges in the room, additional requests would come over the tannoy system for things that we had to collect. I must admit, Amy was a true star at this and in the time it took them to say what we needed, Amy had already decoded it and run off to find the item – of course, they didn’t just say what they needed, that would be too easy.
Just when you think it’s all over, it isn’t. There’s a bonus round that is very different to the rest of the puzzles – this is a round that either takes you to the end of your time, you fail, or you complete it. So the better the do, the higher your final total is.
If you love a GM that gets into character and brings oodles of enthusiasm, then you’d love Florence. From the moment we arrived they genuinely seemed happy to be there and interested in the reasons we had visited on that day. Florence’s introduction to the game was perfect and had just the right level of cringyness, Dale Winton (RIP) would be proud.
Inside the game, we didn’t see Florence. This wasn’t simply because we didn’t need any clues, but because Ctrl Alt Esc had devised a clever little clue system that felt like it belonged in the space. If we needed any help, then a receipt printer would print out the assistance and a tannoy announcement would play out asking the customer to check their receipt – clever.
We enjoyed our time in the Quick-E-Mart, but it just felt a bit short. We were an experienced team, but for a 90 minute game, we didn’t expect to get out in less than 40 minutes. The experience was fun, just a little too short lived and left us wanting a few extra puzzles to bulk it out.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 36:00
Address: 202 Northdown road, Margate, Kent CT9 2QU