Pop quiz, hotshot. There’s a bomb on a bus
You and your team embark on a perilous journey. Time is ticking you and your team have 45 minutes to regain this out of control bus. This fast paced immersive interactive escape room is not to be missed.
Escape Down the Rabbit Hole is actually quite aptly named, as the space the venue occupies feels sprawling, and multi faceted, but also quite cosy – a bit like I picture a rabbit warren. A last minute weekend away in Devon found the Review the Room Team not too far from Barnstaple, so really, it would have been a crime not to take a little bit of time out of our weekend to play a game. Initially, we had only intended to play one (this was meant to be a relaxing weekend to recharge after all), but after escaping from The College of Magic in record time (No, really), it seemed silly to miss out on Escape the Bus, especially since the bus wasn’t already booked at the time we finished The College of Magic
One thing to note about Escape Down the Rabbit Hole is that they seem to be massive cinema fans, with artwork in the restaurant and escape games that are clearly inspired by the movies. Those familiar with the careers of Keanu Reeves and/or Sandra Bullock will almost certainly recognise the theme of Escape the Bus – after all, there is a bomb on the bus, and you can’t slow down. (For those of you that don’t know what I’m talking about, I highly recommend Speed for some epic 90’s action.)
Covid-19 Precautions: We wore masks while we were playing and all staff (including our GM) wore masks too.
I will admit, I was not expecting much from Escape the Bus, but when we stepped into the vehicle, I had to completely re-evaluate my expectations. Ok, the bus is not an actual bus, but once you’re inside, you can easily believe it is, as it transports you into an entirely different world – one that actually feels like it’s moving. Given that the space is entirely on view, there is little in the way of surprises or secret spaces to be found, but Escape the Bus still managed to give a decent sense of discovery as we pieced together the clues to try to save ourselves.
The game progressed in a totally linear manner, making it a good choice for smaller teams (especially considering the somewhat tight confines of the bus) or newcomers to escape rooms. Escape the Bus had a good flow, building the tension as we reached the climax and the defusal of the bomb. You do only get one shot at the bomb though – even wiggling it a little funny may cause it to “explode,” so you’d better be certain you know the defusal sequence before you start.
Part of the reason we had initially intended to skip Escape the Bus was that the game was billed as only a 45-minute game, leading us to think that the game would either be lacking in content or on the easier side. And yes, to some extent that is true, but we actually finished the game in almost exactly the same amount of time as The College of Magic (roughly 25 minutes), and for a 45-minute game to keep a pair of experienced escapers locked up for that long is actually rather impressive.
The puzzle types we encountered were generally some old escape room favourites – a bit of word play, plenty of observation, some logic, and more. There were a variety of padlocks around the bus, but there were still a few other things to keep it interesting. Observation is key though, make sure you look everywhere, and at everything, we missed something and it delayed us for a while.
Clues, if needed, are fed to teams through the bus’s intercom system. This is somewhat like the old standby of a walkie talkie, but since it’s integrated that makes it more immersive. Rebecca returned as our GM, although we never actually got to try out the clue system properly since this time we made her job a little bit easier, only requiring assistance was when the bomb got a little touchy at the end, despite having the correct sequence for its defusal. But we know from College of Magic that she is attentive and ready to help when any assistance is required.
Speed is actually one of my favourite films, so to play a game that has taken inspiration from one of the greats was actually a great deal of fun. Escape the Bus was a bit of a surprise, and I found that of the two games available at Escape Down the Rabbit Hole, it was my favourite.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 24:00
Address:1 Market Street, Barnstaple EX31 1BX