If only it was this easy to really steal the crown jewels
It’s your moment to shine in the Crown Jewel Heist! But this is no smash and grab robbery. Your route has been meticulously planned to take you on a path through the medieval castle before reaching royalty’s prize possession, the Crown Jewels. Not so fast… navigate the high-security laser maze and the loot it’s yours!
As is standard for our group of friends, when a company sets up shop or opens a new room in a location within an hour of one of us, we make a plan to get together and try them out. Escape Experience Windsor was one such company, and finally the timing was right to check them out.
When we arrived, we were led to the waiting area, with some comfy seats, while our GM did some last minute checks of Crown Jewel Heist. While the seats were comfortable, there was a distinct lack of anything else, including bag storage. (Which is a bit odd, given the venue is also a left luggage facility). I imagine that this will change eventually though, as the company seems to have big plans, but reception will be the last place to be renovated.
After a short wait, we were collected by our GM and led to the room for our briefing. This was mainly health and safety, as well as the backstory of the room, with the addition of a clear explanation of our goal; remember, leave no man behind! And with that, our GM departed and we were left to wait for our time to begin.
Once our timer began counting down, we were off, rapidly solving puzzles and working our way through the room. I don’t particularly like to rate a room on difficulty, because it is very subjective, but this room was certainly on the easier side of the games I have played. The ease with which we completed most tasks could certainly be a byproduct of our experience, as even the most inexperienced member of our team has completed more than 20 games, but we found we were absolutely flying through the room.
Despite how quickly we played, we did enjoy the game. Game play was non-linear, which definitely helped speed things up, but this is a solid, if easy room, with decent theming and a few little twists to keep things interesting.
Puzzles here were a nice mixture of physical interaction and one or two padlocks. Several relied on good communication, which I love, as it forces the team to come together, if only for a moment. My favourite types of puzzles are the more physical tasks. There were a number of these, so that was a nice bonus as well, but there was nothing particularly remarkable here puzzle-wise for the enthusiast, just some fun.
For the most part, the puzzles fit well with the theme, but a few were a bit of a stretch, and there was one notable exception to the generally logical aspect of the puzzles. This particular challenge was actually really quite clever in practice, but the process guiding you towards the solution was ambiguous at best, and resulted in us needing to ask for guidance. Upon speaking with our GM following our escape, I gather this particular puzzle gives many of their players trouble, so perhaps it will be changed; I can certainly see at least one way to modify this slightly, clarifying what you need to do, without actually making it any easier to figure out, but as it stands, I found it a particularly frustrating few minutes trying to devise a solution.
There was very little back story to this room, and it was pretty much what you would expect; after all, why else would you come to Windsor, if not to attempt to steal the Crown Jewels? Although, they’re actually kept in London… Like the story, the room decor wasn’t much of a surprise, as the theme was centered around the idea that you had broken into a castle to do just that. The theming here is reasonably well done, with nods to medieval history, tapestries, swords, and other things you might expect to find in a castle, and felt almost like the type of exhibits you find in locations like The Tower of London. There was one apparatus in the corner that was a bit off-theme, but otherwise worked well.
The game had a nice flow, leading you on a journey, through the hole in the wall of the castle through to the high security vault, and finally your entire team must escape the room with the jewels in hand; leave no man behind! Whilst there weren’t many surprises in store on your journey to the vault, there were one or two moments when something did behave in an unexpected way, which helped to add just a little bit more excitement to the game.
The screen displaying our time was also our clue delivery method, and we were alerted to the arrival of clues by the most annoying sound in the world. We did need one or two clues – One was due to rather ambiguous puzzle design, and the other due purely to our own error, but these were delivered quickly when requested.
The website allows you to book in any number of players from two to eight, but advises that experienced escapists not play with more than six. I would go so far as to say that even six enthusiasts would be too many, and I’d say go for a team of two to four (and even four may be too many unless you’re aiming to escape in under half an hour), with six being the maximum for inexperienced teams, or you may find members of your team simply waiting at points where only two to three people can take part in a puzzle.
Team: 5 players – escaped in 27:09
Address: 15a Goswell Hill, Windsor SL4 1RH