An ok room ruined by a terrible clue system
In 1934, Alcatraz transformed into a maximum high-security prison housing the most infamous and dangerous criminals. Situated in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay, no prisoner has ever successfully escaped. Alcatraz has just reached its maximum capacity for the first time in history – because of you.
You are all masters of escaping and no prison has managed to contain you. As highly skilled individuals you have been plotting your escape plan and now the time has arrived. A diversion has been caused by other inmates and the warden has sprinted off to help, leaving you in your cells unguarded. This is your prime opportunity to make your escape attempt. Can you escape before he returns and catches you?
We wanted to try and make it around all the escape room companies in Cardiff just so we would have a good idea of what Cardiff had to offer, so on our Cardiff day, our next location was Escape Reality which couldn’t be much more central if it tried, pretty much next to the Castle.
This place has possibly the biggest waiting room I’ve ever seen at an escape room, with plenty of seating and lots of little games to keep you entertained while you wait for your room.
Alcatraz is a room where you start in two seperate locked cells, as we were a team of five we divided up into a two and a three. We had to work together to get out of our rooms, and then continue on to escape the prison completely.
We spent a long time in the first couple of rooms which meant that we felt more rushed in what came later. We got the first team out of their room relatively quickly, but then it took much longer to release the second team.
The biggest thing we didn’t like about the rooms at Escape Reality are that they give you an iPad which you can use to scan puzzle QR codes if you need a little help, or I believe it may even give you the solution if you wanted it to. It felt like they were spoon-feeding far too much in here and it really was an annoyance that all the puzzles were actually numbered so you knew the order to do them in. Perhaps inexperienced players will like this, but we hated it.
This is an ok room but there is far too much going on, in terms of decor and red herrings and some of the puzzles were overly hard. If they sort out the clue system then it will improve, but for now, it just ruins everything.
A mixture of puzzles, some involving looking around the room and picking out the information you needed, some collecting of items, and then some you just had to sit down and solve. We felt a lot of the puzzles were ambiguous and we couldn’t see how anyone would get them without any clues, so despite getting out of this room we just felt a bit annoyed by it.
There were some nice touches with this room, the cells felt like cells and there was a nice use of other rooms and ways to connect them. Unfortunately with the clue system the way it was it felt like a bit of a cop out and really broke the immersion. It was like being spoon-fed instructions on how to escape from a prison, and I’m pretty sure that isn’t how it should be.
There were actually two clue systems in place here. Option One: you could scan the code with the ipad you were given, which would give you two hints, and finally the solution for each puzzle. This meant that you knew exactly what was a puzzle, and what order to do them in, which I feel takes half of the fun out of a room. Option Two: you can flick a ‘light switch’ and in a minute or so the GM will actually come in the room and walk you through or give you clues to help you complete the puzzle. This element was handy when not a single one of the torches supplied were actually usable, but if there was ever any immersion it was instantly lost. I don’t know why they just can’t use walkie-talkies or something simple like that as even that would be a big improvement.
This would be a hard room for inexperienced teams who aren’t confident on their communication, and annoying for experienced teams who like good rooms. Not one we’d recommend
Team: 5 people
Address: 2nd and 3rd Floor, 6-7 St. John Street, Cardiff CF10 1GJ