‘Operation Escape’, should have been ‘Operation Don’t Bother’
TO CLARE HOLLINGWORTH. URGENT. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR ARTICLE TO THE TELEGRAPH. URGENT INTEL REQUIRED. YOU HAVE 60 MINS TO COMPLETE FACT FINDING MISSION. IS BRITAIN AT WAR WITH GERMANY?
An odd building down a residential street is not your usual location for an escape room, but that’s what Operation Escape has made its home. We found our way to the room and were greeted by our GM for the evening, the waiting room was pretty small but there was enough room for us all and there was a locker for us to put bags/coats in.
She gave us a briefing and how to ask for clues and then showed us through to the room which is when our time began. The room was a very basic room and I hope the cameras weren’t on our faces as we entered as they would have just seen disappointment. But nevertheless we got to work with finding out where to start and it soon became clear that this was one of those rooms where you need to find items to piece together and solve an overriding puzzle.
Our team of four went for the divide and conquer route, although being a small room we weren’t divided long and soon ended up looking over each others shoulders to see how they could assist. We made progress through the puzzles and were doing ok until one thing happened that ruined the entire room for us, we moved something. Yes, this entire room was ruined by the fact that we moved some items that shouldn’t have been moved and because of that we had to ask us for a clue to help us get a combination in the right order. For us, this is a cardinal sin. If you have items in a room that must be in a specific order then either you need to make that clear (labels?) or make it so they can’t be moved – they did neither.
This was a low tech room and for one of the puzzles I’m 99% sure that it was just our GM watching in and then pressing a button when she was satisfied we had completed something. Later on in the game it got even more low-tech when we were nearly killed by golf balls. We thought we had completed the room as we did what we were asked to do but then there was an additional thing we had to complete, it wasn’t bad but it through us as we thought we had completed the mission.
I really wanted to like this room as it is nice to see rooms popping up in greater London rather than central London but unfortunately we didn’t. I’ve seen other reviews talking about moving items and not being able to solve the puzzles, and this really is an easy thing to fix. The fact that it hasn’t been fixed makes me questions the owners and if they really want to appeal to enthusiasts or just go for the low hanging fruit of ‘office parties’ and ‘first timers’.
There was nothing original in this room and some of the puzzles just felt a bit lost in what we were supposed to be doing. They weren’t hard, although some required some decent maths skills, but generally they all just fell a bit flat with our group.
Nope, none of that in here. We didn’t feel immersed and the room design felt very cheap and incredibly tired already. I left feeling like someone had perhaps tried to earn a ‘Escape Room Design’ badge in Scouts and this was their creation. I won’t even get started on the historical inaccuracies with the story.
The GM was nice and chatted with us a little. She gave clues when asked and they were delivered through a letterbox on a piece of paper.
If Operation Escape start taking feedback on board then I think they could have a chance at survival in an already tough market, if they don’t then I fear they won’t be around for much longer.