Now we see what all the fuss is about
Few people know about the Brighthelm Diamond, a jewel of epic value. It was purchased by four of Brighton’s most influential developers and has been hidden, for if ever the city was in dire need.
But now, Brighton is in danger of losing it, as its whereabouts have been revealed to the worst kind of people. It is only a matter of time before it is stolen and auctioned off. You must break into the jeweller where it is hidden and save the treasure for the sake of the city.
Can you and your team pull off this heroic heist to save a part of Brighton heritage?
We’d visited Pier Pressure in the past but hadn’t actually managed to make it to play Loot the Lanes and Modrophenia, so it was about time that this changed. Loot the Lanes has been consistently ranked as the best escape room in the UK so it was long overdue for us to give it a try and see what all the fuss was about.
Everyone knows that Pier Pressure make quality games, and on our previous visit to play Pavilion Perplex and Raver Quest that quality was clear to see, so we had high hopes that Loot the Lanes would live up to its reputation (no pressure!).
We arrived at Pier Pressure bright and early, and I must admit a little apprehensive as we had heard that this game was hard for a team of two as there was so much to do. On entering the reception area we were given the usual cheery Pier Pressure welcome and had a little time to use the toilet, drink some water, and chat. Not too long later our GM/Host, Sir Arthur, turned up and escorted us to another location. Yes, Pier Pressure is so overloaded with quality that they’ve had to put Loot the Lanes down the road in the basement of a cool looking restaurant.
Our walk to this secondary venue was probably one of the strangest escape room experiences we’ve had. A fully in-character and dressed up GM just walking down the streets of Brighton certainly turned a few heads (great advertising too). When we arrived at the restaurant, we went down the stairs and into the basement. There was a secondary area here where we could store stuff in lockers if required, and without further ado we were shown into ‘the lanes’.
While standing in the lanes our host gave us a quick health and safety briefing and proceeded to tell us our mission. In a nutshell this game was a heist, but simply calling it a heist would be a disservice to the game that this is. Briefing over, our host left and we had 60 minutes to try and complete ‘the best game in the UK’.
I’ve been trying to think of superlatives to describe this game, but really it’s just easier to use one word – beautiful. From the moment you step foot in Loot the Lanes you are immersed in its world, from the cobbled streets to the quirky stores, it’s the perfect homage to the actual lanes.
I must admit that when we first got started in this game we were a bit distracted by everything in the room. This is one of those games where you really want to take some time to just explore and look at everything in detail, but obviously knowing its reputation we didn’t dare spend too long gawping at the set, we had a mission to do!
Really this is one of those games you have to just go and play. We could wax lyrical for hours talking about how beautiful it was, but even that wouldn’t do it justice. Also, for a game that seemingly had everything on show early on, there were still some surprises that we didn’t see coming.
The ending was also a solid ending and I actually loved how simple it was (once we got there). I thought there was going to be something much more complicated needing to be done to finish our heist, but was quite relieved when it wasn’t.
An escape room is only as strong as its puzzles, regardless of how beautiful the set is. Fortunately, I am happy to report that the puzzles in Loot the Lanes were just as strong as the set design. When you first enter the room you will no doubt look around and take in various things that may come in useful at some point, but the glorious thing is that nothing in this game is out of place – everything is there for a reason.
We found that the game played out in a linear fashion and once we found the starting point, everything seemed to come together. The signposting in the room was at just the right level that we never really felt lost or didn’t know where to go next.
I love it when you play a game with logical puzzles that just make sense, and Loot the Lanes had puzzles that seemed to be made for just how our brains were wired. Everything seemed to click into place and we found that we didn’t need help on anything and just deliriously breezed from one puzzle to the next – a true masterclass in puzzle design.
There were puzzle types in this room to suit everyone; audio, searching (minor), observation, logic, physical, communication, wordplay, teamwork – a true smorgasbord of puzzles! When puzzles were solved they either gave a code for a padlock, although there weren’t many of those, or resulted in triggering some clever tech hidden in the room.
We essentially gave our GM 40 minutes to chill out and relax as we found this room really just clicked with us so we didn’t need any help. Had we needed any clues they would have come through the payphone in the room and we could have requested them at any point. One clever thing about this payphone is that anything that would come through the phone is actually played on a loudspeaker in the phonebooth so that the entire team can hear what is being said – a great piece of design.
Knowing what the quality of the GMs are like at Pier Pressure I have no doubt that if we needed a clue it would have been delivered quickly and effectively to get us back on track.
There was a timer in this room but it was integrated in such a way that it felt like it belonged as part of the environment it was contained in. I guess a random 60 minute countdown in the Lanes would have been a bit odd – all about immersion here.
Our GM, Steve, did a great job of playing the role of Sir Arthur and interacting with us in a fun way. One of the nicest touches at Pier Pressure is that at the end you get a little report card where the GM gives you stamps for achievements. Our achievements were: “On the Ball,” “Clueless Wonders,” “Master Calculators,” and, of course, “Solved in Under 45 Minutes.” I love that they do this, it’s a great way to feel like you’re getting a personalised experience, and also shows that the GM was paying attention.
Loot the Lanes contains a real sense of awe that is often lacking in escape rooms and is a true testament to the team at Pier Pressure. Everything about this game is first rate and I can easily see why this game is consistently rated as the best, or one of the best in the UK. It’s a must play.
We held off playing this room as a team of two as we had heard it was challenging, but really it’s a game where the puzzles make sense and it is 100% doable as a team of two. We completed it with no help in just under 40 minutes as a team of two – so give it a try if you’re unsure.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 39:48
Address: 33 Upper N St, Brighton BN1 3FG