A jungle paradise, in the Wirral.
Hathaway Brown, famous adventurer and explorer laid claim to the Golden Lion deep in the jungles of Peru many years ago, but Hathaway discovered that this Lion was CURSED, so he locked it away in his shack so that no man would ever lay eyes on it again, and did what all brave explorers do….He made his swift, and some would say cowardly escape on his boat back to England.
It was back in England that the curse well and truly caught up with Hathaway and now he is broke, skint, destitute he needs that lion back so can melt it down to break the curse and maybe sell it for a bit of extra money!
He has called upon YOU to enter the jungle, break into his abandoned shack and return the lion to him…
Are you brave enough to answer the call of adventure?
Wirral Escape Rooms is run by the team behind Brit of an Escape Habit (Amy and Ian) and their room, The Curse of the Golden Lion is a game that we have been hearing about for a very long time. Their transition from enthusiast, to blogger, to owner is one that we would perhaps like to follow one day – although they have set the bar very high with their first room.
It was day four of our mammoth escape room road trip when we made the trip over/under the River Mersey to The Wirral, and The Curse of the Golden Lion was our first room of the day. The drive over was really quite pleasant and we found the venue easily enough, thanks to some very detailed instructions on the Wirral Escape room website. With plenty of parking on site, we were greeted at the door by Amy and taken into the briefing area.
The briefing/reception area was certainly cosy, I’d guess at one point it was simply a hallway through to the game. But with seats down one side it served its function well as a holding area for us to have a bit of a chat with Amy and receive the health and safety briefing.
With the health and safety briefing and obligatory long conversation about escape rooms in general out of the way, we were taken through to the door to the game. It was here where Amy proceeded to give us our mission briefing, which she did flawlessly – all the more impressive when you consider that thanks to COVID she hadn’t had to present it in quite a while.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in this room, it was beautifully and lovingly decorated with areas that fitted well with the theme and the narrative. It was clear to see that this room was designed by people who have experience playing a lot of escape rooms; they had thought of the story, the puzzles, and the design, all as one – not as individual things or afterthoughts.
We’ve got to know Amy and Ian over the course of the pandemic and are very aware of Amy’s love of all things Disney. That passion for Disney came through in this room immensely. No, there were no Mickey Mouse trinkets or anything tacky, but the overall feel just felt, for lack of a better word, right. If you’ve ever been to Disneyland/World and have been on the Jungle Cruise, that’s the sort of feeling this room had.
A little attention to detail made all the difference, things that were supposed to move, could be moved. Anything that wasn’t supposed to move, was bolted down. We’ve played games in the past where we’ve moved things and then only later found out that we weren’t supposed to and in doing so had made the solving of the puzzle infinitely harder.
This really was a space in which we could have spent a lot longer in, well not too much longer, we only got out with five minutes to spare. But, with the ambient soundtrack and quality feel of the place, we didn’t want to leave.
As an owner, I imagine it must be hard to find the balance in creating a room for both ‘normal people’ and enthusiasts. Wirral Escape Rooms seem to have found the perfect balance. The regular mission itself will likely keep most teams occupied for the full hour, but there is an added mission which you can choose to tackle. This extra mission sees you needed to collect four ‘personal items’, and this is not an easy feat – perfect for enthusiasts (we got all four, phew!).
The puzzles you’ll encounter in this jungle depend on if you attempt the additional mission, but in general you can expect to find; observation, searching (one or two, sometimes sneaky), logic, maths, decoding, and one physical task (don’t worry, it isn’t strenuous).
We found that a number of the puzzles in this game clicked with us, so we were able to get through them pretty well. Although with one puzzle, a second pair of eyes and where you’re standing in the room can make all the difference! One particular puzzle in this game was one of the best examples of its type we’ve ever seen, no ambiguity, and it was easy to distinguish what we needed (trying not to spoil anything).
The game played out with a relatively open structure that meant we were able to work on different things at the same time. Wirral Escape Rooms’ experience clearly showed through once again in the puzzle design as the signposting was clear and everything had a good and logical flow.
This was a pretty low tech room (there was some though), meaning that most of the puzzles resulted in combinations to padlocks. But thanks to the signposting, this was never an issue. Also, when you really think about it, if you were in the jungle, would you expect things to be locked with maglocks or padlocks? Exactly.
The room contained a screen which showed both our countdown timer, and could also deliver clues if needed. We received a couple of nudges to remind us of things that we had perhaps discounted or forgotten about and these were enough to get back on track. Amy was watching our every movement like a hawk and I’m sure if we had needed to ask for a clue, it would have been delivered promptly.
If Disney made an escape room, this would be it. Ignoring the fact that the game is great and beautiful, there are so many easter eggs lovingly placed in the room that it is like an extra puzzle to spot and identify them all (we missed many).
The ending was dramatic and clear and brought the story full circle. If we had to find a negative about Wirral Escape Rooms, it’s that they only have one game. If your quality is this good, it is unfair to the world to only have one game. Build another and we’ll venture up north again.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 55 mins (with all four bonus items)
Address: Unit 3 Thorndale Business Centre, Thorndale Lane, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 2AG
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review