Escape Club is has closed its doors for good
Kingsford’s low-key puzzle rooms are celebrating one year of locking people up in darkened spaces; they’ve hosted more than 10,000 escapees – and their rooms require a larger number of players than Escape Club’s inner-city contemporaries. From a choice of four themes, we put our best team forward for the most difficult room: Tomb Raider, which can accommodate up to ten players.
Before going inside, we’re given a laminated backstory, three torches, three hints (one per room) and a plastic mailbox to collect the padlocks and clues as we travel through the game. No walkie-talkie, no additional hints; this is hardcore escapism.
With 70 minutes on the clock, we enter a dark room and busily shine torches at every corner. Dusty mirrors show messages from previous participants reading “help” and “hello?”, plus rude pictures, presumably drawn out of desperation or boredom. There are foot steps on the floor and a checkered board mounted on the wall. We read the first clue and set to work, tracing every possible route out of there.
Twenty minutes down. Thirty minutes down. Fifty minutes! No counter or clock in the room, and no one watching our progress – we carry on regardless. At 70 minutes we haven’t made it passed the first hurdle. Eventually we seek help; the host provides us with the four-digit combination for the padlock. It’s a frustrating start, especially as we figure out that parts of the puzzle should have been attached to the wall, which would have guided us in the right direction.
Permitted to continue, we shoot a laser beam to open up the next door and enter a maze of webbing, ancient Egyptian symbols and mummies. Sadly, this DIY escape room had seen better days. It’s easy to spot the electrical wiring, and we second-guess what will happen before completing each task – defeating the object of the game entirely.
We’ve lost count of how long we’ve been inside, and no one seems to mind that we’re still playing. Two heads literally roll across the floor, sparking all members of the team to scream and run for the door in fright. They’re fake, but we can’t be too sure. In fact, we’re not too sure of anything in this room. At the final puzzle we’re relieved to have made it out, even if it was in double the time.
|Venue name:||Escape Club||Contact:|
24 Gardeners Road
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 6pm-midnight; Sat, Sun noon-midnight|