Clockwork Dog: Langstroth’s Last Riddle

Outside the room

When Clockwork Dog appeared on the scene, I can’t say I took much notice. Yes, they were an escape room and yes, they were based in London, but they were creating a pop-up escape room that would be around for three weeks. There were two ways I could see it going: Either it was a ruse to get people to book early and they would extend the run or  they would be putting together a cheap and simple game. I waited my time to see which one it was.

And then I saw Dean’s review on Escape Review. Suddenly, this room looked a lot more appealing and, when it became clear that they were unlikely to extend their run, I knew I had to organise a last-minute trip to see for myself. In the end, more people were available to play than the game could accommodate, so we ended up booking back-to-back three-player games.

The hosts greeted us in character and really set the scene for the game well. 13307196_288354738171177_2145990223093390146_n


Arthur Langstroth recently died and, in his will, he specified that all the items in his antique shop should be bequeathed or sold. All, that is, except one: an object of incredible power. That item is available to whichever person or people can follow the clues and find its hiding place.

Inside the room

I’ll admit that I was dubious about setting up a pop-up escape room in a shop. When you can customise a space, you have lots of options for integrating the theme into the room, whereas Clockwork Dog were going to have to work with what was there. They’d chosen well, though. This was a shop full of character, with enough nooks and crannies to make it interesting but not so many that searching became a chore. That balance had been retained in their set dressing; there were sufficient props to give the feel of an antique dealer with a particular interest in Egypt but they hadn’t gone overboard with red herrings.

Yes: if you like searching, this is definitely a room for you. The finds were sometimes challenging but never left me feeling they were unfair. Both teams came close to needing a hint for a missing item but, on both occasions, some re-searching of the room resulted in the relevant prop being found so we could happily continue along with the game. There’s nothing quite like that sweet satisfaction of the second search paying off. (At least for the person who finds it, and embarrassment for those of us who missed it the first time round!)




The Nursery

1483225_819632554760039_5399950471736318693_nDuring Esc Room Addict’s trip to London, ON we were given the chance to review some of the rooms at Exodus Escapes. Unfortunately one of our review team members was unexpectedly delayed last minute leaving us with only three people to tackle the Nursery and prove once and for all escape rooms are merely child’s play. Ba dum dum. (Ok, ok, we admit humour isn’t our strong point, let’s forget this joke ever happened and get on with the review).

Exodus Escapes is easily found in downtown London and just minutes away from the University of Western Ontario. The staff were incredibly friendly, helpful, and attentive. One thing particularly impressive was the amount of staff ready and waiting for anything that might be needed (which came in handy as our room needed some quick cleaning and repairs after a group of young ladies who obviously had some liquid courage in their systems tried out The Nursery for a bachelorette party). Although the staff and owners were incredible, there’s room for it to get to the next level by adding a bit more to the pre-room experience.

Room quality is where this room has its greatest strength. All you needed for the realism to be complete was a few toddlers, a couple teachers, and you would’ve had an actual daycare centre!   Not only was the set design professional, but we also felt the props and furnishings were appropriate.   The room did lack any of the big budget bells & whistles that are becoming more commonplace in big budget companies, but in comparison to most rooms out there you won’t find too many that beat The Nursery for room quality.

The Nursery’s immersive qualities were decent but left us wanting more. Because of the puzzle difficulty and complexity in this room, it was easy for us to feel disengaged with the overall story and lose motivation to discover what happens next. Instead of being engaged in the moment with what was happening, we found ourselves more focused on trying to solve puzzles and ignoring the overall atmosphere around us (which is a shame considering the impressive room quality). This of course leads us to the puzzles…


You can find this game at ROOMESCAPE.COM.


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Escape Blackpool: Contagion

Outside the room

Back in the North of England and what more would I want to do with a few days off than visit a local escape room? Apparently, visit a not-very-local escape room. The Escape chain of rooms had just opened a franchise in Blackpool and, with them now spreading throughout the land, I thought we’d give them a go and see why they’re so successful.

In common with many escape rooms, the website doesn’t allow you to book on the day. That’s pretty annoying because it also means you can’t see which games are available. At least two companies lost my business that weekend because I couldn’t get through to them for a last-minute booking. OK, I’m a little unusual, but I do wonder how often that happens. More frustratingly, I had to phone up, find when the room was available, go to the website, book a time slot on a *different* day, then go back and get them to reschedule to the slot I’d asked for. Note to self: Sort your life out earlier next time!



We got there, though, and parked up in a car park between the promenade and the venue. To be honest, it’s a pretty dull part of town – halfway between the North and South piers – but that doesn’t stop parking being tricky. If you’re lucky, you might find free parking on the street, but it’s mainly residents’ parking, so be prepared to pay. Inside, you’re initially greeted in a small reception area, but very quickly taken through a maze of twisty passages to the room.


A virus is threatening to destroy the world. While working on an antidote, you and your fellow scientists accidentally caught the illness and now have 60 minutes to find the cure before you succumb. Find the antidote and then escape the room before the authorities raze it to the ground to prevent the spread of the disease…


Read more at: The Logic Escapes Me


50/50 – Sacrifice @ Clue HQ Warrington

This review of Sacrifice is based on a visit from February 2016.



We’d learned of this room back in August when playing The Teleporter, but didn’t have chance to go and play it until much later. I was particularly interested and intrigued for two reasons: 1) The room design was at least partly inspired by my suggested theme, 2) I knew there wasn’t a lot of space left in Clue HQ Warrington so wanted to see how they’d implement Sacrifice:

What may not be immediately obvious from the intro (but will be if you read my suggestion) is that this is designed as a race room. And not just two copies of the same room to see who gets the fastest time; one where you can interact and affect what happens to the other team. Brilliant! So the first thing to do was decide who would be teamed with who. You wouldn’t believe the length at which it was debated, and the systems that were suggested, until eventually we had to very literally draw straws. Finally we were set: James and Richard1 vs. Richard2, me and Paul.

After watching the general health and safety video (which we know nearly off by heart now) we were led through to our room for the specific briefing. There wasn’t much to add to the description above apart from the sting in the tail; when one team escapes the others are instantly ‘sacrificed’ meaning the room ends for them and they don’t get the chance to finish it. In hindsight I’m not sure I’m a massive fan of the idea, as it seems like people should at least have the hour to try and get out, but it certainly upped the stakes.

Picking up my earlier point, possibly the first thing you’ll note about the room is how small it is. In fact the website warns that the game might not be suitable for people with claustrophobia (the first time I’ve actually seen a site mention that it might be an issue, rather than saying it definitely won’t be). And this isn’t just the entrance hall; this room is it for the two or three of you until you get out. Definitely the next thing you’ll notice is how you’re going to interact with the other team, who aren’t very far away. It’s so bizarre, making your environment feel both bigger and smaller at the same time. Then the timer starts, and you’re off.




Lost escape game

This is one of those rare themed room, surrounding the story of us boarding a plane from Kuala Lumpur and crash landed after 3-4 hours of flight to some remote island. We’re not sure what caused the crashed but hey, according to the trailer above, we survived~ so who cares what happened?! So our objective is to get out of our plane since we’re locked in (wonder how safe it is on design of emergency doors, huh?), then locate the black box to find our coordinates, and find a way to reach for help, all within 60 minutes.. before Lost (the drama) happens.

This is our first experience with Break The Code and it is a refreshing twist to the usual: see puzzle, solve puzzle, open lock mechanism. There are the usual locks, but where Break The Code shines is the use of  electrically connected devices and once we entered the code, a magnetic locked box will spring open for the next puzzle/clue.. by which is fun, and makes the whole room more thematic as opposed to turning locks.

We starts out inside a mock up military airplane, made of steel all around.. there’s a cockpit section and the seating section as well, and on the outside, we could see grassland with some fuel tins and crates, all is quite nicely done aesthetically, although not as polished as it’s easy to noticed some flaws that takes us out of the immersed world.

We start out having one of us getting locked inside the cockpit (if this were the case in our world, Germanwings would have another light of day). The puzzles are generally ok and not too hard, although I would very much prefer they stop using those puzzles where there’s no leading clue, just like below and expect players to be not confused that there are more clues needed to solve these. Other puzzles involves pattern matching, some logic puzzles, use of funnels and pipes (which is neat), a real black box (it’s orange colour in case you didn’t know), and a morse code machine~!! (which is very cool)


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