By Judith Hawkins
There is no doubt that in recent years escape rooms have become something of a phenomenon, as we all seek new, unique experiences that put our minds to the test and get our adrenaline pumping.
Tapping into this perfectly is Escape Hunt, who with their inventive variety of games available in cities all around the world have become a global leader in escape rooms.
Before booking at their Birmingham branch off Corporation Street our group were spoilt for choice by the many original, themed games available to play – we could embark upon an adventure aboard a pirate ship in ‘Blackbeard’s Treasure’, or travel back to 1942 to help destroy the Nazis as MI6 agents in ‘Our Finest Hour’ – in the end we decided to be transported even further to ancient Japan in a quest filled with imperial intrigue called ‘The Fourth Samurai’.
As soon as we arrived at Escape Hunt we were welcomed by friendly and enthusiastic staff, particularly our designated games master who immediately got us into the spirit of the place, helping to build up the excitement. Our team of 5 included a mix of those who had and those who hadn’t experienced escape rooms before, but all of us enjoy a good puzzle and were ready for the challenge!
After a quick briefing we made our way to our chosen room’s entrance, and in a refreshing change to most 21st Century past-times shed ourselves of our digital distractions in a locked chest before entering the game…
To tell you too much about what we discovered once inside would be to ruin the experience and surprises for anyone else wanting to try it, but suffice to say we were completely immersed in the oriental world – firstly thanks to the expressiveness of our games master who vividly told the tale of ‘The Fourth Samurai’ and the item we had to seek, and then through the detailed décor and props that surrounded us. My team members who had escaped from other escape rooms before confirmed the standard here was much higher.
So too were the puzzles and tasks we had to solve, and again without going into any spoiler-rific detail, we were presented with everything from scrolls to symbols, weights to wall-hangings, and found ourselves employing our investigative, analytical, and most importantly communication skills as we raced to reach the end before our 60 minutes ran out.
There was a definite buzz as we moved through the game’s challenges, and the mix of puzzles requiring different numbers of people to get involved meant that we comfortably fell into various tasks, allowing us to chop and change who we worked with directly each time, and identify each other’s strengths. It is easy to see why escape rooms have been hailed for effective team-building, as it was certainly by working together that we succeeded in our mission.
There was only one moment in the game where we slightly stumbled in finding the next stage (and proved the saying ‘the hardest thing to see is what is right in front of your eyes’) but after a hint we sped on to the end and, as it turned out, in a record-breaking time of 33 minutes! This placed us at the top of the current leader board for the game, and we definitely encourage others to have a go at toppling us, because we are sure, like we did, you will have lots of fun!
And do we have any advice for other plucky players thinking of taking on ‘The Fourth Samurai’ at Escape Hunt?
‘Don’t anger the demon!’
For more information about Escape Hunt and the many games they have available, and to book, visit: escapehunt.com
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