A couple of months ago we reviewed the official Sherlock escape room and we liked it very much so we thought saying as Paul enjoys them so much we ought to send him for this year’s second high-profile licensed escape room…
Last weekend a friend, Andrew, came round to stay. The weather was horrible so an afternoon wandering around the city centre, the St Patrick’s Day festivities were ditched and instead, we went to see Captain Marvel at the cinema (read our reviews here). However, this was just a time filler for the main event of the weekend.
Mrs C and I have had our eye on the official Doctor Who experience (entitled Worlds Collide) for a while, so when we saw that the Manchester branch of Escape Hunt was going to be a host we thought we’d pop Andrew’s escape room cherry (so to speak), and booked it.
We arrived 15 minutes in advance of our allotted slot for a briefing – if you’re an escape room veteran then you’ll know what to expect: don’t try to move stuff that doesn’t move, raise your hand if you need help, if you die you have no-one to blame but yourself – that kind of thing. Once the waiver was signed we were taken through to the escape room’s entrance when our guide Nathan suddenly took a call on his mobile phone.
“Excuse me a second,” he said to us.
“Rude!” we all though.
Then he turned to us “It’s for you…” and put it on speaker mode. It was the Doctor (Jodie Whittaker)! And she needed our help! This was the moment I had been waiting for since this almost-six-year-old saw the 1980 Tom Baker adventure State Of Decay. I don’t care what anyone says about Adric – seeing the Doctor take another child on board was massively inspirational to me. I always hoped that one day I’d turn a corner to see that blue box waiting for me. So it came as quite a shock when, four years ago, I was working away in Glasgow, turned a corner and saw this…
Sadly, the Doctor had not come for me and the former police box had been converted into a miniature vaping booth (disappointing in so many ways – just look at my little face after I tried to get inside) but at least the Doctor was on the phone and asking for my help right now! You see, she was off the planet and the TARDIS was unable to materialise on Earth – something was stopping her from landing it, and she needed our help to work out what was causing the disturbance. We only had one hour save the planet!
Cripes! Game on then!
Obviously, in the name of fairness and keeping it spoiler-free, I can’t describe what happened next in great detail – you’ll have to play it for yourself to find out. Needless to say, with such a huge license as Doctor Who, Escape Hunt have crafted a meticulously detailed experience, with puzzles guaranteed to confound and challenge you (but not too much). As with the Sherlock room, every puzzle here was based on observation, logic and deduction. There was no room for stab-in-the-dark guesswork and Escape Hunt pride themselves on it being a “Padlock Free Zone”. I’ve played rooms before where it’s just a series of unlocking boxes, finding a key, unlocking another box, finding a number, opening a combination lock, repeat ad-nauseum.
The puzzles are varied. Some need concentration, others a steady hand and one or two were a little physical – although brute strength was never required. And on the odd occasion, a little Doctor Who knowledge helped speed up the puzzle solving, although it wasn’t essential – you could bring non-Whovians and they would be fine.
I’m loathe to compare this to Sherlock: The Game Is Now because, while that room is larger and more detailed, it’s also a fair amount more expensive to play. In the Value-For-Money stakes, Worlds Collide comes out on top, but both are fun.
Another highly recommended experience.
Oh, and one last thing.I’m sure you’re wondering how we did. Did we escape? If so, how long did we have left of the hour…?
Well, I’m pleased to announce that we did get out in the near-record-breaking time of 36:54, which put us in second place on the all-time scoreboard. So we dedicated our achievement to the companion who inspired me all those years ago…
Worlds Collide is available to book now at Escape Hunt venues in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Oxford and Reading.