Komnata is (apparently) one of the highest rated companies in the US, but for some reason, it seems to be overlooked here in London. I myself was guilty of ignoring them – they didn’t even feature on my wishlist.
However, when I was given about 2 days notice to find an escape room in central London, that had space during a Saturday, and was suitable for someone under 14…I wasn’t really left with many choices.
However, even though I perhaps went into this room a little reluctantly, and apprehensive, I am glad I did. Like most rooms, it has good points and bad points, but I left feeling like more people should know about it.
So…here you go! Here’s me telling more people.
The room we did was “Doctor Frankenstein”. It was a wonderfully done set – it really did transport us with extremely well-done decoration and set design. The theme was excellent – without giving too much away, it cleverly subverted pretty much all Frankenstein tropes I’ve come to expect. Pretty much as soon as we were in the room I realised I needed to leave my preconceptions about the room at the door.
As mentioned, I chose this room as my team consisted of 2 newbies, one of which is 12. However, that doesn’t mean this room was easy. There were some really simple, but clever, puzzles in there. I wouldn’t say there was anything new here, but then again I wouldn’t say there was anything familiar either. There were enough red herrings to be interesting without being frustrating; engaging without distracting.
The room was mostly linear, but to its credit, it didn’t feel like it. It was very well done – I only realised afterwards that really there was only one, at most two, puzzles to solve at a time. Most of the puzzles felt satisfying to solve, and there was one in particular towards the end which used a unique concept I haven’t encountered before.
One of my favourite things about this room though is the fact that, for a few puzzles, there were multiple ways of solving them. I think this was a really nice touch and was a nice way to balance out the difficulty depending on different skill sets.
However, I can’t mention the pros without the cons. The hint system here wasn’t ideal. You are essentially given a guide to the room and puzzles early on, which was a blessing and a curse. I’ll be talking more about different hint systems in a later post, but for now let’s just say it ruined a little bit of the mystery/working it out aspect, as well as cause some confusion. There were also additional hints…which again I felt the timing was slightly off. We received hints after already completing what they were hinting for, and as they were given over a speaker system I found it quite hard to understand.
Outside the room
The staff were friendly and welcoming and did a decent brief. I really appreciated how they set up the story (which I sometimes take for granted). We didn’t really get much of a debrief though, and I felt a little rushed to leave.
Was it worth the money?
I mentioned at the start that Komnata has been overlooked a little here in London, and I think that’s probably down to cost. These costs ‘from’ £27 a person, but you’re looking at £35 a head on a weekend at least. It cost me £42pp to book for 3 of us.
When you consider a lot of London rooms charge around £25 a head, regardless of number, that’s quite a considerable difference.
So, was it worth it?
I don’t know. It was a really good escape room, and if it was £25 I would definitely put it on my list as somewhere to return to.
However, I can’t deny the price does make me hesitate. There wasn’t particularly anything here that justified that extra cost to me. I’ve done cheaper rooms with puzzles that were just as good, or better. I’ve done rooms with fantastic themes.
Everything here was good, really good, but not exceptional or deserving of that extra £20, in my opinion.
If you’re not too worried about the money aspect, then I definitely think it’s worth the trip.
However, if you’re new, or a little more wary of how you spend your money (like myself) I think there are other rooms in London I’d visit above this.
After days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I congratulate Komnata on a beautiful room and just hope too many people aren’t dissuaded by the cost.
The venue is wheelchair accessible, but the room isn’t (due to a few steps) and there isn’t really much of a waiting room. There is a chair within the room to sit on, and it is a large, wide room.
The room is initially dark, then dim, then fully lit, with good lighting throughout.
There isn’t a necessity to hear, although this may help with the hint system. There is also a section with some smoke (the smoke effect kind), but you can stay out of this if you have issues.
There is a radio playing old-timey songs as you play, but you could ask to be turned down/off if required.
TL ; DR
Pros; Great set design, the variety of puzzles, difficulty
Cons; Price, hint system