I was casually on the escape room Facebook group when I noticed a fellow enthusiast would be visiting London from Denmark, and was looking for room recommendations. Knowing Breakin’ Escape had offered me a free room, I asked Henrik if he and his girlfriend (the wonderful Freja) would like to do it with me.
They agreed, and we subsequently settled on doing Heist Plan, which sounded interesting and balanced for all our likes/dislikes.
Firstly, I had a fantastic time with Henrik and Freja and am so glad I reached out. I would jump at the opportunity to do more rooms with them, and am even considering trying to meet some people a little closer!
That being said, the standard warnings about meeting people online apply. Meeting at the escape room was a great idea, as it’s in a public place and you know someone is watching you the whole time.
Another thing to note is that this room was given to me for free by the manager, due to a previous review (here). To summarise, previously I found the room was pretty decent, although quite linear. However, I felt the customer service left much to be desired. The manager therefore invited me back to try again, in the hopes I might enjoy my second visit more.
So, let’s find out……
The theme of the game was a garage heist (think Fast & Furious) – the set was essentially a garage, and we were tasked with stealing cars, robbing a bank and getting out…all within 60 minutes.
The set definitely screamed ‘garage’, but in a clean way (there weren’t any oil spills or welding equipment laying about). However, I didn’t feel we achieved any of these objectives other than the final one. The room was pretty self-contained, and I think they should have stuck with the limitations of the room, rather than trying to make it grander than it was. That being said, there were parts of the set I found quite impressive….
I found the line between the ‘set’ and the ‘puzzles’ were a little more blurred here than in other rooms, which helped the immersion. The puzzles were all clever and extremely varied – none of them felt even close to similar. They were also perfectly suited to the theme of a heist – there weren’t any cryptic, mystery solving clues (like in Sherlock) or sudden bomb countdowns (like in other superhero rooms). I think this is something Breakin’ do well – they theme the puzzles as well as the rooms.
We were a team of three, and for the most part never felt bored or like we had too many people. We also experienced some ‘wow!’ moments, when we got goosebumps, and the whole experience definitely had us pumped! I think it’s also the most fun I’ve had in a room, and I do highly recommend it from a puzzle perspective.
I really disliked the hint system here. They use walkie talkies, which I struggle to understand at the best of times. We were told that if we needed a hint, they would provide us with a 6 digit code to type into an iPad. Although we didn’t use this, just the thought worries me. Any time I know clues are preset, I know they are likely not going to be useful – either too vague or too precise, and ultimately not the sort of clue I want. The walkie talkie also went off randomly at one point – I think they accidentally called us rather than a different team.
However, I think the room standard really does live up to what I’ve come to expect of their rooms, and they’re pretty good.
There are a couple of steps in the venue, but the room itself was flat, with adequate room to manoeuvre. There isn’t anywhere to sit inside the room, and there are some physical puzzle, and some puzzles requiring dexterity.
The room itself was a reasonable size, it didn’t feel too small, and well lit. However, although it wasn’t particularly hot it did feel a little stuffy/airless..not sure why.
There was some music to add to the drama, but this only appeared at the end and wasn’t too overwhelming.
Outside the room
So, was the customer service any better than before?
Well……a little. If before it was a 3, I’d give it a 5 now.
Our room was booked for 7pm, but 7 came and went with us still sat in the (rather nice) waiting room. Eventually someone came and asked us how long the rest of our group would be. When we pointed out that it was just the three of us, he seemed slightly confused, but then relieved and led us to the room (only 10 minutes late).
He was called Reece and was really lovely. His brief was a lot more interesting and energetic than the one I had received previously, but still felt quite rushed and completely impersonal – he wasn’t interested in who we were, why we were here or what we were expecting. His room specific brief was a lot more interesting than previously too – it gave us a better picture of what to expect, and why we were there.
Upon exiting, we had the same brief pause of confusing around what to do, but not as long this time. We were soon joined by Reece who congratulated us and guided us back to the waiting room to take a photo, after which he left. There was no debrief or chance to geek about the room. We actually walked back to the room, which Reece and another GM were resetting, to walk each other through the parts we missed. The two GMs pretty much ignored us the whole time – it felt pretty dismissive. Reece also admitted he hadn’t actually watched our game, and that it was someone else, adding to that feeling of impersonalisation.
Ultimately, although they have improved their briefing, slightly, this still felt very much like a business transaction. Once we had done the room they were completely uninterested in us, our feelings or even our existence. We were pretty much ignored up to, and including, the point where we left. We were pretty much alone in the waiting room, discussing what to do, until we decided we were clearly unwanted and decided to leave.
I think this is a real shame, as it genuinely does let down the rest of the experience. If it weren’t for the customer experience, I would be recommending these rooms to lots of people. However, as it is now I wouldn’t want anyone to have those experiences, particularly if they haven’t done a room before.
Was it worth the money?
Given it was free…probably.
Normally, it would have been £87 for 3, so £29 each. It is definitely not worth this slightly higher than average price tag.
I might be persuaded to pay £20 each to do the room, as the set and puzzles are good, but the customer service really detracts from the whole thing.
Pros; Fun theme, good set and some cool puzzles
Cons; Disappointing customer service, walkie talkie