ESCAPE ENTERTAINMENT – Bank Heist

We did this room back in December, and booked it so we could duel as two teams. We formed our teams ahead of time, but unfortunately all members of my team were actually late (including me!). This meant our experience wasn’t off to the most auspicious start.

The company was fairly easy to find (which isn’t often said of escape rooms) – in an unassuming building near the Bank of England. It seemed a little low-tech when we walked in, but the waiting room is lovely and open, with huge leather sofas to sit on.

We had opted for the Bank Heist room, so that we could book it privately rather than risk playing with strangers. However, I believe they have now changed this so this is no longer the case. We don’t have many of these “book places rather than whole rooms” in the UK, and I’m glad.

Due to our tardiness, we were put into the room with only 45 minutes remaining, rather than 60, which really put the pressure on…

The Set

My first thought when we got into the room was “Where’s the bank?”. We were in a room that read more ‘post office’ than ‘bank’. I could see the little nods they’d made here and there, but even further into the game I never got ‘bank’. At most, I could settle for a security office, but even that would be stretching.

They also had the frustrating habit of sticking things open/in place for no reason. I’m used to chairs being nailed down if they want you to sit in it and see something, but here you physically were unable to sit in the chair, and there were no puzzles related to it at all. There were other examples of this throughout the room, but I won’t give them away here.

The Game

The game wasn’t linear until towards the end, which was great. However, I found the room was made of quite a few ‘time sink’ puzzles, rather than a nice variety. There were also puzzles that required a jump in logic, or an assumption, which I disliked. Particularly for one of the final puzzles, we knew what to do, but hadn’t worked out why. We received no indications of any sort of whether we were doing the correct thing, and it was only in frustration that I ‘solved’ it.

Leaps in logic should never be required.

The hint system was also a little weird – either a telephone call, or a note slipped under the door. I have never seen either of these methods used before, and I can’t say I was a fan.

On the plus side, there were a couple of nice red herrings in place, forcing you to look closely at the puzzles you were solving. They also made clever use of the space, although often boarding on the “one use and move on” line.

Outside the room

The waiting area is extremely nice – large, leather sofas and a fun photo booth (complete with props) once you’re done. GMs are positioned in little cubby holes along the hallway, which does look quite nice and official.

However, the staff weren’t the most friendly, even allowing for frustration due to our lateness. They were quite short with us, and pretty much just told us “You’ve got 45 minutes, off you go”. Even once we had escaped (with quite a few minutes left), there was no acknowledgement or excitement from our GM. In fact, another GM was more excited about the fact we got out in a pretty quick time. We asked about our friends and were told they were still in the room, and again the other GM (who wasn’t ours) was more excited that we beat them than the other GM.

Once our friends were out, their GM took a group photo for us, at which point we were left completely alone. We had some fun with the photo booth and props, and then showed ourselves out.

All in all, it’s a nice location, but the customer service could do with a bit of work.

Accessibility

There was a lift to the location, and the waiting area and rooms were flat. However, I wouldn’t say there was enough space for a wheelchair to fit in certain places. The room also required a couple of the team to be physically adept.

There is nowhere to sit in the room, but everything is below head height.

The room was well lit and ventilated, and there were no loud sounds. There is one part which is slightly snug, but not tight and not everyone needs to go here.

Was it worth the money?

We paid £26pp. I don’t think it was worth this.

TL;DR

Pros; Ideas, waiting area

Cons; Customer service, Puzzles, Logic

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