Upon learning I was being sent to Manchester for work (again) I immediately recruited a colleague to join me for one of the many rooms Manchester has to offer.
Having already experienced “Breakout” (and enjoying them), I thought I’d instead opt for a Manchester based company instead. Combining this criteria with looking for discounts led me to “Exit the Room”.
Having also roped our clients into the event, we booked their two easier rooms and got to it.
I opted to take a team of 4 into the ‘medium’ level room – “The bomb”. We weren’t given much of a backstory going in, and upon entering we soon worked out this was a cold-war era room/bomb.
The room was excellently themed – lots of 50s furniture and decorations. However, there were also a lot of red herrings due to this – it crossed the line from “set dressing” to “is this a thing?”. However this may be in part due to the puzzles…
First things first, we were giving a limited number of hints (bad), via a walkie talkie (worse), and when we asked for them we had to explain what we’d already done (the final nail in the coffin).
The puzzles were also very linear, which was fine in this case as I was the only experienced player. However, I can imagine more experienced teams to be bored.
The puzzles themselves didn’t particularly flow – we’d complete one, and then get stuck. There were times we had an answer, but didn’t know what to do with it. Other times, we had a puzzle, but no means to complete it. These instances often frustrate me, but are made worse by the already mentioned hint issue.
The final puzzle also triggered a timed event, which I always dislike – 60 minutes should be 60 minutes, not 60-until-you-get-only-5…
In the end, we managed to escape with 9 mins left, scooping the record for that day.
Outside the room
My visit nearly didn’t happen – I wasn’t paying attention as I opened the door and almost fell down the steep stairs that you are immediately presented with.
The waiting room is pretty empty, although there are a few seats and puzzles to keep you occupied. There were also some fun boards to use for our photos afterwards.
As mentioned, there are steep stairs down to the rooms, and there is a small step inside the room. There are places to sit, but at least one team member will need to kneel/bend down, and another will be need to reach down into a box situated at roughly chest height.
Hearing is required (due to the hint system), but the room was fairly quiet. It was well lit, although later you do enter a dimmer room.
Was it worth the money?
We only paid around £15 each, so this is probably what I’d expect for such a cheap price. I certainly wouldn’t pay more.
Pros; Props, design, theming
Cons; Linearity, hints, puzzles