So when I was invited to try Escape Reality Cardiff, I was really looking forward to it.
The rooms are themed, from the family friendly Jungala, based on the film Jumanji to Enigmista, based on the horror film Saw. All rooms are designed for between 2 and 6 players and there is no minimum age but I would say it isn't really suitable for the very young, because of the complex nature of the game and obviously some themes are more adult in nature.
This is the explanation "You have discovered an old board game in your attic and once opened you are engulfed by a vortex and transported into an alternative realm. After only seeing a glimpse of the terrible world inside you are thrown back into reality. Vowing never to approach the game again you attempt to leave but the door has been locked trapping you in. Glancing over to the game you see the words “The dice have been rolled.” You have no choice but to complete the game or be trapped inside the other realm for eternity. You only have sixty minutes to complete the game!"
The location right in the centre of Cardiff, not far from the castle was easy to find, and when we arrived at the reception we were given a locker for our valuables. Then we were shown to the room.
We were told that if there were any problems and we wanted to leave we could do but otherwise the challenge was to get out of the room in under an hour.
We were given a tablet that counted down the time and also acted as a scanner - certain numbers on the wall could be scanned, like a QR code and these could either give you a hint or a solution to a problem. Very useful!
When we were let into the Jungala room the room was themed, with animal paintings of the wall, a sofa, bookshelf, fireplace, cabinet, a puzzle on the wall and a board game laid on a small table.
Without giving too much away you need to look at everything in the room, be aware of anything that looks out of place, look behind things, figure out puzzles and work out codes.
The important thing is to keep your eye on the clock, although the puzzles will slowly unravel the further you progress. Don't spend all your manpower working out one thing, if one of your team seems to be working well on one task, split up and look for other puzzles and problems. One hour is not very long I can tell you, especially when there may be other challenges hidden away beyond the confines of the lounge (hint hint). I spent a long time looking at the books in the bookcase. thinking there was a puzzle to solve when I could have been doing other things.
If you are well and truly stuck you can tap on the door and get help at any time.
So did we get out? No, but we did well considering there was three of us and many groups are bigger, we were told. Would we do it again? Most definitely. We worked well as a team and it was loads of fun and something totally different.
Escape Reality is priced at £22 per person, which isn't cheap but when you look at the detail in the rooms, the theming and the fun you can have it is certainly worth doing. In fact, we are thinking of doing the Alcatraz room next. Oh and if you do the Jungala room beware of the monkeys....