I spent part of today (Saturday) at a puzzle room in Worcester. The craze for these rooms seems to have started a couple of years ago and dozens of the things popped up in large cities, including quite a few in nearby Birmingham. However my father accidently stumbled upon one that had recently opened in Worcester and booked it for today. Cyber Q have set up in an industrial estate and have two rooms to choose from; we went for one called The Demon Barber which had a Jack the Ripper/Sweeney Todd theme.
If you are familiar with Escape the Room style flash games from the noughties and The Crystal Maze then you will recognise the style. A pleasingly eccentrically dressed man talked us through what to expect and then led the five of us into a room. A timer was set for an hour and we were told that we could take our blindfolds off when the sounds stopped. Opening our eyes we were presented with a room full of keypads, chests of drawers to rummage through and various bizarre set pieces. I don't want to give too much away, but in short we had to solve the murder mystery and escape.
We were given a walkie talkie which the owner would occasionally give us a hint if we were stuck for too long or would tell us that we’d gone a little off plan (I managed to get into a locked drawer by taking out the drawer above it, but he politely told me that was not allowed). Many of the puzzles were ingenious and the horror soundtrack was just perfect. It also had a surprisingly high level of technology wired in just beneath the surface. All five of us were running around and investigating every object that we could; some were red herrings, but most were not. It took some of us quite a while to realise that we couldn't even see the door that we had presumably come in through.
We were told that the particular room we were in had a 30% success rate of getting out within the hour. I'm proud to announce our time of 58:57- we had a very frantic final 10 minutes. I'm hooked, these things are fantastic.
10/10 will try more. Slightly tempted to make my cellar into one.