Penetrating the Penitentiary – Omescape Escape Rooms

When visiting Omescape’s London escape rooms, the challenge starts immediately after arriving in their unassuming North London location. Wooden puzzles adorn the tables for us to play with as we wait – my sister assembles one in 20 seconds flat, but I then watch my friend struggle with the same task for 15 minutes. It’s a worrying time.

Once the adventure kicks in, it becomes apparent that the waiting room games are the least of our concerns, as we are thrown immediately into a maelstrom of puzzles and challenges with just two flashlights, a walkie-talkie and pencil and paper at our disposal.

As an escape game fanatic, I’ve seen my fair share of adventures – but even I was ill prepared for the twist in the opening minute of this challenge. Teams are immediately split up and put into two separate rooms – and it soon becomes apparent that victors need more than strong puzzle solving skills- they need to be expert communicators too. Communication and continuity form the back bone of this adventure – and we learn quickly how to share information effectively.

The setting is good; not too overdone so that clues are impossible to find, but not too sparse to stifle imagination either. It takes place over two floors and there’s a lot of referring back to previous tasks – which is a nice addition to the puzzles at hand.

It’s physical too; you’ll need to dodge lasers and stretch yourself both mentally and physically in order to survive (as a side note, had my team just had people under 5’2 there’s one piece I’m quite sure we wouldn’t have clicked into place, so do bring a tallish friend.)

The hints provided are helpful and welcoming. You can request help if you need it, but mind that you keep your requests below three in order to finish in the top positions (we used two.) There were quite a few places were we felt stumped, but all the puzzles can be solved – especially by using bigger picture thinking.

My group of four finished in 55 minutes with two hints – which entitles us to call ourselves winners, and we were absolutely buzzing after solving all the clues! It’s a wonderful game to digest and discuss after the fact – and its level of difficulty is fair for the tasks involved.

Omescape offer two further games in their London location (Joker’s Asylum and Biohazard Laboratory) and I’ll absolutely be back to crack those as well.

Book your own escape room adventure here and follow them on Twitter @omescapeuk.

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