When I heard about Escape opening in Livingston I was over the moon, as it isn’t based in a city (the fact that its very close to home was an added bonus).
The new venue is located in a courtyard block of offices about a 5min walk from The Centre, Livingston but with the busy road between The Centre and Escape its far easier to drive there as there are lots of parking space. All the doors within the courtyard are identical but they’re all numbered so its only a matter of moments to find the correct door.
Once inside you head up the stairs to a small waiting area with some seating and the gamesmasters console. There you will be briefed on your selected mission and then straight into your room. As we were a team of three we had lots of space in the welcome area, but it will be cosy if two teams are starting at the same time.
Prison break is described on the website as; “Your team have been wrongly incarcerated, having been paid a large sum of money the warden holds the information that is key to clearing your name. You’ve been working on escaping for months and now is the time, get out the cells and break into the wardens safe and escape the facility. He’ll be back in an hour though….”
Our team of three were the inaugural team into the room, I’ll admit it I just couldn’t wait, so we took the first available booking. Liam was our games master and despite it being his first briefing of this room he did a great job at making sure we knew everything.
On entering the room we were very impressed by the attention to detail that Escape have gone to, the level of immersion in Prison Break was much higher than I imagined, with very authentic looking cells and even ‘facilities’ in place. **
We were then locked in place, two of us in one cell and one in the other cell, and left to get on with the business of getting out of the cells. This is a great starting concept as it relies on your team communicating and sharing, only with working together do you get out of the cells and on with the rest of the room.
Loved the attention to detail in the room, with some very obvious nods to the Shawshank Redemption film, but we also spotted a couple of other nods to other prison films. The gameplay is well balanced and easy to keep track of where you are so first time escapers won’t be overwhelmed with several puzzles at once.
There is a great mix of puzzles in there, and enough keys and codes so that everyone can get a turn at opening something and solving something. We had a few head scratching moments and used a couple of clues, and a couple more “D’oh!” moments (note to self, don’t assume that all the doors are locked, try them just in case) but the gameplay flowed well and we were escaping before we realised.
The only niggle I have is that the description on the website mentions that the warden holds the key to clearing your name, but we didn’t find or retrieve anything to clear our names, we just escaped.
We left with a fanfare and positively bounced out of the room with just over 15mins left on the clock. Then back in for dressing up and the victory photos (it has to be done, doesn’t it!)
Out of the two rooms at Livingston this is the one I’d recommend to first time players as it has a fabulous level of immersion (you really do feel like you’re in there for a crime you didn’t commit), its well worth the trip to Livingston.
**Although I have to point out that the ‘facilities’ are purely set dressing and are not plumbed in. So please don’t use them.