London, Jan 2017
Operation Escape is a 15 minute journey from Bromley South station by car/bus and is co-located in a business block, where you just follow the signs to reception. Operation Escape is WWII themed, you start by being plunged into darkness, but you soon break though to the lit up second room.
This escape uses a good mixture of mental and physical skills, i.e. use of magnets, morse code, symbols, math, and for the most part is in keeping with the theme. Your helpful hints come in the form of telegrams under the door- and when you read them you do feel like it was blatantly obvious! I like to think you could manage this room in the nick of time with 2-3 people, but with 4 of us there was enough to keep us all entertained for 48 minutes, (I wouldn’t recommend more than 4 as the extra 2 wouldn’t really have anything to do, plus the first room is quite small).
The room had several new simple but good ideas, which made up for some parts which seemed a bit unfinished, but all in all a promising effort from a new venue. Coupled with a dress up shot at the end, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed this escape! The webpage also suggests there are more to come…
Operation Escape is a bit of a trek out from central London and buried in a nondescript business park, but it’s clearly signposted and there was no particular difficulty finding it. The game has you trapped in a broom closet by invading Nazis, from which you need to break out to the operations room and intercept (or rather, assemble) a key phrase.
I liked the variety of puzzles more than I liked the puzzles themselves, which include a bit of maths and a couple that were puzzle magazine style. Mixed in with those is a bit of search, some more imaginative tasks and some physical bits – though the latter for us ran into a couple of problems that caused frustration and eventually needed a replacement key to be delivered through the door.
While the puzzle content isn’t hugely sophisticated, the game is nicely done in other respects. There are two main halves to it, each of which has a non-linear set of puzzles to work on; the puzzles are mostly based in the theme, as is the nice hint system.
My favourite thing about this game was actually the hosts, who were friendly, charming and suitably costumed. When reviewing games I generally try not to put too much weight on the hosting, since different teams may be hosted by different staff and have a completely different experience; but here there’s a fun, family-run atmosphere that really added to the visit.
Experienced teams won’t find much in the game to get excited about, but it’s a game I’d be happy enough to recommend to beginner teams, who will enjoy the variety, theming and hosting and likely have a great time.