Richard Sinden

Played: 15 Feb 2024 Team size: 4 (2 kids) Time taken: 41:00 Outcome: Successful escape!
family friendlybroken techquite easy
Played: 14 Jul 2022 Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 21 Apr 2022 Team size: 4 Time taken: 50:48 Outcome: Successful escape!

I liked the set design and atmosphere and the starting setup is fairly novel. However, we had to have quite a few hints in this room because for a lot of the puzzles it's not obvious why you would do the things you're supposed to do. I've played a lot of escape rooms and when you get a hint it's normally an "oh yeah" moment, but this was more of a "why would I have even tried that?". Even afterwards the gamemaster didn't seem to be able to explain to us why we should've realised what we were supposed to do for the final puzzle. It's a shame because it's obvious that a lot of effort has gone into building the room, but it's let down by the nonsensical puzzles.

Played: 1 Aug 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 45:03 Outcome: Successful escape!

Really enjoyed this room. The set was really well designed - everything felt like it belonged there. The puzzles were fun and flowed very nicely and it had a great ending. I'm very much looking forward to the next chapter.

Played: 7 Apr 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 50:26 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 1 Jan 2022 Team size: 5 Time taken: 54m59s Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 31 Oct 2021 Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!
hi-techgreat hostingintense

Good room. The decor felt authentic and the instrumental Rammstein playing in the background added to the feeling of suspense/pressure. We did it with our two kids (aged 10 & 6) and although this room is probably more aimed at adults, they both enjoyed it. The AR element worked well (and the kids always love a bit of screen-time), but I felt the theme of some of the AR puzzles didn't quite seem to match the theme of the room as a whole. That was only a minor thing though, and overall I would recommend it.

Played: 27/10/2021 Team size: 4 (2 children, aged 10 & 6) Time taken: 55 minutes Outcome: Successful escape!

Really good escape room. Several puzzles going on in parallel, which meant both kids could be involved without having to fight over things. Nicely themed and well lit - our kids have done a few rooms and the dark ones make them nervous. It's not a particularly easy room, but the puzzles involve enough lateral thinking that sometimes the kids solved the puzzles before the adults. Whilst it is nice for kids, it's challenging enough that I'd recommend it for an all adult group too.

Played: 3 Jul 2021 Team size: 2 Time taken: 45 minutes Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 18 Dec 2020 Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 2 Jun 2021 Team size: 4 (2 kids - 6 & 9) Time taken: < 50 minutes Outcome: Successful escape!
funnyfamily friendly

Brilliant with kids. It was brightly lit and there was nothing scary. The multi-threaded nature of the puzzles kept us all busy, and there were different puzzles at different levels, e.g. our 6 year old could be getting on with finding pieces for one puzzle while our 9 year old was solving something a bit more complicated, and some for the adults too. It was relaxed enough that we had time to help the kids, where required. 

Played: 29 Jul 2021 Team size: 6 (2 kids - 6 & 9) Time taken: 60 minutes? Outcome: Successful escape!
quite easy😨creepy

Given the high quality of the other Houdini's games we've played, we were a bit disappointed by this one.

To start with we were kept waiting in reception for over an hour past our start time. The reason given was that the previous team were rubbish and were still going. Quite annoying given that there is bowling (which we had booked for afterwards and had to move back by an hour), laser quest and an arcade in the same building, which we could've gone and played had they told us it was going to be so long, rather than just keeping us sat there with no offer of any kind of compensation (not even water). However, I am not holding that against the game itself, other than the consideration that this isn't likely to be an isolated incident because this game appears to have no time limit - there is certainly no countdown available and we weren't made aware of a limit, hence the uncertainty over our time taken.

Generally the decor and atmosphere were very good. It definitely gave the impression of a wizards castle. The puzzles are a little on the easy side, but that is because it seems to be designed with kids in mind. However, if it is for kids, then why is so much of it so dark? In one room we had to get out the torches on our phones to be able to read a spell/recipe book, which kind of broke the immersion. Our 6 year old daughter was pretty frightened by some of the dark areas too. It felt a little unnecessary. Some authentic LED flickering candles or lanterns to carry with us wouldn't go amiss here.

My main complaint with this game though is that a lot of the puzzles felt like it was a case of the group saying the right words together or putting the right things in the right place and then someone in the control room watching you on a camera would push a button and the magic thing would happen. It's possible that this felt magical to the kids, but as an adult it was a bit rubbish. I would much rather that an escape room felt like you were locked in a room and if you solve the puzzles you could get yourself out, rather than you were running around doing tricks for the host who would reward you with the next part of the puzzle.

At the end, during the debrief, it was mentioned that we were playing a preview(? I can't remember the exact term) version of the room. However, I didn't see this mentioned during booking or beforehand we went in and as far as I and the price (which certainly wasn't cheap) was concerned, I was expecting a complete experience, so I am reviewing it as such.

The kids (6 & 9) seemed to enjoy it (other than being sometimes too scared to go into some areas without an adult), possibly because of the slightly gimmicky reward at the end. But, for the price and given the high quality of the other Houdini's games, I was disappointed. We played a great (not) Harry Potter themed game in Tenerife a couple years ago, and that managed to capture the magic and still maintain the feeling of a proper escape room much better than this one did. The kids still talk about that one today, and haven't mentioned this Houdini's one since we played a month ago.

Played: 21 Apr 2021 Team size: 2 Time taken: 190 minutes Outcome: Successful escape!
Great outdoor game in some really pleasant locations around Winchester.

You carry all the puzzles with you in a very clever device. I've done a couple of other outdoor games that have relied on sending messages at various points with further clues, but this one is much more imaginative than that. You could do this fully self-sufficiently without resorting to mobile devices at all, but WhatsApp help is available and the couple of hints we got were just the right amount of nudge in the right direction without giving too much away.

We dawdled a bit to start with, tried to over-complicate a couple of the clues and got a bit stuck in the middle when we went down the wrong track (metaphorically, not literally), so we could've been a bit faster, but it is still quite long though - time-wise, not distance. I'm glad we didn't take our 9 year-old. He enjoys an hour long escape room, but I think he would've struggled with endurance/attention span on this one. You can pause your time for breaks via WhatsApp and our lunch break in the middle definitely helped.

Overall, I'd say this is a great attempt at taking the escape room experience into an outside setting and would recommend it to anyone with half a day to spare.

Played: 15/02/20 Team size: 5 Time taken: 59:57 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 25/09/20 Team size: 2 Time taken: 57:23 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 30/11/2019 Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!

This room was good fun and the twist of being split up made it a bit different. I would say, in response to other comments, that if the two separate teams aren't constantly communicating and working together to try to rescue the ones that are locked up then they aren't doing it right and will struggle. The GM was clear about this before we went in and didn't need to get involved over the radio. There was plenty to do for both teams when they are communicating well.

Played: 08/03/2020 Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 29/12/2020 Team size: 8 Outcome: Successful escape!

Not too challenging, but great fun for children (played with x4 aged 5-8).

Played: 21/09/2019 Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 16/08/2020 Team size: 2 Time taken: 42m43s Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 4/09/2020 Team size: 4 Time taken: 53m43s Outcome: Successful escape!

We did this classic boardgame themed escape room with our 8 & 5 year-olds. As a family-based escape room, this is brilliant. They even have a special puzzle (on request) that keeps under-7s entertained throughout the game (even though they can participate with some of the other puzzles with a little assistance). It was brightly lit throughout and our 5 year-old, who was a little nervous having done a couple of other rooms with some darker areas, was instantly at ease and had a great time. Our 8 year-old could join in with all the puzzles and really enjoyed it too. The puzzles were high enough quality and fun enough that I think it would also hold up pretty well for an all-adult group too.

Played: 20/08/2019 Team size: 4 Time taken: 45m Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 16/03/2016 Team size: 5 Time taken: 42m53s Outcome: Successful escape!
Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!
Team size: 4 Outcome: Successful escape!
Team size: 6 Outcome: Successful escape!
Outcome: Successful escape!
Outcome: Successful escape!
Team size: 2 Outcome: Successful escape!
Played: 27/08/2019 Team size: 2 Time taken: 58:30 Outcome: Successful escape!