Random rooms in South East England

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Back once again to the South East to find out about new rooms that have been opening over the last couple of months. So not entirely random rooms, or for that matter, Randoms Room… Read on and that might make more sense as you find out about games in Canterbury, Tonbridge, East Grinstead, Bournemouth and Southampton

1) Canterbury Escape Room opened their doors (or should that be portcullis?) in late October with a single room. It’s always interesting to find out about where a new company has come from and there’s a hint on their website that it’s heavily connected to Dodgems and Floss – a creative company in the same city. Room Escape Artist, an excellent US escape room blogger, once posted about all the different skills that escape room companies need and it seems, looking at their website, that Dodgems and Floss probably have quite a lot of those already.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating but for those who can’t actually play the game, the best we can do is scour the website and judge the book by its cover. This site loves games that fit well in their setting and for a historic town like Canterbury, it’s great to see a room that’s set in Medieval times. There’s not a huge amount of background to the story but what the website does mention is that you and your teammates are transported back to medieval Canterbury, a time when the pettiest of crimes were met with the harshest of punishments. Locked in jail, there is just an hour left before heads will roll. You must escape to survive.

2) Exciting Escapes, in Southampton, is a new family-run affair that opened just a couple of weeks ago. For now they’ve got a couple of rooms but they plan to expand significantly over the next six months – exciting by name, exciting by nature!

Change the Record is a 1980s, music themed game. In the story, it’s 1989, and in a small record shop in Southampton there are dark deeds afoot. As communism comes crashing down across Eastern Europe, the last vestiges of a crumbling empire try to exact revenge upon the west. You are recruited by British Intelligence to uncover their plans, but with only 60 minutes before the foreign agent returns, can you find what’s needed and get out in time?

A Hidden Past is another spy story but set a few decades earlier in the 1950s. In the game, it’s 1957, and as the Cold War is waged across the world, a small, innocuous flat in Shirley is the scene for the latest battle. British Intelligence have captured an enemy agent, but with their own networks compromised by double agents they need you to help them. Can you get in, discover the truth, and leave before the agents handlers arrive and clear up the evidence….you included!

3) Escape Kent are another company based in Canterbury and opened at pretty much the same time as their near-neighbours. If variety is the spice of life then the Canterburians are blessed indeed because the two games on offer have very different themes, both from each other and from Canterbury Escape Room. It’s worth mentioning that the opening in October wasn’t just a low key affair – they got double Olympic gold medallist (not to mention also a bronze medallist) Dame Kelly Holmes to open the rooms and play a game.

In Alien Attack, it is the year 2086 and you are 4 months into your time aboard the scientific research laboratory Astro262. Everything seems to be running smoothly in the attempt to find a new settlement for the human race to colonise, until, without warning you receive an unwelcome transmission from a nearby defence satellite. Aliens from a nearby planet have heard about your research and in an angry retaliation, they have built a missile in order to destroy all of planet earth, with their one priority in mind – to make the human race extinct. It is now your job to ensure you disarm the missile before it’s too late and the aliens triumph in destroying all of planet earth. Good luck scientists, the fate of the entire human race depends on you.

Their other room, Kidnapped, is horror themed.  In the game, after years of hard saving you have finally made your dream come true, to be able to travel throughout the USA, but little do you know where this trip will take you. Midway through your travels you find yourself in the grasps of one of Texas’s most renowned serial killers and cannibal, ‘The Butcher’. No one knows who he is, only that he leaves little left of his victims after he has satisfied his appetite for human meat. You find yourself locked in a dark, dank basement with no recollection of what’s happened, all you know is that you need to escape alive, or risk succumbing to the disturbing appetite of the man who had kidnapped you, The Butcher.

4) Escape Room Bournemouth opened about a month ago and, on the face of it, look to be setting up for a series of related rooms. Their first game, M.A.R.V.O. Induction, sees you being inducted into their clandestine organisation and surely subsequent rooms will see you carry out related missions.

They set the story up as follows: What if Fairy Stories were more real than you ever imagined? If the power to destroy the world was hidden in a small trinket, and that trinket had been lost to history, only remembered in an old bed time story. Would you try to recover it for the good of all? So there you have it – you’re training as an agent and have to recover some sort of artifact to save the world – what more could you want!

5) Randoms Rooms is one of the most down to earth companies this site has encountered. Firstly, they’re not situated in some glitzy building, in the town centre or even paired up with laser tag or bowling. No – they’re located inside a sports centre which, to this site’s knowledge, is a first in the UK.  Second, they’ve kept their first room, which opened back in September, very much in keeping with the setting by basing it around a locker room.

In Rundown Locker Room, it’s 60 minutes before the final game of the season. The opposing team don’t reckon much on their chances of beating you with the season you’ve had so they took it into their own hands before the match to lock you in your locker room, in the hope that you’ll miss the start and have to forfiet. So with 60 minutes before that starting airhorn, can you and your team break the codes and find the clues to make it to the finals?

6) TimeQuest are a Tonbridge based company that have been operating for under a month. Again, they’re theming their different games as part of an overarching story line with you starting out by qualifying as an agent.

In their first game, Agent 101, the story is as follows:  As our most decorated and successful squad, we need your full attention for this next mission. We believe your lives are in danger and if not rectified your involvement with TimeQuest could cease to exist!! While monitoring the space-time continuum our analysts have noticed a number of odd time shifts occurring around the same period of time. Information from our intelligence agents, suggests that the Sniglets are attempting to eradicate your involvement with TimeQuest. We believe they are targeting your final exam, in an attempt to stop you graduating from the TimeQuest Academy. We don’t need to emphasise how important this mission is, not only for you as a team but for the history of TimeQuest. Your missions is simple, return to the day of your final exam and qualify as a TimeQuest agent. As you may remember your final test is a culmination of the numerical, cognitive and physical techniques you learned in your three years of training. Our window for this mission is small, meaning you will only have 60 minutes to complete the mission and return to TimeQuest HQ.

Once you’ve passed the exam (and probably even if you don’t take it) you can play one of their other missions which see you travelling to different eras. If you have a penchant for recent history then Saving Operation Neptune may appeal.  In that story you are told: Over the past few month we have seen little activity from the Sniglets. While our intelligence agents suspect they were planning their next attack we have not had any concrete evidence to go on, until now. We have just received intel that suggests that the Sniglets have sent back a small faction to June 5th 1944, the day before ‘Operation Neptune’ was launched. As you may well know Operation Neptune was the codename for the D-Day landing operations scheduled to take place on the 6th June 1944, as part of the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. While we do not know their exact intentions we believe their objective is to disrupt the channels of communications to the Allies, ultimately placing ‘Project Neptune’ in danger. Your missions is simple, return to June 5th and repair the Allied communication chain. You will need to draw on your training to ensure you complete your mission and return to the present day within the 60 minute time window.

Finally if you fancy travelling much further back then sign yourself up for the Quest to Save Camelot. Interestingly, the two previous missions are for the Alpha and Bravo teams but this mission is addressed to the Delta team. I can’t help but wonder what happened to the Charlie team… Putting that sort of curiosity to one side for a moment, the mission you’re given here is as follows: There has been a lot of activity from the Sniglets over the past few hours. Intel has reported that the Sniglets have returned back to Medieval times to Camelot and the court of King Arthur. What we have been able to intercept and decipher is that they are planning to cause chaos in Camelot by destroying the brotherhood of the Knights of the Round Table. Both King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table are powerful symbols of the knightly code and our heritage. Allowing the Sniglets to tamper and ultimately fracture the code of chivalry would cause chaos to the order we know today. Your mission is simple, return to Camelot and repair the fracture caused by the Sniglets. You will need to draw on your training to ensure you complete your mission and return to the present day within the 60 minute time window.

So, six more south eastern escape rooms to add to an ever growing collection. Don’t forget to check out the Exit Games map for full coverage of every escape room in the UK and Ireland!

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