Tenpin, Starcity, Watson Rd, B7 5SB
not from direct reviews
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The start and look is great. The puzzles just doesn’t live up to it. I would recommend this game for kids but don’t think it would satisfy an escape room enthusiast.
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.