Siân O'Brien


Game
Company
Game
Location
Played: 12 Apr 2022 Team size: 4 Time taken: 39:37 Outcome: Successful escape!
great hostingit worksunoriginalquite difficult

I can highly recommend this room! Having now completed Escape Live Birmingham's traditional rooms, this was one of their best. It's very traditional, so it's a great starter room, if you're new to Escapes. It was very traditional in terms of tech too. As a team, this was one of our fastest rooms, but I don't think that's because it's the easiest. I think it was just slightly unoriginal, so we've seen a lot of similar puzzles before. That's why I think this is a great starter room. The hosting was brilliant - and we had no clues! It was lovely to have the space we required to attempt the game ourselves, and we could dictate the when we wanted clues.

A major, major plus point for us is that everything worked! It's a well kept room, which allowed us to focus on game play and no need for the GM to intervene. Perfect. 

As a team, we also prefer non-linear games, and this fit the bill. 

Played: 2 Apr 2022 Team size: 5 Time taken: 47:57
value for moneygreat hostingquite easy

This game was so much fun. Great value for money, so certainly worth a visit. The venue also does Go-Karting and Laser Tag, so you can really make a day of it.

With that in mind, I think they largely focus on family friendly fun. I'd say this is a good first game for a young escapee, so fairly basic. Given the story is based on Peaky Blinders, some might find the back story a little gruesome, so I'd probably say this is a good 12+ game.

We really did enjoy it. The setup is fun, hosting is great, and there's a couple of surprises along the way.

It's largely traditional, ie. low tech, but it's set in 1910, so that's in keeping with the theme and I appreciated that. 

One major plus point is that everything worked! I'm pretty sure this game has been around for a couple of years, and given the antique decor, that's pretty impressive. A big plus point!!

Played: 31 Aug 2021 Team size: 2 Time taken: 210 Outcome: Successful escape!
cleverfamily friendlymagicalquite easy

As this is a walk about one, we did stop for lunch! Hence the escape time. This really can be enjoyed in a very casual way in that sense, because you're walking around the city at your own pace. It was very creative and incorporated Brighton as a destination extremely well.

If you're visiting Brighton, I 100% recommend you do this!! Great value for money, family-friendly fun and a great introduction to the city.

Played: 14 Mar 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 56:41 Outcome: Successful escape!
hi-techcleverintense

This was amazing!! Get the admin out the way: The tech worked and the staff are lovely. The hints system is great and you can dictate it. The majority of puzzles were padlocks, but each puzzle was weaved into the story.

This was possibly the best room I've ever done. I think the story was so successfully tied to the theme and story that this makes for a great first escape room. If you've never done an escape room before, this one will make sense to you. You'll feel like you're in a movie!

If you're an experienced player, I still think you'll love this room. Even if padlocks aren't your thing, please trust me. This is interesting enough to get over that. And most importantly, from experience, it's well kept and works!!

A lot of other escapes we've done could learn a lot from these guys. This is the standard!!

Played: 13 Mar 2022 Team size: 4 Time taken: 57:30 Outcome: Successful escape!
family friendlyit works

I find a major differentiator for good and bad games is whether it works. This one works! We had zero complaints. It actually worked! 

There was a mix of puzzles at various skill levels, a variety of practical puzzles and padlocks and some surprises along the way!

It managed to remain linear, while not being boring for a larger team and each puzzle was story driven, so very creatively done.

Our host was lovely and entertaining, and allowed us to dictate the number of clues and when (we had 2).

Overall, one of the better games in Birmingham.

Played: 12 Feb 2022 Team size: 5 Time taken: 57:40 Outcome: Successful escape!
family friendlybroken techpoor hosting

Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao, Bella Ciao Ciao Ciao!

Theft was on the mind after watching Money Heist on Netflix, so we were excited about this room! 

Unfortunately the room is quite dated now. We had fun, but some things were made difficult by the state of disrepair; draws that don't open, objects held together with cellotape. 

One major aspect of the game had us waste about 15 minutes, to find it wasn't working. Worst still, it was missing it's QR, so hints were unavailable. This would have been only our second hint, so as a measure, I would say this is a fairly easy game. 

On calling the GM into the room to help, he confirmed it was broken. He then couldn't manually release it, so he had to skip the challenge inside. He then gave us a hint towards the next challenge, so in total 15 minutes were lost and 3 challenges!! So actually, it put a real damper on the whole experience; skipping 3 challenges is a big chunk of game play.

When I requested a discount on a future game, our GM said no. He said they don't have the power to do that. I was really gutted.

I've always disagreed with the way Escape Reality is managed, given you've got one member of staff on the desk, seeing people in, delivering the briefings, monitoring your game on CCTV, seeing teams out, answering the phones, covering the desk, selling drinks, resetting rooms... It's just too much.

I get the impression there's a backseat manager somewhere just enjoying the money roll in, while starving the place of any investment, so I'm not sure how much longer Escape Reality will last. Oddly, I had enquired in here a week prior about bringing in a large party, which I thought would be of interest given they claim to host corporate events on their website, but the staff told me no - they don't do large parties that require hosting multiple rooms. I get the feeling there's a big disconnect between management and the staff here.

Played: 29 Jan 2022 Team size: 4 Time taken: 43:00 Outcome: Successful escape!
story-drivenpoor hostingquite easy

Fortunately for Escape Live this wasn't our first game with them, because we may not return otherwise. Unlike Time Machine, Room 13 and even Peaky Blinders: The Raid, we did not enjoy this room. I think the Games Master held a grudge because we were 'late'. She says we had 17min to spare, but it felt like we were only in there 10 minutes. To be honest, we were still waiting for the real game to begin. We say 'late' because when she phoned and asked where I was at 2pm, enquiring with regards to my 'lateness', we replied 'in your office.' You see, Escape Live is split across 2 buildings; the one on Google, and one where half the games were. On arrival at the office, we had to wait whilst staff looked after others Teams, both arriving, leaving and while still monitoring live games. Someone then walked us round and let us in to the other building. The other building is locked to enquiring public, which is why we didn't go immediately there. Then, once in the correct building, we waited for our Games Master to come introduce herself, even taking the time to purchase drinks from their bar - that's how long we waited.

Anyway, once in the room, the GM introduced the story and ran over health and safety. As part of this, she explained if we want a hint to use the phone inside the room to request them. Fine. Not a problem. I love using those old school phones anyway. I was quite looking forward to it. She then left. There's no timer in the room, but we suspect the clock had already started at the booked time of 2pm and not our actual start, which was roughly 2.15. The GM then left, at which point a video plays on the wall from a projector. This didn't work. We had no image whatsoever and spent the enter entry video waving at the CCTV and calling for the GM. We got no response. We had then missed all the audio, as we had assumed the game would be reset due to this technical issue. So, as for story, I can't give you any spoilers. I literally don't know what the scenario was, which is a shame, because unlike a normal Escape Room, this officially licensed Peaky Blinders story is actually all about the story. It's not an "escape" scenario; it's a story. It's a mission. So this was important and highly detrimental to the game as a whole.

We then never, at any point, picked up the phone to ask for clues. Instead, after ignoring our requests for tech support, voluntarily guided us through the entire game. We suspect that for 2 of the 3 games in the first room that she actually manually released the objects before we'd actually solved them. This was highly frustrating. As experienced gamers, we've never experienced anything like this before. It rendered the entire experience completely pointless. I was so annoyed. It has seriously got me questioning whether we will go back, but we've already completed all of Clue HQ, Escape Hunt and Escape Brum. It's just not worth playing if your GM is going to walk you through it over a speaker, not even the phone, so it's not like you can hang up and ignore her. Rubbing salt in the wound, she then came in at the end and proclaimed how fast we were, with 17 minutes to spare. We suspect that was more like 37 minutes spare, had the timer started when the game did. And if we had so much time to spare, why was she helping us? Totally pointless. Really annoyed about it. 

The game itself isn't great. It's linear with only about 4 actual puzzles and other 'put this here challenges. It wasn't great. And as I said, I think the GM was manually releasing items, so Escape Live just isn't as technically advanced as other places were played. The rooms aren't very atmospheric and we really missed the thrill of the live action we got in The Raid. 

On informing the GM of the technical issues with the video and other complaints with the game, there was no offer of a future discount or anything else to entice us back, which was disappointing, especially given I'd already enquired with regards to booking a large party with them, utilising their back room, but that certainly won't be happening now. It was actually this weekend. We went to Escape Reality down the street instead.

One final note - and SPOILER ALERT - it was very odd to include a sniffing based puzzle, during a global pandemic, when guests may wish to wear a mask to avoid Covid, or may have had their sense of smell effected by a prior Covid infection. To be honest, I think the whole room needs a serious rethink. 

Played: 8 Jan 2022 Team size: 2 Time taken: 56:00 Outcome: Successful escape!
family friendlyillogical

This is the second game we've done with Keyhunter and it's just not for us. We don't enjoy these games and although we escaped, I'm not convinced we would have without help. When we asked why there was stuff in the game we didn't use, they said that's because there are multiple ways of getting to the same outcome. I find this strange and irritating. I want to play all the games and leave with a feeling of 100% completion. I just don't get that here. 

Played: 29 Oct 2021 Team size: 5 Time taken: 47:52 Outcome: Successful escape!
immersivegreat hosting

This was a really great game, and what I really like about playing games with Escape Live is they always work. My biggest pet peeve is when Escape games have broken elements, that require intervention. We've not really had that with Escape Live, so I'll continue to play games with them. 

This game was supposed to be scary, and I reckon it possibly was pre-pandemic, but the hosts can't currently scary guests or interact with the game. This game isn't really massively scary without that, but this is just my opinion. We did have Team members who thought it was scary enough! 

Played: 10 Aug 2021 Team size: 5 Time taken: 48:54 Outcome: Successful escape!
funnyimmersivegreat hosting

This was a good room. It was nostalgic, it was fun, it was very surprising. That's all great. The only reason I couldn't give it a 5 stars - minor spoiler alert here - there was no big fantastic ending. It was quite deflating, after all the fun we had had. If I could give 4.5, I would.

Played: 03/11/2020 Team size: 2 Outcome: Failed :-(
broken techpoor hostingdangerousquite difficult


After asking for a clue in the game, we enquired afterwards as to how we were supposed to have achieved that task alone, our Games Master explained that this is an "immersive" experience, so she is part of the game and would always have given us this clue. This to me suggests the game is ultimately unachievable without assistance. To add to the unfairness of this, the Games Master is not dedicated to your game, so she wasn't there to interject when we reached that point of this linear game, so we lost time waiting for necessary assistance.

Other issues we had included;

- our introduction, delivered by the GM. She mentioned red coloured padlocks were not part of the game, but that they might be attached to something you need later. This put us on a road disaster immediately, as we took it to mean we would know when this object became part of the story. This object in actual fact, was the very first puzzle piece in this linear game, so we couldn't achieve anything until she radioed to tell us the game started with that object.

- The introduction included handing you a note with information you'll need later in the game. And I don't mean in a prop-y "you'll need this to complete your mission" kind of way. I mean in a "part of the game is either broken or missing, so here's the answer because you'll need it" kind of way.

- As she left the room, we realised our clock was already ticking and was already at 54min. We reported it over the radio and she said she would keep count, rather than reset it, and she would warn us in 15 minutes intervals. Our first time reminder was 35 minutes in. Our next was with just 5 minutes to go.

- That first prop is broken and resulted in me pricking my finger on a nail. Ultimately, the GM had to provide the answer to this first task because the prop was broken.

As you can see, our first 15 minutes or so we're an absolute disaster. It didn't get much better and although we were close to winning, a victory would not have felt like a victory given the level of assistance needed to make up for the issues with the game.

Props were broken, (a message on a record player had to be recited over the walkie talkie), many aspects of the game are so warn down they are hard to read, the lighting in the room made it hard to read. The GM is not dedicated to your game, despite being vital to its completion. Ultimately, this game is unplayable without support, as attested to by our GM. Given the amount of downtime companies like this have experienced in 2020, there is no excuse to why holes in the game aren't fixed and props and sets have not been repaired.

On a topical note, it was off putting to see the previous team leave as we arrived were not wearing masks, and then the GM handling their phone to take a photo. The GM was wearing a face mask and disposable gloves though, and assured us the locker for our stuff had been sanitised.

Played: 12/09/2020 Team size: 5 Time taken: 35:27 Outcome: Successful escape!

I loved this! It was brilliant. It was possibly our best ever time and we made it onto this months leader board! So it was an easier room, in my opinion. (possibly adapted for Covid?) 

Played: 31/08/2020 Team size: 5 Time taken: 57:36 Outcome: Successful escape!

This was amazing!! I love it. 

We had Luke as our GM again. He's brilliant. 

If I had one negative, it would be that we did reach points were 2 or 3 people would be working on a puzzle, and the others would have nothing to do. The theme and puzzles were great though. It was a tough room, with a climactic finish, and apparently only a 20% escape rate! 

I definitely recommend. 

Played: 16/08/2020 Team size: 5 Time taken: 52:58 Outcome: Successful escape!
illogicalbroken tech

This was, unfortunately, the worst room we've ever done. Previously, I did one of the best ever rooms at Escape Hunt Birmingham, so I don't want to hold it against them. It was a bad day for them, so I'm not going in to details. If it had been my first experience with them, I'd have written them off, but their Fourth Samurai was absolutely brilliant, so we will be doing their other rooms. 

Ultimately, this room is unplayable due to broken tech. There was so much broken, we weren't able to solve a single puzzle without intervention and they had to just let us out in the end. This was a combination of the GM's not setting up the room correctly, poor game design that allows the Players to corrupt the game, and broken tech. It was a horrendous experience and means we certainly won't be doing the Doctor Who themed game over at the NEC. However, we have thoroughly enjoyed every other game at Escape Hunt Birmingham, so with that in mind, it must have something to do with the BBC licensing. This was probably bought in and they don't have the parts to fix it.

Played: 02/02/2020 Team size: 5 Time taken: 54:35 Outcome: Successful escape!

It was OK. A bit of fun. It's been achieved on a budget and the puzzles are good, although if I'm perfectly honest, there were a couple of puzzles I never worked out, even after it was explained to me. We also weren't sure if we finished it, or if the door just randomly opened.

It was good in terms of being able to split up and multi-tasking as a team. I like that. And puzzles without padlocks. I liked that too. 

Played: 14/08/2020 Team size: 3 Time taken: 43:46 Outcome: Successful escape!
clevergreat hostingquite easy

Firstly, first game back after Lockdown and I was very pleased and happy Covid guidelines are in place and adhered to. It's been hard getting back out there, after shielding with cancer, so this made me feel very protected and comfortable.

The game itself - brilliant. Nice bright room, great theme and the puzzles fitted the theme throughout. It was fun doing a room without padlocks! And it was atmospheric without being scary. 

I'd say in terms of difficulty, this is probably on the easier side of the spectrum, or maybe I'm just getting use to them! This was my first room with this company and I really liked them, and Luke the games master was lovely. I'll definitely be back! 

Played: 24/02/2020 Team size: 5 Time taken: 42:18 Outcome: Successful escape!

This was brill. Lee, who runs the place, I think designs them himself. His such a nice guy. This is his second room, and the second one we've done. It was great. It's a very spacious room! As Escape Rooms go. It was nice and light. I get irritated in darker rooms. If the challenge is to be able to read something, I feel like I've been cheated. This wasn't like that. 


What I love about Lee' s rooms is that you seem to be able to take so many routes. I much prefer that than having 5 or 6 people all looking over each others shoulders, trying to all get a look in and having to do everything one at a time in order. This wasn't like that at all. I really enjoyed it. Can't wait until he opens a third room! 

Played: 18/10/2019 Team size: 4 Time taken: 47:52 Outcome: Successful escape!

I really enjoyed this room. And it was my first experience with Escape Live Birmingham and I will definitely be going back and recommend them to others. 

It's not often everything in a room functions as it should do, but this did (maybe because it's was so new at time of playing). 

I love that it's an official Peakys room, so that allows them to do certain things other rooms can't. 

It was, I would say, of the 10 or so rooms I've done, the easiest room I've ever played, but I think given the theme that's a positive. I think fans of the show will be attracted to this room and get a good taste for Escape Rooms, whereas a really tough experience might put them off future games. I think this is a great game for anyone just starting out. 

Played: 12/10/2019 Team size: 4 Time taken: 60:00 Outcome: Successful escape!

We escaped... Debatably. We were there to test the game, so having worked out all the puzzles and through some technical issues, we were apparently the first team to complete this room. Based on our feedback to them I can only assume they made radical changes, as I've since seen a lot of photos on Clue HQ's Facebook page of people escaping this room. When we did it, this was hands down the hardest room we had ever done. We're not terribly experienced - I've done about 10 - but this was definitely the toughest. 


A couple of potential spoilers, so you might not want to read further, but some people might be intrigued to know; there are no padlocks in this room! I think that's pretty cool. 

Played: 01/09/2019 Team size: 5 Time taken: 47:47 Outcome: Successful escape!
family friendlyplain

This was a good, fun game. A bit riddle-y for me. I prefer physically achieving things, rather than reading > find a number > open padlock. There were also some nice surprises in this room though! So I'll definitely go back. I thought the story was good and the puzzles fitted the theme, so overall I would recommend this room. It's also a good starter one you could perhaps do with kids. They have designated it a level 3.5.

Played: 29/09/2019 Team size: 4 Time taken: 47:23 Outcome: Successful escape!
originalillogicalpoor hosting👻scary

I don't find Escape Reality particularly atmospheric and the staff are too busy to dedicate a GM to any group. 

As this is a scary room, we did ask how scary and our GM was very descriptive, which wasn't what I wanted. He gave too much away, but in a confusing way that actually resulted in us wasting time some times doing what we thought we were supposed to do, based on the hints that we'd had. It would have been much better if he just hadn't said anything. 

Overall, the story was good, the execution was OK, the set was quite flat and sparse but we did have a good time. A couple of red herrings threw me, so if you find there's something you can't figure out, try moving on to something else because you might be trying to find something that isn't there. 

Played: 06/08/2019 Team size: 4 Time taken: 51:24 Outcome: Successful escape!

I found this game really immersive as a result of care in the set design. It felt really authentic. The GM was really lovely and the story was well thought out. Overall, really enjoyable. I can't wait for this company to open new rooms! 

Played: 15/11/2018 Team size: 5 Time taken: 57:15 Outcome: Successful escape!
This was brilliant. The set design is great. I'll admit not every aspect of the puzzles was in keeping with the theme, but the room definitely added to my overall enjoyment. I found this game a little easier to get started than usual, as it's laid out in a very linear way (to an extent). There was certainly enough to do for the 5 of us, only just managing to escape. It did include riddles though, which tend to be my kryptonite. 
Played: 25/06/2019 Team size: 3 Time taken: 41:00 Outcome: Successful escape!
plain

I really enjoyed this and can't wait to visit Escape Reality again, especially to do their harder rooms! The reasons I couldn't give 5 stars is because it was less atmospheric than previous rooms I've done. The story introduction is explained by the Games Master, so there's no real effort there. And the set was quite flat with textureless wall paper. The puzzles are good though. We had a great time. 

Played: 23/06/2019 Team size: 2 Time taken: Outcome: Failed :-(

I feel mean giving it such a low score, as it felt like more of a family run business than the bigger companies. It doesn't have the same finesse or sophistication as other places, but it was the care and lack of attention to detail that really let it down. 

As it's my first loss I don't want to seem bitter, but I feel my review is honest because of the issues we had. 

Firstly, should you go to Keyhunter, make sure you read the game synopsis on the website before hand. There's no snazzy video intro here or atmospheric room design to lead you into your mission. It felt like we were in someone's house and had just been led up to a bedroom. The Games Master gave us no background story, just pointed out which puzzles to start with and that if we finished within the time to just let ourselves out. She left us with a walkie talkie and then the clock started. There is a laminated card in the room with the synopsis from the website printed on it, so you can find out the story while you're there but it'll eat into your time to read it. 

The puzzles themselves were more just annoying than difficult. I felt like I was playing 52 Card Pick Up. Once you had completed the puzzles, it then wasn't clear in which order to enter the revealed digits into the padlock. This ate into our time a lot. Mostly because we have not come across this before. Normally a puzzle would reveal a full and complete answer, so we spent more time looking for what we'd missed in the puzzle than just entering the combinations. We didn't want to cheat. Eventually we asked over the radio, but the Games Master confirmed you have to just test the possible combinations. 

I think there radio was also on the same frequency as the local Tesco or something. I'm sure there were other people talking on it. We were never sure if or when someone was talking to us, or whether it was part of the game.

It turned out we were on the last puzzle when the time ran out. The Games Master was nice enough to talk us through the last bit, and I do believe we would have finished if not for the issues in the room. Not only all the above, but the room also required some physical strength I wasn't prepared for having just come out of surgery a couple of weeks before. I've also never been to an Escape Room where you practically have to trash the place in order to complete it. This was too physically exerting for me and there was no warning for that. 

I think if Keyhunter was cheaper than other escape rooms I could be more forgiving of their shortcomings, but it isn't, so I feel they really need to up their game. 

Played: 16/09/2018 Team size: 4 Time taken: 43:50 Outcome: Successful escape!

My first escape room. It was awesome. We did however manage to accidentally circumvent a puzzle. We didn't know, as it was our first Escape Room, but I don't feel like that should have been possible. Hopefully that will have been fixed by now, but because of it, I can't give a 5 star rating. 

Played: 02/02/2019 Team size: 5 Time taken: 54:57 Outcome: Successful escape!

I loved this. This has been my favourite so far (our of 6). There was a nice big surprise for us in this room, which I don't want to spoil here! There was one puzzle that annoyed me, as the maths involved ignored BODMAS, so I feel like it was dumbed down. I really like that this game has an option to escape, or stay to win treasure!! We stayed. We nearly got locked in because of it, but we did escape with the treasure! 

Played: 10/10/2018 Team size: 6 Time taken: 59:57 Outcome: Successful escape!

This is so atmospheric - but not too scary. We were all screaming at other by the end because we knew we were close!! Eventually escaping with just 3 seconds to go!! It was awesome.