Breaking the mould – Jail Break @ Lockin Escape Manchester

Please note this review is based on a visit from May 2015. I’m playing catch up with my reviews at the minute.


Happy faces this time

After the disappointment of our last visit I was keen to return to Lockin Escape to see whether their third room was closer to the one I loved or the one I loathed. So a week later three of us booked in to play Jail Break:

You are sent on a secret mission by your principal from the biggest criminal organisation to rescue two very important convicted prisoners who are being detained in the most secured cell in the jail, pending the death sentence.

You and your fellow team members have carefully devised an escape plan. To execute the escape plan, you are now disguised as an officer and have gained access into the cell where your targets are held. Your goal is to interact with the secret prisoner and ensure that everyone successfully tunnels out of the cell before the alarms sounds and the guards return.

As probably the most obvious excuse to be trapped in a room, therefore the most common escape game theme, Jail Break would have to do something different to be memorable. And I’m delighted to say it does. I’m not sure how it would play out for teams of different numbers but for our three it was just as described in the brief. Two of the team were incarcerated, and I was their liberator. But this wasn’t just a case of separate rooms or meaningless handcuffs; the two prisoners were in shackles, meaning they could hardly move! And I wasn’t equipped with anything to free them with, yet.

As fun as this set up was, I was immediately concerned that this was going to be a case of me rushing around doing stuff while the others shouted instructions; in other words, me enjoying myself while they stood around. But thankfully this wasn’t the case. Their constraints allowed them to do just enough to not get bored without rendering them pointless, while I had some stuff to do on my own but quickly had to involve the others. The result was some of the best teamwork and player-interactivity shenanigans that I’ve seen in an escape game. We even managed to do some things in a different order than was expected, which changed the challenges but didn’t make them any less fun.

Similar to Lockin Escape’s other rooms there was a great mix of physical and mental challenges, and a surprising amount to do in a single room, relatively small game. We got stuck a couple of times and escaped in just over 42 minutes. That’s a little bit quick for my liking but it didn’t feel it at the time.

If ever there was a game that had been designed for three people then this is it, so if you are a team of three be sure to check it out. It would also be really good for a bigger team of less experienced escapers, and/or those that think the escape world revolves around combination locks (SPOILER: it doesn’t).

The slightly unpleasant taste has well and truly been washed from my mouth, and I’ll be keenly looking forward to whatever new games Lockin Escape has to offer in the future.

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