Not to be outdone by their team-mate, two more members of The Animals were keen to get in on the guest review action. Over to Richard1 and James!
Keen to expand their escaping experience before The Animals next meet up at ‘The Vault’, the west coast contingent (apart from Paul) embarked with their wives (escaping newbies), to Breakout Liverpool’s ‘Classified’ room.
The venue has been reviewed previously and is easy to find right in the heart of the city, about five minutes from Liverpool One. Located in a basement, we subsequently discovered the venue used to be a comedy club which is in keeping with the decor. We were welcomed by our host, a very bubbly youngster, who directed us to the spacious subterranean lobby with the usual puzzles on offer (Rubik’s cubes, etc).
The ‘Classified’ room in Liverpool is a near-copy of the room at Breakout’s sister site in Manchester and has also been previously reviewed. However, there are some subtle differences (more on that later). We were given a written brief to take in with us and introduced to our roles as students, with our need to pass an exam that would make us secret agents:
The classified room sees players sitting their final entrance exam to become a secret agent. You must escape from the room to pass the exam. This is Breakout’s most explosive and technologically advanced room yet! Think James Bond, Jack Bauer and Lara Croft. Classified is the prequel to Sabotage.
Upon entering the room, it was quite large and the use of white lights gave it a secret room feeling. There was a huge square pillar off-set to the right of centre but the space was used well with theme music playing which was certainly appropriate, if a little loud (we had to shout to each other). As with other escape rooms, there was a large monitor which worked as our timer and the vehicle for our host to send us clues. Like the Manchester counterpart, there is a good blend of tasks and there is certainly the need to split into smaller subsets of groups to work optimally. A key difference from Manchester, however, is the need to break out of the room rather than press a button inside a strongbox to stop the countdown. Whilst a small detail, Manchester’s twist gives the room a level of originality unfortunately not seen here.
The bigger negative was the speed with which we were able to exit, even with an error in the room set up (a riddle was pushed under the door when the host realised the mistake). Whilst a keen and clever bunch, we should not have escaped with 26 minutes to spare for a 4/5 rated room. Although it did mean we got the record escape time (so maybe not all bad!).
In the heat of battle, we didn’t notice how much we were being helped. But reflecting in our post escaping dinner (Mmmm maple bacon onion rings – Editor: why do guest reviewers always talk about food?) made us realise we’d hardly been given time to think, let alone sweat. We want a room to be a challenge so thinking how easy it had been made for us put a bit of a downer on things.
Breakout Liverpool is a welcoming venue and with a new room opening soon (Editor: Now open! Sorry for being so tardy) with a different spin (‘Wanted’ let’s you choose which role/route to take) we will definitely be visiting again. As for ‘Classified’ we would recommend this room to all experiences of escapers but perhaps more experienced groups may want to check with the host about the hints and the quantity they receive. Whilst this is a good room, a few little niggles stop us Classifying it as highly as Mark did with Manchester.