Coming down with something – Virus @ Breakout Manchester


This is the happiest I’ve ever seen Helen (she’s on the right).

Back to our regularly scheduled escape game reviews. Has it really been a month since my last review?!

How time flies when you’re having fun. It was back in October when I played my first escape game at Breakout Manchester, starting my addiction. Now I’m back for my fifth and (for now, at least) final visit. New rooms have opened since then of course, but in other ways not much has changed. Virus was one of the three rooms they had when opening:

Can you slow down the outbreak and find the cure? You only have 60 minutes to do so or the fate of mankind may be in jeopardy. Virus was our 2nd room to open in Breakout Manchester. It has some great, unique and ingenious puzzles that makes the room very special indeed.

We started our hunt at a frantic pace. The team was in fine form as we solved some reasonably tricky puzzles with ease. I thought another record may be on the cards. But about 15 minutes in we hit a wall. We were reasonably sure we needed to find just one more thing to progress but we couldn’t find it. As you’d expect we began a thorough search, but we didn’t really found what we were looking for. What we found were some random pipes sticking up out of the floor and through the wall. While they were marked as ‘do not touch’ it was a bit jarring to see such things when you’ve become accustomed to highly polished surroundings. We also found a lot of red herrings in terms of scrawl on the walls. I understand the trope of people in confined spaces writing all over their surroundings, but this wasn’t really that. They were individual doodles that could be for decoration, but could also be meaningful. Over analysing each of them, and getting nowhere, was quite annoying.

After a series of clues we found what we were missing and moved on. But I think it’d be fair to say the wind had been lost from our sails. Now there was a puzzle that should have been simple, but we were distracted by another red herring. There was a puzzle that should have been simple had it not been on a misleading material. There was a puzzle where we found the answer, but didn’t realise as we thought it was the clue. Now we were frustrated and running out of time. Luckily for mankind the end of the game resolves incredibly quickly, and we made it out with a few minutes to spare.

I think if I’d have played this room back in October I’d have been blown away by it. But I didn’t and I wasn’t. In fact I’d encourage Breakout to consider swapping it out for a new game soon. In the meantime there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, so maybe a new escaper would like it, but I’d suggest an experienced escaper put it in quarantine.

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