My brother has been banging on about doing another escape rooms since the last time we went way back at the end of 2016 - so when I got the offer to review another one at Escape Reality Cardiff I knew exactly who I'd be taking with me.
If you've been reading for a while you might have read my review on the first one we did for Halloween where I admitted we chose one of the most difficult rooms and the staff let us stay late to get out, which we did....in nearly 2 hours. My boyfriend Joss wasn't overly keen on the experience, he's not one for mental challenges and gets frustrated and bored super quickly so when I mentioned I'd been offered another room he said he'd come if we could try out the easiest room.
Having done one of the most difficult last time I thought getting a go at the easiest and actually standing a chance of escaping would be a good idea for a review - and luckily my brother and his fiancée agreed.
The set up to the experience is exactly the same for each of the escape rooms and the staff are super helpful all the way through your evening. Before you go into your room they give you a briefing where they explain how it works and what to do and also go through the safety features so for example you don't have to climb on anything and there'll be no clues higher than your head or what to do if you have a panic attack or want to get out early. They also have cameras in each room which they can see from the main desk so if you're in a tizz or having a problem they can come in and also offer you some clues and hints if you're particularly stuck too.
Each set of rooms has a theme and for each you are given an iPad type tablet. This has your one hour timer on it and also has a scanner. Each room has a QR code for each puzzle which you can scan for a clue or a solution to the puzzle you're working on but for each one you use you get a 5 minute penalty added to your time at the end of the rooms and you're then locked out of using another code for 10 minutes to stop you cheating and taking all the fun out of it.
I mentioned in my previous post that I felt quite nervy about doing an escape rooms as I didn't want to feel trapped or like I couldn't get out if I wanted to but it couldn't be further from the experience I've had. This time I just felt super excited knowing what was coming and got into the mindset immediately - you totally forget where you are until you peep out of a corner of the window and see Wetherspoons across the road.
So how easy IS an easy escape rooms?
The answer - not that easy. No I lie, we found it much easier than the room we did last time and we actually made it out this go round, and with time to spare.
We took on the Jungala room at Escape Reality Cardiff which was a 3 out of 5 star difficulty rating. Obviously the best thing about escape rooms is that you don't know what to expect next so I can't give many details at all about what we did. The Jungala room was less sinister than the room we did last time which was like an illuminati theme and was all dark and we wore cloaks, this one was light for most of the rooms and was Jumangi themed and much less creepy. There were a few games in each room which led you onto more clues and more puzzles and unlocked 3 doors to keep you going.
Like last time we made the ultimate mistake of fiddling with something in the room when we went in which ended up being a clue and we totally ruined it and confused ourselves so we had to use two hints for two puzzles, giving us a time penalty of 10 minutes added on at the end. Other than that once we got our head into it we totally nailed it. Like last time we worked well as a team, everyones particular set of skills (very Taken) working to our advantage. The games are very very logical and require thinking outside the box and some games just respond to the way you think. The absolute best memory though was me pushing a button I thought was very innocent only to hear screams and realised I'd set a trap off over Candy's head and loads of stuff had fallen on her - the both of us were no good for the next puzzle because we were howling with laughter/still screaming.
In the end we got out in 40 minutes and 9 seconds, a mere 9 seconds off the leaderboard which was a bit gutting knowing if we hadn't used our clues and sacrificed the time penalty we'd have nailed it at just half an hour.
If you're taking on an escape rooms for the first time I'd 100% recommend one of the easier rooms. They're not easy by any stretch of the imagination as it takes a while to get your head into the game mode but you're much more likely to make it out. That being said, you could always do what we did and do a massively difficult one for your first try and then do an easier one for your second go. Whatever floats your boat.
Visit the Escape Reality website here to see if there's one local to you and if you're near by I can't recommend the Cardiff branch enough. Drop them a like on Facebook too as they're always running promotions and discounts and they'd be a good use of your time if you're looking ahead to Halloween.
*My evening was hosted for free by Escape Reality Cardiff in exchange for this review but as always all opinions and escape room experiences are very much those of me and my guests.