The newly-launched Escape Reality in Fountainbridge Square, Edinburgh, is a collection of six themed ‘puzzle rooms’ designed to test your ability to escape from confinement.
You choose a room and are locked in and along with your fellow detainees you must solve a series of questions in order to escape.
It sounds a bit nerve-wracking, but actually it’s great fun.
The rooms range from Alcatraz, based on the infamous US island jail, to a more family-friendly jungle, and having chosen your room you are left to work out your route to freedom, possibly with people you’ve never met.
I was with a friend from university and three other ladies, whom we didn’t know. We opted for Jungala, a level 3 escape room, and managed to get through it with a few minutes to spare. However, we did ask for a hint at the first question, which I will put down to excitement and Prosecco making us slightly giddy.
Next we tackled a level four room. This was much more maths based, and much trickier, despite being just one level higher. Fortunately, the staff were on hand with a few hints and when we failed to escape they talked us out of our cell.
The company behind these puzzle rooms has nine locations, this being the second in Scotland following the opening in Glasgow last year. Others in such diverse places as Las Vegas, Dubai, and Cardiff will be followed by three more in Manchester, Birmingham and Mumbai. There are ambitions to open in Sweden, Canada and South Africa.
But what is it that makes being locked in a room so appealing? Alice Hall the operations executive for Escape Reality thinks it’s down to the creativity and the passion of the team who design the games and because it’s “much more engaging than going out for a meal or drinks with friends and family.”
In total there are thirty unique experience rooms with a team in London tailoring what games they think will suit each city. Some games are exclusive to one location; Nosferatu is currently only found in the Edinburgh franchise.
As it was the opening night there were a few teething issues – games not fully working and staff a little nervous when setting the scene before entering the rooms. However, these didn’t spoil the night and were easily fixed.
Inevitably, something like this will appeal to students, families, hen and stag dos, private functions and corporate team building.
The venue also boasts a social area for all budding problem solvers to talk team tactics or celebrate their recent escape.
I loved the rooms, but the enthusiasm of the staff really made it for me. They were great fun to be around and not judgmental when we had to ask for help. I can’t wait to go back and try the other games, and hopefully there’ll be more added.