This review of Blackbeard’s Treasure is courtesy of complimentary tickets given to me by Escape Hunt Reading – Features Press Images
In recent years Escape Rooms have popped up here there and everywhere and I have had one on my bucket list for a while now. When Escape Rooms* UK got in touch about trying one of their five star escape room adventures in the newly opened Reading venue, I grabbed two of my trusted comrades and off we went.
Escape Hunt began life back in 2013 in Bangkok where inspired by online computer games, they set out to create a truly immersive experience where Escape Hunters are transported to another era to solve the mind twisting mysteries created by the global game design team – Escape Hunt Studios. Today they have branches all over the world with several branches here in the UK including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Leeds. Perfect for friends, families or colleagues – they are an excellent team building exercise or fun activity for those who love a new challenge. Each game is open to teams of two to six players where you have 60 minutes to work together to crack a series of themed clues and puzzles in order to break out of the locked room before the time is up.
Currently there are three games to choose from in the Reading venue with a fourth Doctor Who experience set to open early next year. We opted for Blackbeard’s Treasure where players are transported back in time to the galleon of one of the most notorious pirates in history – Captain Blackbeard! As the battle for control of the high seas rages on, Blackbeard falls leaving his treasure unguarded below deck. The ship is shot to pieces and sinking fast as you go in search of Blackbeard’s loot only to find you are trapped aboard! With only 60 minutes before you go down with the ship, work together with your scurvy shipmates to solve a series of mind-bending puzzles so you can escape with both the treasure and your lives!
You should arrive 15 minutes before your game starts to allow you to get checked in, have a quick bathroom break and get ready for an hour of intense game play. You can visit the bathroom during the game but they will not pause the clock so you don’t want to miss out on valuable gaming time. Outside each room is a storage box to leave all your valuables, just make sure you choose someone reliable to look after the key. What happens on the hunt stays on the hunt as there are no phones allowed inside the room but this adrenaline fuelled experience will keep you busy. Each of the games begins with a mission briefing from your specialist Game Master followed by an hour of immersive adventure to test your mind to the max. The whole time you are playing your GM is watching to give you clues should you need them to guide you in the right direction. Ours did a fab job of delivering his clues whilst staying in character which really added to the experience.
As this is my first time experiencing an escape room I obviously have nothing to compare this to but the attention to detail inside the room and all the props and decoration really transported you onto Blackbeard’s ship. We all expected there to be more direction or hints inside the room and initially we were so confused as to where to even begin. After a few moments we checked every nook and cranny and started attempting to figure out what to do to move into the next part which was chained with a padlock. Using a variety of cryptic word play and physical dexterity we worked our way around uncovering more and more leading us closer to the treasure. Each of us figured out different parts which the others would never have even thought of which really helped us to complete the mission within the time limit just. I enjoyed the variety of challenges, especially the finale that teases you before you reach the true ending in one last adrenaline fuelled rush.
We completed Blackbeard’s Treasure in just under 55 minutes with more clues than I would like to admit but we did it. You can celebrate your escape or commiserate your loss in the premium lounges at every branch featuring a fully stocked bar and a whole host of table top puzzles to keep you occupied. I loved the dark, old-fashioned decor used in this area which really added to the moody and mysterious ambience. If Blackbeard’s Treasure doesn’t take your fancy why not transport yourself into a world of gods and monsters in The Last Viking or attempt to outrun a gang of bandits in Escape the Wild West. Tickets cost £25 per person for groups of two to three or £20 per person for groups of four to six. We have already agreed to head back and try out The Last Viking at some point next year.