Deadlock Escape Rooms, Northampton – Houdini’s Workshop

Two escape rooms in one weekend makes for a great weekend. Saturday we headed up to Northampton to meet some friends and couldn’t pass up the chance to introduce one of them to escape rooms and give a new game a try. The venue is in the town centre but just down a side street so keep your eyes peeled when looking for it.

The presentation of the venue and game is a little rough around the edges, but the rooms are self-designed and it’s a small independent so has some charm. The host was very enthusiastic and friendly. There was a case we could safely look our coats and bags in while we were playing. The host gave us the quick safety brief and took us through to the door.

He set the scene, we are at Houdini’s workshop, we are apprentices of a sort who need to escape from his tricks, free him and escape.

This game starts with players restrained a bit. I was taken through and locked in a dark box (they made sure there was access to the code for my team in an emergency) two of the other three were handcuffed together by their wrist and the third had his legs handcuffed together, so they were still able to move about and do things, it just took a bit more time and co-operation.

Now being looked on a dark box there is only so much so I can say about the first half of the game. The box had a couple of bits and pieces to do. I found it a bit strange hearing the others go about trying to work things out when I couldn’t see what they were doing. There was also an air mattress for comfort (box is one you lie down in.)

Clues are given when you need a nudge onto the write track, they are projected upside down in the ceiling, just to make it not as easy.

About 20 minutes in the team cracked the code to my padlock and I was free! At that point we cracked on. There were a few new puzzles we hadn’t come across before and a reasonable variety of puzzles in the game. We gained access to an area much earlier than we should have cause one of the team was a bit inventive, the second area wasn’t a second room, but just the other side of a not full height partition. The room was enjoyable and we definitely had a couple of cases of not making sure codes were lined up correctly on padlocks (always double check if you think you are right!) We cracked the last code which lead us to the key to unlock the door (again there was a spare key in case of emergencies)

We escaped in 45:30 ish ( he mentioned it once and none of us had anything to write it down exactly). Before we went in the host said they had a 45% success rate with the average escape time of the successes at 55 minutes and a room record of about 32 minutes.

We hadn’t done escape games with these friends before and for one of them it was their first game. I personally have mixed feelings about being locked in a black box with limited things to do for half of the game. This room will not be for everyone!!

Overall I’d give it a 3.5/5

Difficulty 3/5

Variety 4/5

Atmosphere 3/5

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