Sheffield is becoming a pretty big city for escape games, with almost as many centres as Manchester! We’ve previously made trips to Sheffield to play at Great Escape (back before we had a blog), and more recently to Enigma and Crack the Code. On top of that, Clue HQ look set to open a branch in Sheffield, alongside another new name – Lockup Escape Rooms!
Our trip this time was to Escape Sheffield, a franchise with a few venues including Peterborough and Glasgow. We’ve not played any games at any of their locations before, but we were enticed by a great value Black Friday deal in December, booking to play yesterday.
We took on two games at Escape Sheffield… Espionage & Witchcraft and Wizardry…
“It’s a conspiracy!
The hood comes off and you find yourself in a journalists office with no exit, who put you here and why?
Unravel the secrets of the room and escape.
This mission is for a maximum of 3 operatives.”
The maximum of three players rule is a good move, as the space you’re in for a majority of the game is quite small. Despite the small space, there’s plenty added into the room. The slightly cramped office has plenty of things to search through, and lots of information on the walls. You’re blindfolded on the way into this game, and for once, this actually gives a decent pay off – a decent surprise/twist halfway through the game, that really plays on the “office with no exit” part of the brief.
In terms of gameplay, there were some good puzzles in here, and maybe a couple that had a touch of ambiguity about them. The game flowed well in parts, but there were a few sections where it felt like we’d come to a complete stop. This was a mix of us having some stupid moments (we definitely weren’t at our best), and trying to understand what we needed to do on the less logical puzzles. There was also a padlock that hadn’t been reset near the start of the game, leading to us getting something earlier than we should. This seemed to go unnoticed by the gamehost, and it didn’t appear to have made that big a difference to the gameplay. There were, however, a couple of things we’ve never seen before, which is always a nice plus point.
Overall, a game that’s not perfect but does have some good puzzles and few fun moments. Newbies, definitely take the maximum three players with you. Experienced players should be fine as a two. If you’re planning an escape binge in Sheffield, this room is worth considering to add to your roster.
Host: Our game was hosted by manager Ashleigh – she was very friendly, and unusually for an escape chain employee, was a bit of an enthusiast. We had a good chat afterwards about all things escape.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen.
Success? Yes, we got out with a time of 47:49
Witchcraft and Wizardry
“Welcome to the school of witchcraft and wizardry where there has been some funny goings on. In a room full of tricks, puzzles, challenges and spells, you must solve them all to escape. However in order to escape with distinction you must retrieve as many pieces of uniform as you can.
Available for 2-10 players, split into two teams to play head to head in our identical rooms.”
The story doesn’t quite match the game – there was definitely no uniform collection based challenge! The rest of it is fairly accurate though – tricks, puzzles, challenges and spells, all based in a great looking room that wouldn’t look amiss in Hogwarts. The set was really nicely decorated with a good array of interesting looking props – overall, a good looking, magical room!
The gameplay was better than that of Espionage, with more variety, and more logical puzzles with less ambiguity. There was again some things we hadn’t seen or done before in rooms, with the end section of the game being a particular highlight. There was also a fantastic prop used as an alternative to a torch – something really unique that definitely added to the magic.
The only big negative about this game was less about the room – simply, the clues didn’t really come when they were needed. We felt like we’d spent a lot of time stuck on particular things, and doing nothing, and even when we finally asked for a clue, still had to wait a minute or two until one came through.
Aside from that, we did enjoy the majority of the game, and it’s probably one to make sure you do if you’re visiting Sheffield. Fun puzzles, interesting props and a magical setting – a nice game overall. Enthusiasts will escape as a team of two with no problems, newbies take three or four.
Host: Our hosts were Ashleigh and Kieran – both friendly and we had a good chat about escape gaming afterwards.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via screen
Success? Yes, we got out in 46:14