Crack the Code Sheffield: Zoltan & Apartment 9

Following our game at Cryptology, we headed down the street to Crack the Code, which we last visited over a year ago. Since our last visit, they’ve had a bit of a makeover, replacing all of their games with three new ones, and moving to a better space on the next floor of the building. Back to back, we played Zoltan and Apartment 9.


“Zoltan the magician has been perfecting his new illusion, but not been seen for months. Can you unlock the mysteries of Zoltans inner sanctum and discover what has happened to the greatest illusionist of our time?”

Zoltan at Crack the Code Sheffield

The game starts in a light space, quite simply decorated with things such as posters of old magicians, and playing cards. The simple decoration continues throughout the game, although towards the end there was a centrepiece that looked great and played a part in a good puzzle.

The gameplay had a good flow, with us not really stopping from puzzle to puzzle, and everything was completely logical with no ambiguity. There were a few moments where you could feel things click, and although none of the puzzles will blow an experienced player away, I did really enjoy them.

Overall, it’s a game that enthusiasts will race through, but aside from it maybe being short on a few puzzles, it’s hard to fault. Not a bad game to add into the schedule of a Sheffield escape binge.

Host: We didn’t get our hosts name, but he ran the game well. Quick brief and well timed puzzles.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen in the room.
Success? Yes, we escaped in 39:13, taking the September record for a team of two. As you can see below, we were only beaten on time in that month by a group of six called “Saggy Tits”. Well, we tried…

Apartment 9

“Annabel Christie, the infamous Sheffield amateur sleuth, has been investigating recent mysterious disappearances. Your team of detectives have also been working on the case and she has invited you to her apartment to compare notes. Can you solve the mystery?”

Apartment 9 at Crack the Code Sheffield

Apartment 9 was a well decorated living space, with plenty to see on the walls, and on furniture. As you’d expect with a game set in an apartment, the theming isn’t meant to blow you away, but it’s done to a good level whilst leaving the focus very much on the gameplay.

The game itself offered all types of puzzles, several of which I really liked. Logic, observation, and searching are all called into play, with the puzzles well thought out, and completely logical and unambiguous.

As with Zoltan, experienced players should race through this, but despite being on the easy side, it’s still a fun game for people who like to get stuck into puzzles and work through a game with a good flow.

Host: We had the same host once again who did a good job, including handling a problem well. A lock got stuck on us, and in very little time, the clock had been paused and he was in to sort it out.
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a screen.
Success? Yes, again we ended up on the September leaderboard, getting out in 35:21, the fastest time of the month for any sized team (although it might just have been a bad month).


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  1. I really enjoyed Crack the Code’s previous rooms – although the theming was pretty basic and some puzzles didn’t quite fit the theme, they all worked well and were good fun. I was excited to hear they had new rooms, having got rid of the old ones, but it still took us a while to get round to playing them.

    We actually had difficulty getting in the actual building. We were aware of the new entrance but we rang the bell repeatedly with no answer. Rang the mobile number provided, which went to voicemail, so sent a message on FB and was told to try the new entrance! After 10 minutes or so a young lad sauntered up, ignored us pressing the Crack the Code buzzer, and let himself into the building. We wondered if this was our host so we waited a couple of minutes and tried again and hey presto, we got a response. We were left to find our own way up – it wasn’t signposted very well, and we met our host who didn’t really have much to say. We were quite unimpressed but he was quick enough to get us into our first room and we found his hosting skills to be very good.

    So, have Crack the Code improved since the move? I’d say they’re more of the same. The first room for Zoltan’s Mystery was very basically themed. Plain white walls with a few posters and some puzzle related pictures on the wall. There were a few interesting large props but on the whole, the room was quite underwhelming. However, the puzzles still all make sense and are fun to get on with, and this is the most important thing. As Jamie says, things improved later during the game and the final puzzle really was a joy to unravel with a great centrepiece.

    Apartment 9:

    This was a better themed room than Zoltan. Still nothing earth shattering, but it just an apartment, and one done well. Again, the puzzles in here were the highlight and there were more to get through than in Zoltan. A couple of puzzles had you rally concentrating, including the finale, which I really enjoyed. It’s a sound based puzzle and I know another team who had an issue with understanding the accent. We were OK with it but I can see how some from further afield may struggle. The build up to the final puzzle was also pretty clever! I really enjoyed this room. The puzzles are varied and logical. We did have the issue with the lock but it was sorted promptly and didn’t affect our game. Overall, more of the same from Crack the Code and we’ll be back to do their other room at some point soon!

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