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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that escape rooms are having a moment right now. Just like gin is the new vodka, escape rooms are the new zombie run and Reading is right there in the heart of the action with a selection of venues and escape room experiences to suit everyone.

Escape Room

IR and some awesome pals have been checking these escape rooms out, to help you decide which one(s) you should book, based on the unique things each has to offer. We’ve also been treated to a behind-the-scenes, VIP experience from Deadlocked, which has made us even more excited about escape rooms than we were before. More on that in a bit…

Firstly, here’s a round up of the big players in the market right now:

NameLocation
DeadlockedCastle Street, Town Centre
Escape ReadingQueens Walk, Town Centre & Audley Street, Oxford Road area
KnockoutHeadley Road East, Woodley
TimeTrapFriar Street, Town Centre

And here are where we think each of these excel:

Deadlocked

  • Best for a real challenge
    • There are NO PADLOCKS used in the Deadlocked escape rooms, which means that your game is structured by the order in which you find snippets of information. It’s up to you to work out how and when to use them.
    • Currently Deadlocked has two room options; The Phoenix Research and The Testing Chamber. (A third room is in development.)
      • The Phoenix Research in particular is multi-layered and your playing style will influence the structure of your game. There’s so much to this room that you’d have great fun as an amateur group, or you’d find a challenge and lots of complexity if other escape rooms have been a bit simple for you.
      • The Testing Chamber is exactly that…testing. When you know what you’re doing, it’s oh-so-simple, but there are some fantastic brain games in here.

Escape Reading

  • Best for the fantasy!
    • Across their two sites, these guys have a total of four escape rooms, with a fifth on the way.
    • Library and Bank Robbery are the original rooms from this team and are based on Audley Street, while you’ll find Kidnapped and The Vampire Slayers in town. (A fifth room is in development.)
      • According to the team behind the rooms: Kidnapped is their biggest room, Library is good for a mental challenge, Bank Robbery is more active and The Vampire Slayers is all about the atmosphere…depending how jumpy you are, you might find it a little scary.
      • We haven’t yet managed to book in as we’re dead keen on The Vampire Slayers and it gets BUSY! We’ll be able to provide our personal opinion on this on 9th April.

Knockout

  • Best for a combination of fantasy, tricky puzzles and great stories
    • Based in Woodley, you’ll find plenty of parking and avoid the town centre traffic battle if you want to try out either their Prison Break or Mad Scientist rooms. (A third room, 9-to-5 Assassin is currently in development.)
    • We played the Prison Break room here and what we found is that the Knockout team have produced a room that should appeal to a very wide audience.
      • The decoration and story is fantastic – it starts before you even get into the room.
      • The puzzles / things you need to do to escape are a great combination of simple things you need to notice and more challenging brain games you need to work out.
      • We thoroughly enjoyed this and believe it will work for beginners and pro’s alike.

TimeTrap

  • Best for history lovers…if you take your history with a twist!
    • What the team at TimeTrap do really well is immerse you in a story loosely based on something from the past.
    • The IR team played Imaginarium, which is based on Lewis Carroll / Alice in Wonderland and some of our friends played Rebellion, which draws upon Reading’s history and the story of Matilda the Empress for its theme.
    • They use many different puzzle types which should provide some challenge for those who are more experienced, while also being simple enough for younger players to enjoy.
    • There is a third room coming soon and there have been some clues on Twitter as to what the theme might be…look out for that arriving!

So as you can see, the escape room scene in Reading really is alive and kicking and there’s something for everyone depending on your preference.

We’d also really like to thank the lovely James of Deadlocked, who is a fabulous host and was kind enough to show us around the place and provide us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what happens. It’s hilarious! Try and imagine watching yourself repeatedly doing something totally stupid over and over again, when the answer is right in front of you…that’s what the owners of these escape rooms watch every time a group enters one of their rooms.

We even got to press some of the buttons to provide clues and had all the things we missed explained to us. It’s not possible to escape many rooms without working every single clue out but the Deadlocked rooms are so multi-layered that you really would be hard pressed to exhaust all of the possible clues.

If you’ve found other rooms too simple for you, Deadlocked might be the perfect solution for you!

Good luck with your various escape escapades, everyone!