Looking for something different to do in Cardiff? Bored of loud night clubs and evenings in front of the TV? Perhaps you are someone who is looking for something exciting to do that does not involve a hangover the next day. Maybe you have the duty of organising a hen or stag party with a difference?
Over the past few months I have been on a secret Welsh Mummy Blogs mission. I have had the privilege to experience and review all of the 60 minute real life escape games in Cardiff.
If you have not heard of these escape games yet then you are living in the dark ages. There are five similar venues in Cardiff all run by different companies all have one thing in common – You need to escape a themed room before the 60 minute timer is up!
Think Crystal maze and you are on the right track!
All real life escape games are played in a decorated themed room, each room has their own story.
Some games are based on well known movies or books whilst others are just pure genius imagination. Some of the games are mathematical and some are based on common knowledge. One thing I will say is that it is not recommend to drink alcohol before a game as you will need your thinking cap on. All games have a difficulty rating from 1-5, 1 being the easiest and 5 being the hardest. A little advice – dont think you can master a level 5 on your first visit.
All rooms are suitable for families (with parental advisory for some rooms) friends, corporate entertainment and networking events. One thing I would advise is people who are of a nervous disposition please ask about the room beforehand as some rooms are scary and realistic. Rest assured ALL rooms have an exit button in case of emergency.
All venues recommend teams to arrive at least 15 minutes before the game starts for your introduction and briefing. Team numbers can range from 1 – 10 depending on which venue you attend and which game you are playing. At Adventure Rooms there is even a chance to take part in a duel format escape room for 7 – 12 players.
All games at all venues can be booked online or over the phone.
Please note – I dont want to give to much away about the rooms as this will take away the suspense of the escape rooms. Photography is not permitted in the themed rooms so sorry guys, I have no pictures of the rooms themselves.
Here are my reviews of each venue.
Location – 2nd and 3rd Floor, 6-7 St. John Street, Cardiff, CF10 1GJ
2 Players – £20
3 Players – £19
4 Players – £18
5 Players – £17
6 Players – £16
*Quoted per player
Monday to Thursday
12:00 to 22.30
Friday to Sunday
12.00 to 22.30
Games are suitable for 2 – 6 players
Rooms available – The Heist, Misery, Fibonacci, Alcatraz, Enigmista and Jungala
Room – Jungala (Difficulty level 3)
The story –
You have discovered an old board game in your attic and once opened you are engulfed by a vortex and transported into an alternative realm. After only seeing a glimpse of the terrible world inside you are thrown back into reality. Vowing never to approach the game again you attempt to leave but the door has been locked trapping you in. Glancing over to the game you see the words “The dice have been rolled.” You have no choice but to complete the game or be trapped inside the other realm for eternity. You only have sixty minutes to complete the game!
I attended this game with some friends who all had suffered with poor mental health after giving birth. We made our way up the stairs to the reception and were greeted by a friendly young man. The man was to be our game host for the evening, he showed us to our game room door and began reading the game story. As soon as the game host read the story about the room my tummy started to feel a little nervous, I had never been to a life game before so I didn’t know what to expect.
He briefed us on everything, gave us safety information and he showed us where the emergency button was located. The host informed us that the game is being constantly monitored so if we were to need any assistance we could just wave or shine our torches at the camera.
The host gave us an iPad which we can use to get a clue if we become stuck. The host showed us how to scan the QR bar-codes which are located in the room and then he warned us that every time we scanned a bar code to receive a clue we would lose a minute off our time. .
Our room was clearly based on the Movie Jumanji . We started the game in what looked like an old attic room which had books on shelves, jungle themed pictures on the wall and on the table laid the board game. After solving some puzzles we entered another room, this room was decorated like a jungle, the room was very warm which only added to the jungle ambience. The music and sound effects were great they kept up the suspense and was fitting to the room. The game was pretty straight forward and easy to follow. This game requires team work, majority of the puzzles have to be done as part of a team. The puzzles were creative but not overly hard to tackle. I think this game is perfect for a first time player – I also think this would be a good family game for those with teenagers.
We did have a slight technical glitch at the end of the game where our iPad stopped working – we could not scan the bar codes for clues. We were told this usually does not happen and offered us another game some other night.
Did we escape?? Yes
Room – Alcatraz (Difficulty level 5)
The Story –
In 1934, Alcatraz transformed into a maximum high-security prison housing the most infamous and dangerous criminals. Situated in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay, no prisoner has ever successfully escaped. Alcatraz has just reached its maximum capacity for the first time in history – because of you.
You are all masters of escaping and no prison has managed to contain you. As highly skilled individuals you have been plotting your escape plan and now the time has arrived. A diversion has been caused by other inmates and the warden has sprinted off to help, leaving you in your cells unguarded. This is your prime opportunity to make your escape attempt. Can you escape before he returns and catches you?
I attended Escape Reality again this time with my husband and our two friends. We decided an adults night out was well over due so got a babysitter and headed to Escape Reality.
We entered the building, we were met by a friendly man who was to be our game host for the evening. He briefed us on how to use the iPad and then read us the story of the room.
We were taken to a room with two prison cells. We got into teams of two. Both teams were locked in a cell – our first mission was to help each other out of the locked cells. I looked around the cell, the decoration was scary…I actually thought I was in a prison cell!
The game was interesting and well thought out. I will tell the truth this game was hard! I would not have been able to get to the end of this game if it was not for my team.
Did we escape?? No
Escape Reality was the only escape venue that had a bar so we could have a drink and talk about our game afterwards.
Location – 119 St. Mary Street, Cardiff, CF10 1DY
6 players £16 PP
5 players £17/ PP
4 players £18/ PP
3 players £20/ PP
2 players £25/ PP
9.30 – 22.30 (Mon- Sun)
Rooms available – The Heist, The Tomb, Finding Sherlock
Room – The Heist (Difficulty level 5)
The story –
You’ve broken into a museum to steal their prize possession. During the break in, you get trapped and are divided. You will have to work together, to solve the clues from the gallery and through the laser trap and make off with the goods! It’s tricky! You’ve got 60 minutes before the police turn up!
We attended this game with our two friends who had taken part in Alcatraz with us. We had a lovely welcome from our game host who then showed us to the waiting room where we waited anxiously to be briefed on the room. The waiting lounge was decorated well, there was plenty of games and things to keep us entertained while we waited. The best part about about the waiting room was the free sweets!! I took a handful to put in my pocket to eat whilst I played the game.
We entered the room, we were split into two teams of two – team one was locked in a security office and team two was in the museum. We had to work together to break team one out of the security office and then work together to break into the vault to steal a diamond.
This game was fun, I really enjoyed the thinking outside of the box aspect of the game. I at one point felt like Catherine Zeta Jones in Entrapment just not as hot!! With team work we managed to get to the diamond and break free with only a few seconds left.
Did we escape?? Yes!!
After the game had finished we went back to the waiting lounge where we got to experience the Money Machine game! We all got inside the glass case and put on our safety googles. The machine started, wind whizzed up the golden tickets and we had to try catch as many as we could.
We got out of the machine and weighed our tickets…I collected the most…woo hoo!!
Location – Unit 9a, The Brewery Quarter, Caroline Street, Cardiff, CF10 1FG.
£17.00 PP for two players
£14.00 PP for three players
£13.00 PP for four players
£12.00 PP for five players
7 days a week – 10.00 – 22.00.
Rooms available – Classified 1, Classified 2, Sabotage, Cursed Carnival, Disturbed.
Room – Cursed Carnival (difficulty level 3)
The story –
You and your friends have won a prize at the local carnival, but it’s a prize with a difference. Since you’ve taken it home, you have been tormented by strange dreams and a haunting voice that tells you that you must return your prize within 7 days. You return to the carnival on the 7th day and enter the old repair shed where you must solve the mystery with only an hour left before the clock strikes midnight. Can you break the curse in 60 minutes or will your nightmares come true…
I attended the cursed carnival with my husband and two friends. The description of the room intrigued me. The venue is based at The Brewery Quarter just off Caroline Street in Cardiff. The Brewery Quarter is filled with bars and restaurants so can be busy in the evenings. It was busy the evening we attended so we had to make our way through noisy crowds of people which was a little off putting. Once inside the venue, I was surprised that we could not hear any of the noise that was outside.
We were welcomed by a lovely member of staff who made us feel comfortable and very welcome. The game host briefed us and told us the story of the room we were to play. The game host handed me a scary looking doll – our mission was to return the cursed doll to the carnival.
We entered the room..it was quite dark and carnival style music was playing. The room was colourfully decorated like a carnival with scary looking clowns and other strange things. I really liked the decoration, it was in keeping with the story. We made our way though the fun games and finally returned the doll to its resting place and got out in just the nick of time.
I must admit this was my favourite real life game to play. The theme was good, the doll was scary and the game instructions were easy to follow. The Cursed Carnival brought fun along with suspense.
Did we escape?? Yes!!
Location – 5a Longcross Court, 47 Newport Road, Cardiff. CF24 0AD
2 players – £25 each
3 players – £20 each – Including – 3 V 4 Duel
4 players – £18 each – Including – 4 V 4 Duel
5 players – £16 each – Including – 5 V 5 Duel – 5 V 6 Duel
6 players – £15 each – Including – 6 V 6 Duel
Games start at the following times. 10am, 12pm, 2pm, 4pm, 6pm & 8pm.
NOTE: A booking is required to play Adventure Rooms.
Rooms available – Black Queen and The Mad Scientist.
Room – The Mad Scientist (difficultly level 3)
The story –
This is the “Original Swiss” Adventure Rooms game that has been enjoyed in over 30 venues around the globe.
You wake up in a mysterious room. You don’t know how you got there, all you know is you have to find a way to escape, you have 60 minutes to get out and the countdown has begun!
A lot of obstacles lie between you and your freedom. You’ll have to work together to solve puzzles decrypt clues find hidden items and ultimately find you way out.
You can play the game as a standard format escape room: 2 – 6 Players or Duel format escape room: 7 – 12 players
Myself, hubby and four friends decided to play the standard game. We were greeted by our game host who briefed us, told us the story of the room and then handcuffed us all to a gate. When alone we had to first work out how to free ourselves from the handcuffs. Once free we had a race against time to make our way through the locked rooms using logical thinking.
I liked this game as it involved lots of puzzles and team work. We almost escaped but was let down by our nerves to make it out on time. We missed a very apparent clue to freedom.
Did we escape?? No
Location – 8 Trade St, Cardiff CF10 5DT
The price is £25 per person however discounts are available for groups of 9 or more.
Opening times –
11:00 to 22:00 Monday to Friday
09:00 to 23:00 Weekends
*please phone to check
Rooms available – Ice breaker, Fall In, Bamboozled (New), Pirates.
Room – Ice breaker (difficulty level 4)
The story –
You have been lucky enough to secure a ticket for the first (and possibly last) voyage upon the Titanic! You are staying next door to a rather well known couple Jack and Rose. Your objective is to beat Jack and Rose to the top deck. Do you think you have what it takes?
Since watching Titanic on the big screen in 1997 I have been interested in the history and the story of the Titanic. The movie was a big hit with teenage Welsh Mummy!
Myself, hubby and our two friends took on the room. As you would expect with a game called ice breaker It was quite cold in the room. The lovely staff members gave us some tokens to get a cup of coffee. The first room we entered was a corridor that was decorated with fancy picture frames, we had to use clues hidden in the pictures to get to the next room. When we got into the next room it was a bedroom and we were welcomed by a large cosy bed and grand piano. The background music was orchestral and fitting to the movie Titanic.
The game itself was fun and one of the more easier games to escape, however this could be down to us having lots of experience with escape games by the time we tried our last game.. I would recommend this game if you are a beginner or Titanic enthusiast.
We escaped this room with 15 minutes to spare!
Did we escape?? Yes
So as you can see we became quite good at the escape games by the time we reached our last venue. Every venue is different and unique in there own way, but one thing they all have in common is that they are great for team building and fun!
I feel whichever room or venue you decide to try you will not be disappointed. Escape games are a bit like pringles – once you pop you cant stop. Escape games are addictive!