Situated just next to Albert Square and the City’s headquarters, Breakout Manchester is a live escape room game where your team is required to solve a number of clues and puzzles to get out. It’s probably the closest you will ever get to The Crystal Maze, although unfortunately there isn’t a wacky harmonica-wielding TV show host showing you round.
I took a few of Manchester’s favourite DJs to see if they had what it takes to save the city from obliteration as we got locked in the Sabotage Room.
Go deep behind enemy lines and stop a missile strike which is heading for Manchester. You need to break into the control centre and stop the launch or the consequence will be catastrophic, you have 60 minutes.
After a briefing from staff and quick strongly advised toilet trip, we entered our room to be greeted by some sort of Communist military hangout room. The first thing that gripped me was the music playing in the background which had me reminiscing of Golden Eye on the N64 and there was a TV on the wall showing a clock, which has already started counting down.
We started to get busy, frantically scrambling together a number of clues and combinations to give us access to a second room. It is by no means easy and it takes a certain amount of brainpower to figure out exactly what you need to do. We started to struggle and with the time ticking down it looked like we were going to fall at the first hurdle. All of a sudden the TV on the wall starts flashing with hints and tips which set us on the right track. It’s a welcome surprise as I got the feeling we would still be in there now if it wasn’t for the additional help.
After a good 30-35 minutes we finally got into the second room but there’s no time to celebrate, we aren’t even half way through…
After a good 30-35 minutes we finally got into the second room but there’s no time to celebrate, we aren’t even half way through. Some different styled brain teasers in this room mix things up a bit and keep us on our toes but it isn’t getting any easier. At one point it honestly felt that we were all just shouting numbers at each other, but after a bit of scavenging about and some exquisite detective skills from Jonny Dub, we get things together and gain access to a third and final room.
10 minutes to go, can we do it?
The third room is the control room for the missile which we need to disarm. Panic, frustration and lack of self-control is starting to kick in. There’s evidence of where previous contestant has tried to rip up the skirting board in an audacious attempt to get out.
5 minutes to go
Things are getting desperate. The music has now stopped and we don’t have a clue how to resolve all this. We spend the remaining few minutes guessing the code to disarm the missile until finally being put out of our misery as the countdown comes to an end.
So, we didn’t manage to save Manchester but we did all have a really good time attempting to. It’s not the sort of thing I’d usually be up for getting involved with but having experienced it I’d definitely recommend having a bash. Don’t be put off by how complicated it sounds either, the room we tried is apparently one of the hardest ones they have and only a handful of people have been successful. There are a number of other rooms to try each with a different scenario and difficulty, whether it’s a work team building exercise, a birthday party or you are just up for a laugh there’s something for everyone.
More details can be found at breakoutmanchester.com