The Big Escape – Our Review
FIND OUT MORE HERE: https://thebigescape.com?aid=JOS
Last weekend we headed into Manchester City Centre to check out The Big Escape, a city-wide escape room style activity played on smart phones.
Our crack team of 5 (myself, husband and kids aged 12, 12 and 9) had little idea what to expect but we’ve done a couple of escape rooms before and were ready for the challenge!
We booked a date online, downloaded the App and off we set. Once we'd eventually settled on our team name (The Kingpins), we headed for Piccadilly Gardens and located the start point. The GPS on my phone picked up the first video message outlining our goal which was to take down Big Al and his casino and escape with the loot with the help of our ‘gang’ including a safe cracker, getaway driver, hacker and others. We were shown a map highlighting where our virtual crew were located and off we went to find them.
We then spent a good couple of hours searching for our crew, cracking codes, solving riddles and completing fun challenges. All of which earned us points. Essentially, the game works by GPS, so once you’re in the vicinity of the clue that you’re searching for on the map, the App springs to life and shows you a video message or picture clue letting you know what to do next. There’s also a video script which means you can read the messages if you prefer or if it is noisy (It was surprisingly quiet in town so hearing wasn’t a problem for us though). The clues are challenging and really made you use your brain, which we found exciting. It definitely helped that we’d done escape rooms before as you need to think in a cryptic way. The kids were brilliant, and I love the way their minds work totally differently to mine which meant as a team we pretty savvy. Many of the challenges also involved taking photos (for example hiding in a small space) or recording a video so I can see younger children getting a lot of enjoyment from it too.
The thrilling back story and associated characters also make it a lot of fun which I why I can see why the game is popular with adults and families alike.
What I really enjoyed was wondering around the city, we probably walked for about 3.5-4km in total and spent about 3 hours start to finish. This included a couple of stops for lunch and coffees. It’s all based within the city centre and we took in Piccadilly Gardens, Chinatown, St Peter’s Square, St Ann’s Square, King Street, Albert Square and a few other locations that I’ve not been to in years. We also came across a fab sandpit area outside the Great Northern Warehouse which the kids thought was great.
I also really liked the fact that it was self-managed so even though there is a time element linked to it, you can do the game at your own pace and it’s easy to social distance as there’s no need to come into contact with anybody else. Although you could play with other groups of teams if you chose and get a real challenge going which would be great for large groups or a team building work event.
The only downsides for me were that one of the clues was located behind some hoardings which meant the signal didn’t pick up, but we’ve let The Big Escape know about that. For one or two clues, the GPS was a little laggy too but with a little patience it caught up! I’d also suggest taking along a pen and paper which will help with some of the puzzles too.
To purchase the game is 48 Euros, which for a group of 5 for 3 hours I thought was really good value. It is recommended for teams of 2-6. Overall, it was a brilliant way to spend a morning, definitely a thumbs up from the Raring2go! crew!!
The games can be played in a number of locations across the UK and also at home. A live game is also planned in Manchester in October. Visit the website for more details.
We were given the opportunity to review this game for free, all opinions are my own.