Present, in August 2022, were: The Ant, Lioness, Parker, Jack-Jack
Probably the most family-friendly venue near us (possibly in the country) is Oakham’s One Way Out. With 70 minute games (and generosity with over-runs), an “easy” option for beginners, plenty of cuddly humour, sweet treat surprises and a welcoming atmosphere, it is a great place to introduce kids (and grandparents!) to the magic of Escape Rooms.
We’d really enjoyed Gas Alert – particularly good for secondary school-aged – and the seasonal pop-ups were great family holiday activities. Not a family trip for us this time round, although we did have Jack-Jack as a help/hindrance/amused bystander, but that wasn’t a bad thing, as Framed is the most “mature” offering at the venue. I used “mature” advisedly – there is still a heap of adorable silliness and players might be actively pranked – but obviously the theme of murder is a little less child-friendly and the content is more challenging than their other games.
This was my team-mates’ first visit here and they were genuinely wowed by the amount of puzzles packed into the space. I always think their games must be a nightmare to reset, as they unfold in exponential fashion from seemingly innocuous containers. The initial, fairly tight, darkish space opens up into a generous area to explore, including a comfy armchair for Jack-Jack, with a couple of extra surprises.
This is a challenge with a bit of a difference – you have to solve a mystery disappearance, eliminating suspects and establishing motive, rather than a traditional straight escape. We have played other Cluedo-esque games, not always successfully, but this one works well in following the concept all the way through to its slightly grisly conclusion.
There’s something in the puzzling for everyone, including some really nice code stuff to make me happy, and plenty of searching to keep less experienced puzzlers busy (yes, we sucked at that). One task we didn’t love, as we were all hopeless at the spacial awareness required, but fortunately GMs Tessa and Amelia were on call to talk us through it. It was a cool concept, just not for us!
We, as basically an experienced three, had plenty to keep us occupied for 60+ of our 70 minutes. We did lose a chunk of time on that one troublesome puzzle, but the surprises kept coming anyway – even if we had nailed that task first try we would have still be busy. Furthermore, if a team is particularly speedy, there is a sneaky extra sweet challenge to make sure they still get their money’s worth.
One Way Out is such a smart, inventive, friendly venue, where sometimes the most mundane objects are given a clever creative purpose. I’d suggest one of their other, gentler rooms as an excellent introduction for newbies and youngsters, but Framed is a great choice for sophomore teams wanting to stretch themselves a little more, while still in a reassuringly nurturing environment.
- Storyline: Little bit of Escape Room logic needed to justify the puzzles, but the narrative tracks all the way through.
- Theming and Set: Not ground-breaking surroundings, but very clever puzzle applications.
- Searching: Definitely a factor.
- Puzzles: The full range of observation, riddles, codes and physical puzzles. More language-based than some games.
- Physicality: Hands-on tasks, a bit of scrabbling around, but nothing strenuous.
- Scare factor: It isn’t scary, think non-gory Midsummer Murders, but some might find the general topic more adult than their preference.
- Company Age Guidance: “suitable for ages 12+ but younger children may be okay in a family group.”
- Age suitability: Jack-Jack (8) was perfectly content and was able to participate in patches of the game, but you definitely need the majority of the team to be 12+ and ideally adult-ish.