Draculas chambers review clever dilemma kent faversham

When planning our most recent escape route around Kent we stumbled upon Clever Dilemma, a reasonably new independent escape room company who have opened on the High Street in the quaint town of Faversham. 

Upon entering the venue we were warmly greeted by Taz and Nic, half of the team behind Clever Dilemma. We were also welcomed by Connor the pug - Clever Dilemma’s rather charming, four-legged CEO. Connor quickly undertook the rather important task of assessing us by demanding cuddles from each of our team members …to which we were more than happily to oblige! 

The waiting area of Clever Dilemma was well decorated and of a large size; both spacious enough to accommodate multiple teams awaiting their turn to escape, as well as being generous enough to comfortably host the local corporate market looking for a fun alternative to employee away days.  

After a relaxed chat with Taz and Nic about their business and future plans including the now opened Murder at the Wild Wild Quest Saloon game, we were ready for our next escape – Dracula’s Chambers:

Your visit to Transylvania has gone horribly wrong.  Your beloved has fallen ill to a strange unknown disease and Drs from around the world are baffled by the symptoms and have failed to find a cure.
You have heard rumours Professor Van Helsing has been asking questions and seek him out to ask why.

He has seen this before, they have been bitten by a vampire and it’s only a matter of hours before your beloved is lost forever.
As their condition worsens, there is no choice, you must travel throughout the night to Bran Castle, find the cure and escape before sunrise, or face an uncertain end at the hands of the Castles Master… Count Dracula!
After being led up to the rooms entrance we were given the background story to our escape and we entered the space.

We sometimes enter independent escape room companies a little dubious as to what we’ll find in relation to the quality of décor or props, but thankfully any doubt was immediately alleviated once we crossed the threshold of Dracula’s Chambers. The setting had been lovingly made and executed to a high standard, most notably decorated from floor to ceiling which can often be a rarity in escape rooms. Generic Armstrong ceiling tiles can be a real immersion breaker but no such dull/commercial fixings were visible here! Evidently a lot of thought had gone in to this escape games' room setting.   

The game started off relatively easy from a puzzle point of view and if we’re honest, we prematurely concluded that we were likely to fly through this game but quickly found out that our confidence was somewhat misplaced, as once the game opened up there was far more at stake than initially assumed!

Draculas chambers clever dilemma kent reviews

We soon found ourselves splitting off to investigate the busy chambers many nooks and crannies and came back together as a team to share our various finds. The puzzle flow was quite linear throughout, but unusually for us who generally prefer a less liner space, we felt this was never to the games detriment. 

The game was cleverly structured, with some excellently fiendish search elements that constantly drip-fed parts for later puzzles - small tokens that could be forgotten or even entirely overlooked, allowing team members to exercise their grey matter in readiness for their possible, potential use. A rewarding aspect which maintained our sense of achievement throughout and a consideration that's often omitted from the laborious search puzzles we’ve occasionally been presented with in the past.

In terms of puzzle variety, this is certainly a game for teams that enjoy logic puzzles in abundance, and although a little more variety in style would have been welcomed, we can’t say that it was particularly detrimental to the game as the quality of puzzles on offer was high with a good amount of originality. The difficulty of the puzzles escalated at a fair rate too and nothing ever felt illogical or out of place. 

The game also didn’t rely on too much fancy tech, which we feel was a wise choice given the games setting but still contained strong standout moments for all of the team to enjoy - right the way through to its fun finale. 

Our games master was faultless, delivering prompt clues through a well-placed screen that didn’t break the games immersion at all. Obtaining clues here was also achieved using a novel, theme-relevant prop - the use of which was incorporated in the room well. 

Dracula’s Chambers was curated all in-house and executed to an impressively high standard; both in its puzzle originality and meticulous set dressing. Whilst also proving that there is still very much a place for a largely, non-technological escape game that never once felt prototypical.

Clever Dilemma are an independent company that have entered the industry in a county that is already home to an excellent selection of established escape room venues - and given our sterling experience here we highly recommend adding a visit to the venue on your next escape jaunt across Kent. 

Dracula’s Chambers is Clever Dilemma's first escape room attempt and they’ve most certainly gone for the jugular.


Dracula's Chambers - Clever Dilemma. Faversham, Kent
Rating: 4



Loot The Lanes Pier Pressure Review

We revisited Pier Pressure in Brighton to play their latest escape game Loot The Lanes. Having previously played all their other excellent rooms we were confident that despite it's slightly higher price point we would be guaranteed another great sixty minutes of fun at this stand-out escape room venue.

We arrived at Pier Pressure's main location to await the arrival of ‘Monty' our GM, who boldly escorted us in full character the few yards to the off-site location for our Loot The Lanes escape. Bizarrely, the Brighton locals seemed entirely unfazed by a bowler hatted chap, complete with dazzling purple suit and cane marching confidently down the street with his booming, aristocratic voice! We’d not even accessed the space for our game yet and already we were suitably impressed by the memorable efforts of our outstanding GM.

Characterisation is something Pier Pressure most certainly excels at!

Once across the threshold, Monty whilst notably including our team name multiple times effortlessly in his transcript, retold the rooms backstory with further gusto: 

“Few people know about the Brighthelm Diamond, a jewel of epic value. It was purchased by four of Brighton’s most influential developers and has been hidden, for if ever the city was in dire need. But now, Brighton is in danger of losing it, as its whereabouts have been revealed to the worst kind of people. It is only a matter of time before it is stolen and auctioned off. We must break into the jeweller where it is hidden and save the treasure for the sake of the City.”

The impressively high standard of the Ye Olde Worlde replica of 'Brighton Lanes' was phenomenal. Featuring realistic shop fronts and window displays that wouldn’t look out of place in Brighton’s unique, real-life North Laine. The attention to detail in the build quality was outstanding; with its gold leaf shop-front lettering, realistic brick work and cobbled street. The eclectic array of shops that included a cafe, antiques emporium and record store also allowed for a diverse range of fun puzzles for our team to undertake, making it a pleasingly tactile space with plenty of charmingly themed artefacts to investigate.

pier pressure brighton reviews

Whilst we felt the puzzle difficulty wasn’t set too high, there was more than plenty to keep stock of in its sixty minutes - particularly for our minimum team size of four (of note, the room can accommodate team sizes of up to nine, but we would recommend 4-6 for comfortable and maximum enjoyment!). Every single puzzle remained relevant to the theme and pleasingly covered all bases of puzzle styles that we hope to find in any escape room. 

Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed every task we undertook here - offering many stand out wow-moments, aided by the rooms subtle signposting and flawless flow right the way through to its finale - one particular team-based, spatial puzzle really stood out to us with it faultless, clever execution and rewarding resolve. Something we definitely hadn’t experienced in other escape rooms before and were enthralled by its rather smart inclusion! 

The traditional, whimsical setting could lead you to believe that this would be a lock/code heavy game, but Pier Pressure have done an impressive job of incorporating plenty of hidden tech that never once appears out of place. In fact, Loot The Lanes was the perfect marriage of both technological elements alongside the equally rewarding lock and code resolves of old.

Another aspect worthy of a mention was the clever auditory additions with one communication aspect that is generally only afforded to a single player on the team. It was presented in such a way that the whole team became privy to its action during its use. This unique touch was a pleasant novelty away from the generic escape room experiences we’ve had from this particular prop in the past.  

Overall, Loot The Lanes' full-priced, realistic, retail escape game most certainly won't leave you feeling short changed. With its generous wholesale batch of clever, unique puzzles, astounding set and interior designs all touted together by an exceptionally attentive GM means that for us, its on-par with Tulley’s Nethercott Manor as one of the best escape room experiences we’ve played in the country to date. 

Supplying us happy customers with one hell of a heroic, heist experience. 


Loot The Lanes - Pier Pressure, Brighton
Rating: 5



Directors Cut Escape Room Review

After a spot of location scouting for our next adventure, we booked to visit Get Lost Escape Rooms in Dover to play their newest game Director's Cut. The website gave little away in terms of its plot:

“Who is the Director? What will you find inside the cinema?” 

But having played Get Lost's other solid escape games we were intrigued enough to return for a sequel… 

Situated a short stroll from the main Get Lost venue, the Stembrook Lane site is housed within an ex-cooperative building now home to small local businesses selling their wares within an indoor market. If we’re honest our initial perception of the space did humble our expectations of finding a decent escape room build here - but we couldn’t have been anymore wrong!

Partitioned towards the back of the venue, Get Lost’s second location offered a good sized and perfectly themed waiting area with locker space and on-site toilets a few metres away. After a pleasant chat with the lovely owners Kym and Ross we were escorted into the room for our call time to begin our great escape. 

The wonderfully themed decor effortlessly transported our team into the lobby of an art deco’d era cinema, immediately dispelling our earlier judgement of the unassuming venues exterior. 

The entirely unexpected scale of the impressive set, along with the attention to detail of its realistic props and unique graphic designs scripted together in their respective supporting roles to aid in its overall theatrical immersion - and whilst we still thoroughly enjoyed Get Lost’s other great rooms, this was an evidential step-up in set realism from those predecessors. 

Get Lost Dover Escape Rooms Reviews

The tasks in Director’s Cut were immense fun to complete. Covering the full spectrum of puzzle bases they offered many opportunities for our team to spread out across the expansive space to undertake a variety of tasks simultaneously, whilst skilfully bringing us together again during moments that required a greater team effort. 

The sub-mission here also did well to aid our awareness of our progression throughout the room. Clues (or nudges) were delivered in an attentive and timely manner by Kym, who GM'd our game perfectly.

Whilst we didn't find anything particularly challenging, the enjoyment factor alongside the cinema theming and unique setting far outweighed any discredit due to leniency in puzzle difficulty. As a result, we reckon even hardened enthusiasts will still attend this screening entirely satisfied with the show that's on display. 

If we’re being unduly critical we felt the final puzzles dipped a little in comparison to the main bulk of the game but admit we attended a few weeks after opening where edits are likely before its probable final cut. 

There was also some clever tech elements implemented and we were mightily impressed by the clever transitions within the space, offering some unique escape room experiences as you progress throughout the game. We also appreciated the subtle comedic jibes directed towards reviewers in this room …something we haven't taken too personally! :) 

Although enthusiasts may action through Director's Cuts' tasks with relative ease, they'll remain joyfully rewarded by its immersive, blockbuster production values. For casual players and newbies this room is a definite box-office smash; offering the perfect storyboard for a 5 star escape with its multiplex of fun puzzles, unique theming and impressive set design.

Ensuring that ticket holders for this particular escape room premiere are in for a reel good time. 


Director's Cut - Get Lost Escape Rooms. Dover Kent
Rating: 4


Trapp'd Escape room review

Since playing Trapp'd’s highly enjoyable games at their Peterborough venue, we decided to make a trip to their Northampton branch with high hopes of the two games they had on offer. 

Trapp’d seem to have a knack at opening venues in quite unusual but very accommodating locations for escape rooms. This was no exception, being situated in what appeared to be an old workshop/factory building located in the middle of a terraced housing estate. 

Our second game of the day was Molten Creek Mine. 

The support beams in the mine that you and your team have been working on have given way and the mine is beginning to collapse! The walls are crumbling, the ceiling is caving in, the entrance is now blocked and every second you spend in there means less and less oxygen.
The rescue team is trying their best to race against the clock in order to save you all, but the chances are looking bleak. The creeping realisation of the life or death situation is beginning to dawn on your fellow miners and panic resonates. You are left with one option, find another way out… or die in this soon-to-be catacomb! 

Unfortunately, there was no introduction to the game by our GM, it was merely the case of providing us with (much needed!) shoe protectors, hard hats, asking if we were ready, and finally being informed that a critical tool provided in the room for searching was as good as useless! 

Once inside, we immediately appreciated the work that had gone in to creating the environment, with the décor and dim lighting being perfectly on point with the games mining theme. It even had an impressive mine cart on rails centre piece, although this was sadly not incorporated in to the game play.  The space itself was large (easily accommodating of the maximum team size of six) with a satisfactory amount of props to investigate, and being a mine, was very, very dirty. So much so that we would highly recommend only wearing clothing and footwear that you don’t mind potentially getting ruined!

Trapp'd Nottingham Escape room review

In terms of game structure and puzzles this was a fairly linear, padlock heavy game that involved the most amount of searching that we have ever encountered in any escape room, with some search aspects we felt certainly crossed the line of unfair. To put it in to context, the searching made up at least 80% of the game, the remaining 20% of ‘puzzles’ can only be described in the loosest sense of the term as they were some of the most simple and uninspired in terms of design that we have experienced. We found one puzzle in particular to be completely out of context to the room and another which gave no direction at all to what the solution could be. We’d even go as far as saying that should the search elements be removed from the game, then the remaining puzzle-solving itself would result in a lot of teams escaping in around the ten minute mark.

One of locks that we encountered was so worn out that almost all of the numbers could not be read on four of its five dials, resulting in us wasting significant time trying to open it long after we had the combination. For something that is so cheap to replace this really is unacceptable! In addition to this there was a large amount of ‘objects’ that were accessible to players in the game area but didn’t appear to part of the game, turns out they weren’t and thankfully we asked before starting to rifle through them, but in reality they should have never been in the room in the first place. 

Clues were delivered simply by us calling out to the GM, who would then reply over the speakers in the room but this in itself was troublesome as there was no speakers in the latter areas of the game, meaning to hear a response we had to return to the first room and ask the GM to repeat the clue. There was also no sense of remaining time and while we appreciate that a screen would have taken away from the theme we do feel that a more novel themed appropriate approach could have been sought to provide teams with how much time they have left.

The rooms description also stated that the mine was collapsing, however this was non existent once inside and although we understand this would be very difficult to execute as a real time visual a simple auditory accompaniment of creaking and collapsing noises that escalated as the game went on would have really helped with the atmosphere and sense of urgency that the back story alluded to.  

With all of the missed opportunities in this room the finale was unsurprisingly lacklustre. In fact we can only recall a couple of times when we have escaped a room with the whole team being so underwhelmed by the overall experience, especially when it took place in such a good setting.

With that, unless you love excessive searching and getting dirty, we simply couldn’t recommend this room to enthusiasts or casual players as quite frankly aside from the quality décor it’s wasn't the gold mine we were hoping for - rather sadly it was just the pits.


Molten Creek Mine - Trapp'd Northampton
Rating: 1



Detention Escape room review margate

For our next adventure we enrolled back-to-school. This time for Ctrl Alt Esc’s classroom based escape game Detention. 

We were met by Cat our GM who had abandoned her earlier friendly tone and transformed into a rather intimidating schoolmarm. With us all subconsciously sat upright, she chastised us with the comedic reasoning behind our impending post-lesson custody. We really value escape rooms where the GM's adopt characterisation of the theme and Cat’s portrayal as our strict headmistress at Ctrl Alt Esc was top of the class. 

...But of course we’re far too cool for school to have to stay behind in detention! And with the teacher now safely out of the room, our task for the next 90 minutes was to try and break for freedom.

Transported back to a year 5 or 6 elementary class, the space we had suddenly found ourselves in featured all the tropes we had hoped to discover - along with a few surprises too! There was an overwhelming amount of theme-relevant props to investigate, replicating the mild chaos of a colourful classroom in the most favourable way. This allowed us to lawlessly separate where we could inspect the space individually, and then share our finds across the childish pandemonium that we had soon created. 

The realistic decor and furnishings were skilfully adapted for an escape room, with nostalgic nods for those of us of a certain age that will remember the cumbersome TV/VHS combo as one of the many memorable throwbacks from our school heyday. There was also some well-conceived tech additions that were subtle but effective, alongside some clever mechanics that on occasion were entirely unexpected. 

Detention escape room review ctrl alt esc margate

The puzzles here were an A+ with an eclectic mix of logic, search, observational and fun physical challenges, executed in well thought out concertina game structure that naturally brought the team together at points to work on the trickier puzzles. In addition to this and despite the amount of tangible props to peruse, there was not a red herring in sight. One of the larger physical props - whilst admittedly impressive in its design and function - did appear to be slightly misplaced amongst the rest of this rooms challenges which all remained rigorously relevant to its school theme.

Ex-pupils of the 80’s and 90’s will most certainly get the most out of this room, with its nostalgic nods and pop culture references that will enhance those players' enjoyment. In contrast, whilst this knowledge does compliment the experience, it is non-essential for puzzling success during the game. 

The auditory additions and unique clue systems was another plus, with their novel deliveries piquing amusement from our enthralled team any time they were presented. You’ll have a hard time not grinning your way through this fun escape room - particularly if you make it to its joyous finale.

In conclusion our end of term report states that being kept behind after class here was a top-marks experience for us. Ctrl Alt Esc have obviously done their homework with Detention’s studious setting, evocative theming, plentiful puzzles and witty audio all held together by the discipline of our talented Games Master/Head Teacher. 

So it goes without saying that we highly recommend getting up to no good in the playground of Ctrl Alt Esc next time you’re down in Margate might just experience the best Detention session of your life!


Detention - Ctrl Alt Esc Margate, Kent
Rating: 5



Terminal Escape Room Review Chatham Escape Plan Live

Escape Plan Live’s Terminal is a 90 minute game set inside a real, disused bus depot within The Pentagon Shopping centre in Chatham. Its website boasts of its huge space, alongside the promise of live actor interactions with a caution to players of a nervous disposition to try and not chicken out! 

With us all aboard and suitably intrigued, we signed up for our one-way ticket.

We discovered this venue on the top floor of the shopping centre and found ourselves still waiting to get in well after our booked time slot for arrival. Unable to get any response from our rat-a-tat-tats on the door, we were uncertain if this was an intentional ploy to amp our anxiety or whether our booking had been seemingly forgotten…(turns out it wasn’t intentional).

After the eventual greeting we were invited across the threshold to the games immediate starting point. There was no reception area and neither were there lockers to stow our possessions and although this is not a huge deal it was already proving to be an unusual set-up from our typical escape room experience. (It’s probably also worth noting there are no toilets available at this venue so you'll need 20p to access the shopping centre loos for your pre-game business, so do visit before you arrive!) 

Our GM made quick work of evolving from our friendly welcome party to immersed character and we soon found ourselves plunged into chaos. Unfortunately there was no real introduction or mention of the rooms competition winner plot that's detailed on Escape Plan Live's website:

“You thought this new travel company seemed too good to be true…and you were absolutely right! None of the passengers who’ve made the mistake of booking with them have ever completed their journey in one piece. Having won a trip in a competition we didn’t remember entering, we’re far too excited about our prize to notice that things are not quite right here until it’s too late…or is it? Maybe we can escape the station before our bus arrives as we start to realise it’s headed for a destination from which we’ll never return…” 

The start of Terminal was promisingly strong. The ominous space and interactions that followed during these initial moments really had us suitably on edge and immersed, but sadly the wheels on this bus began to rapidly fall off... 

Due to the rooms marketing (or perhaps naivety on our part), we had genuinely expected to be running around an actual bus terminus here. Instead we found ourselves dashing about a cluster of derelict offices that if we’re honest could have been within the walls of any disbanded civic centre. We’re admittedly unfamiliar with Chatham's port authority past but there was nothing inside to suggest that this was historically the site of a bus station. 

Escape Plan Live Terminal Escape Room Review

There had also been very few decorative changes to its walls or furniture to modify the spaces relevancy for an escape game - somehow managing to allude any notable nods to its transportation hub theme. Any mild interior efforts involved were easily implemented with the occasional uninspired MS-Word document that had been printed off and tacked to notice boards. Aside from the extensive spaces' business rates, very little money has been seemingly spent here. 

Although there was plenty to investigate, the vast majority of the many nooks and crannies to mull over were almost entirely irrelevant to the game. These on occasion unintentionally offered letter or number combinations that could be erroneously interpreted as possible clues. There were also 'props' dotted around that had no significance, not even as theme-appropriate artefacts, just junk assumedly left behind from the previous occupants that was never cleared away. 

The puzzling aspects here were equally as weak offering little more throughout than the inclusion of a few generic riddles pulled straight from the Internet. Another gripe was the entirely illogical resolve of one particular task. This puzzle presented us with a two-digit response for a 5-digit padlock. At a loss, we asked for guidance and were told to complete the rest of the lock using three numbers offered to us that had absolutely no relevance, making zero sense! The one and only technical puzzle here also malfunctioned during our run and whilst disappointing, admittedly we did think the situation was handled rather well. 

There were also occasions where our ability to progress was fully dictated by an actors interaction rather than our own ability to move on at the pace of our puzzle-solving which padded out the game in effort to justify its 90 minute duration. Sometimes this left us needlessly investigating spaces unnecessarily. And despite the boast of its physical size, we found there to be predominately one or two mediocre puzzles in the majority of each of its rooms. The game was also completely linear, so we strongly advise avoiding the 16 person maximum capacity, as you’ll likely find 14 folk with nothing to do other than fill space. 

The one saving grace was the inclusion of the live actors who performed their roles faultlessly and maintained character throughout, even when dealing with our technical hiccup. Admittedly through their performances we did find certain moments rather foreboding. The theatrical element alongside its slightly better finale was Terminal's strongest point, but ultimately size really doesn’t matter if the puzzles and theming are nonexistent, rendering this self declared largest escape room in the UK an en-tyre let down.

At £135 for our team of four we felt like fully paying passengers that the ticket inspector had wrongfully fined! The extortionate fare for this rickety ride quite simply wasn’t worth it. Until there’s a timetable of change to enhance the decor and props better relevant to its theme, and most importantly a much stronger quality and variety of puzzles implemented in to Escape Plan Live's priority seat, then sadly we must warn you against alighting here - perhaps even skipping this stop all together on your next escape room route around Kent.


Terminal - Escape Plan LIVE. Chatham, Kent
Rating: 1


Egyptian Exodus Escapement Margate Escape Room Review

When it comes to Egyptian themed escape games we’re admittedly more dummy than mummy having never quite ankh’d a successful room, so to say we entered The Escapement’s Egyptian Exodus somewhat apprehensive for our trip to the lost tomb of Ramses iii (via Margate) was an understatement.

Fortunately we’d played the venues excellent Pirates of Polaris and The Pit, so resided to that fact that even if our logic crumbled, the quality of the set we were likely to find ourselves entombed would vindicate any embarrassing efforts on our part to escape …and we weren’t wrong!

The decoration of this room is entirely phenomenal, from the grandeur of its impressive entrance to the intricacies of the interior and props within. The minutest detail has been considered, elevating it from a generic escape space to one worthy of a Hollywood film-set. No element is overlooked and the assault on our senses, including clever auditory and lighting cues immediately transported us to the Valley of the Kings with audacious ease. 

Despite the incredibly sandy environment, we noted how the space was impeccably maintained feeling authoritatively sanitised in comparison to other sand-covered escapes we have played in the past. 

The Escapement Margate Review

Once acclimatised to our new surroundings we diverted our attention to the rooms actual tasks where we were pleased to discover an agreeable cross section of theme-appropriate puzzles, including a noteworthy search element that was cleverly implemented. We also found a plethora of logical puzzles, a few of which - as predicted - we made a fairly embarrassing hash of!  

We favoured the rooms ability to allow us to separate completing some puzzles simultaneously with it pulling us together during its more climatic moments. Another effective inclusion was the clue-system that runs parallel to rooms narrative, forming a more pivotal role in the game-play over the slightly less immersive, generic GM communications escapers will be more accustomed to at other venues. 

One particular novelty made us smile here too providing some light amusement amidst our own self-inflicted, added pressure to please the gods and exit the tomb unscathed!   

After a surprisingly successful escape our GM’s (including founder and creator Lewis Hunt) treated us to a thorough debrief where we were walked through our entire game highlighting our successes and teased for the mishaps we perhaps would've rather left dead and buried! Not only did this show our GM’s attentiveness throughout our run, but displayed their infectious passion for the industry - something like-minded enthusiasts will revel in. 

Overall this is one tomb with a view and we were simply wow'd by our experience in Egyptian Exodus. Along with the excellent puzzles and flow of the game, we were particularly impressed by the abundance of invisible tech found in such an authentically ancient setting, never once feeling misplaced. The Escapements’ tech-programming genius with its flawless, sequential execution without any need for GM triggering is an impressive operation that alludes almost all of its competitors. 

Which is exactly why, in our opinion, they're amongst the Pharaohs of must-play escape room venues currently available anywhere in the UK. 


The Escapement - Egyptian Exodus
Rating: 5

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