The Prison (Lucardo Manchester)

Game Date: 23rd April 2019
Game Number: 27
Price for Two: £50
Website: https://lucardo.com/manchester

Game Overview
You and your team of criminals are due to be checked into the Category A prison facility in Manchester after committing a series of crimes. As hardened criminals you have connections on the inside – they are staging a riot allowing you the opportunity to try and escape. Time will be limited. You will need to use deception, bribery and skill to attempt this escape. Get caught and you will never get to see the outside world again.

Arrival and Introduction
This was game number two of our double game day and it was safe to say that we had been looking forward to it for a considerable amount of time (well ever since Lucardo announced they were making another room!). We had heard on the grapevine that this was going to be much more of an experience rather than a traditional escape room and that is a spot on description of the game! I have never had anything but brilliant customer service from Lucardo and this visit was no different. Emma made us feel super welcome the moment we arrived, despite being mid-way through resetting the room. Our game brief opened with the phrase “forget everything you know about Lucardo escape rooms” and we were hooked! We were told to no be afraid to do things out the ordinary and that the tools we found in the game would have to be used in the way they were designed. I think at one point we shared a look of genuine excitement during this brief and there was a definitely look when Emma returned from reception and led us too the room.

Gameplay
I have never walked into a room and been so happy to find it look, feel and smell so much like a prison cell and I doubt I ever will. A sparse room just with a bed, toilet and sink just as you would expect from a prison cell. Teams of 6 may find this a little cramped to begin with! We quickly set about finding our way into the next area and this was equally well themed, with the final goal clear once we had made it into this room. It did require a certain amount of crawling to move between these two rooms which is worth noting if you suffer from limited mobility. In the entirety of the game I can only really think of one traditional puzzle with the rest of the game focusing on the physical task of escaping from the prison. There was a certain amount of anarchic play spread throughout the room where we found ourselves doing things that would have got us told off by GM’s in other rooms but not in this one. This is what really set the game apart from other rooms that we have played and made it all the more enjoyable. The room itself was entirely logical with no leaps made as you progressed through it – everything felt like you would do during a real prison escape (not that I have any concrete experience to base it on I must admit). We found ourselves so immersed in the experience helped by the soundtrack, clue system and by one major moment mid-way through the game that I wont spoil! Lucardo went the extra mile here to make sure that everything fitted with the overarching story line and signposting of how to progress through the game meant that at no point were we hugely at loss of what we needed to do next. The occasions where we were stuck was because we were treating it like a regular escape room and not using our brains!

Outcome
Thankfully we managed to avoid a life sentence and escaped with 11.10 left on the clock. We had to ask for a few clues during the game – twice when we had been treating the room like a regular room and once was just a silly type of mistake that we seem to make in every game that we play. Clues were delivered by a contraband phone stashed away in the cell. We left feeling we should have completed this in a shorter time as the room itself was not the most challenging but we were thrown Lucardo’s departure from the norm.

Credit: Lucardo Manchester

Overall
A completely unique room which certainly delivered on the promise of it being a departure from the traditional room. It had immersion in spades, enjoyment by the bucket load and credit needs to go to the designers for making such a unique room. The theme was finished to a brilliant standard – is it even the same room that housed The Dream only a few months ago?!
This is a must game for enthusiasts and I would go as a two just so that you can immersive yourself in as much of the experience as possible. Just remember that this game doesn’t play by the same rules as other escape rooms which can be both a help and a hindrance at times!

Customer Experience – 4 out of 5
Theming – 5 out of 5
Gameplay – 4.5 out of 5
Enjoyment – 4.5 out of 5
Overall – 4.5 out of 5

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