We tried live escape room gaming

It’s a lot harder than you think

breakout liverpool crystal maze escape room gaming gaming nerd the chase

60 minutes, one mission, a handful of clues and a lot of nervous sweating. This is escape room gaming.

Last week we were invited down to Breakout Liverpool – the city’s very own escape room experience – to see what all the fuss is about. Described as a cross between The Crystal Maze, The Cube and Saw, Breakout challenges you to use your code-cracking and puzzle-solving abilities, in a race against time.

Feeling confident, we opted to take on the most difficult room available, known as Sabotage. In no more than one hour, we had to infiltrate a computer system, prevent a missile headed to Liverpool being launched, and escape from the room. How hard could it be?

put us in charge of real life missiles

Ready to save the day

It was pretty damn hard. The puzzles are more University Challenge than CBBC, and you need more than a B in GCSE Maths and a love for Fort Boyard in order to succeed.

Our mission began in an intense red room filled with a variety of puzzles and objects, ranging from a deck of cards to an edition of 4-4-2 magazine. Like Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code, we pieced together the clues and began to make sense of what initially felt like impenetrable conundrum – only our main worry wasn’t an underground religious cult, but an imaginary rocket.

breakout 1

break out 5

Check out that blast zone

After 40 minutes of head-scratching, we finally broke our way into the computer room, and had just 20 minutes to save our beloved Liverpool from nuclear attack. 20 minutes sounds like a sizeable amount of time, but when you have a massive countdown clock staring at you, and a nuclear disaster to prevent, it feels like a lot less. Imaginary nuclear disasters are still quite stressful.

It was in this room we were faced with our toughest task: decoding a sequence of coloured lights. It was intense, and there was lots of yelling and foul language. Like Jigsaw, the Breakout staff get the pleasure of watching you panic via CCTV, and we must have made excellent viewing.

But, amazingly, with just one minute to go, we successfully broke into the computer system, disabled the launch and escaped the room. The thrill was incredible, and we posed for victory pictures feeling like leaders of the new world.


Fancy a break from essays but bored of alcohol? Get yourself involved in some escape room gaming. No matter how hard you try to appear mature and indifferent, you soon find yourself completely lost in this imaginary world, and it’s a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

The rest of the evening felt dull and anticlimactic – we just wanted to keep cracking codes and foiling military operations.