Did worlds collide at the Doctor Who escape room?
Doctor Doctor, can't you see I'm burning, burning?
BY ROBIN BATES
£30 per person, 4-6 people
A thoroughly average escape room which squanders the promise of the Doctor Who license on gimmicks instead of depth and intrigue.
When was Doctor Who most disappointing?
Was it the Bertie Basset inspired Kandy Man from ‘Happiness Patrol’?
Was it when it got cancelled?
Was it the TV Movie?
Was it when it became the Clara show featuring the Doctor?
Was it when the Doctor became a lady because you're a terrible excuse for a human being?
Or was it when a hodgepodge of puzzles got thrown together to make an escape room?
My name is Robin Bates. I have played around 50 escape rooms and Doctor Who: Worlds Collide is really rather average. And that hurts, man.
With the richness of time travel and the Whovian world to draw upon this should have been something epic.
But before we proceed, there will be minor plot spoilers in here, so take that 3/5 score and do with it what you will and probably bump it up to a 4 if you’re a massive massive Doctor Who fan.
Announced last year as a partnership between BBC Media and Escape Hunt, Worlds Collide is an officially licensed escape room. Open at 6 location across the UK, including Reading (where we went), Oxford, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, and Manchester. It’s the same game at each location, so it’s great that they’ve tried to cover parts of the UK.
The Reading location opened just 1 week prior to our arrival at Escape Hunt. Located in the town centre, just 5 minutes from the station, it was an easy trip in from London (and we stayed to do another room afterwards).
World Collide: The Story
The Doctor needs you: a tear in space and time has been detected, and the Cybermen are about to break through!
Step into the future. Enter the offices of ChronosCorp HQ, where eccentric billionaire Alastair Montague’s efforts to develop commercial time travel have caused a tear in the fabric of space and time. The Cybermen are ready to take advantage and attack Earth.
You, the Doctor’s friends, must investigate the incident. The remains of Montague, his prototype time engine and the extensive collection of time-related artefacts acquired over the course of his experiments, are all that you have to work with.
In just 60 minutes the Cybermen will break through. The fate of the universe is in your hands. Take too long and the human race will be “upgraded”.
Greeted by the staff, who were lovely by the way, and filling out the standard disclaimer, we were given a health and safety briefing and escorted upstairs by our game master.
Bags, coats, phones were stored away, our GM left, and returned in character, which really threw us! But the Doctor Was looking for us, the GM had a phone through which a recording of Doctor 13 herself Jodie Whittaker was telling us that a temporal rift had opened in the building we were in, and could we deal with it please for the temporal energy meant she couldn’t land the TARDIS.
Into Alastair Montague’s office we went for a short video, before the timer began.
One hour to save humanity from the Cybermen.
37 minutes and 1 second later, we’d succeeded, job done, downstairs for photos.
The deliberately vague bit about puzzles and things.
The room itself is nicely decorated with a number of nods to Doctor Who’s storied history, and the aim of the game is to find a number of special items.
Each item is locked behind a puzzle, and the puzzles themselves are fairly varied but also, sadly, fairly standard for an escape room.
This leads to a really disjointed escape room, which on one hand means there’s something to do for most people most of the time, but also leads to a rather shallow experience.
The Doctor Who theming adds very little, despite a few nods to Doctors old and new and compared to the other BBC escape room, Sherlock, it feels like a waste of a license. There was nothing else from the Doctor until we had beaten the room, another missed opportunity to add some drama and humour to proceedings.
Other time travel escape rooms – Time Run in particular - managed to pull off a phenomenal time hopping adventure. Here? Solve some puzzles and find some items. Admittedly the items involved work well on the whole, being RFID tagged and one or two interesting puzzles. But on the whole nothing especially new or innovative.
It simply doesn’t sit together as a cohesive adventure and if you stripped away the theming could be any sci fi escape room.
Also, rather disappointingly, a number of the special effects weren’t working.
It’s a massive missed opportunity to deliver an epic escape adventure through space and time.
BBC’s other escape room – Sherlock: The Game is Now – does a much better job of incorporating the theme, characters, and story into something that makes sense in its world.
DOCTOR WHO - THE LIVE ESCAPE GAME: WORLDS COLLIDE CONCLUSION
If you’re a hardened escaper, this one doesn’t bring much new to the mix.
If you’re a massive Doctor Who fan with little escape experience, you’re in for a good time, though the GM did tell us that most people don’t escape so maybe it wasn’t aimed at us?
Naturally we’re top of the leaderboard with a time of 37:12…
I’m in charge so it gets a 3.
Doctor Who Worlds Collide is now open at Escape Hunt across the UK. It cost £30 per person and you need a team of 4-6 players.
The Good Stuff:
- Nicely built room
- A good mix of puzzle types
- Something for everyone to do most of the time
The Bad Stuff:
- Doctor Who theming largely inconsequential
- A disjointed experience
- £10 more than the other rooms at Escape Hunt
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