They pretty much wrote the book on escape rooms here in Manchester, and were one of the first companies to open throughout the entire UK.
Now the national chain has opened a new site in the Northern Quarter – and the circus is officially in town.
Bringing long-standing Manchester favourites Vacancy and Captured, the gaming legends have also introduced a new room to the city.
Heading down on the opening day, we were one of the first to experience Cursed Carnival. Here’s what happened.
In the interest of not spoiling the room for those of you that will play it, I’m going to be vague. Otherwise, I may as well just tell you every secret the room has to offer, and where would be the fun in that?
We were greeted by a lovely man on arrival, who gave us a brief overview of how some of the locks and puzzles work within the room before transporting us into the world of the Cursed Carnival with a little bit of a back story.
After visiting the local carnival with your friends, you’re haunted by nightmares and haunting voices.
The voices are drawing you back. Tormenting you with a challenge of finding Francesca, the doll you see when your close your eyes at night.
She must be returned to the freakshow, or the carnival’s curse will follow you eternally.
We enter the first room. In order to unlock the boxes and reveal our first clues, we must hunt.
Searching high and low we noticed several clues in and amongst a room full of carnival memorabilia. There were actually a lot of clues to find in this first room, some of which we needed a little helping hand with.
Nevertheless, we persevered. Entering the second, almost tunnel-like room boasting black and white patterned walls – with three very intricate, challenging and super fun puzzles – this area will have you scratching your heads.
After a while, we successfully entered the carnival itself. There was a big top circus-style tent draping from above, with carnival games and fancy dress aplenty.
There are some hidden clues in the third room, in places that you really wouldn’t expect. Anything could be a clue, so make sure you check everything thoroughly – and consider places you wouldn’t normally think to check.
Against the clock we only had 15 minutes left, trying to crack the final clue of room 3 to enter into the last room. It was right in front of our eyes. Remember, everything and anything could be a clue to help you on your way to finding Francesca.
We made it into the final room with just five minutes left to spare. A glass cabinet full of creepy fortune-teller style items nearly threw us off track, but we got there in the end, finding Francesca and escaping with a matter of minutes left to spare. Result!
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to tackle the carnival room and win? There’s only one way to find out… Let us know how fast you managed to escape in the comments!
Breakout Manchester’s new site is located in the former Bikram Yoga site opposite Black Dog Ballroom at 51 Church Street.