A cursed carnival, Saw-inspired dungeon and a creepy motel room: first look at new Northern Quarter escape room


Manchester’s favourite escape room experience Breakout have revealed their takeover of the old Bikram Yoga Centre in the Northern Quarter which is being transformed into a new hub.

We went down to get a first look ahead of its opening this weekend.

The new space is expansive and will eventually house 13 games – with six brand new concepts set to open alongside a mixture of their most popular rooms, all revamped for the new site with fresh aesthetics and some never-seen-before puzzles.

It has been chosen especially for its original features which include a shower room, a mirrored studio with sprung dancefloor, and two slightly creepy all-white tiled rooms. As many original fixtures as possible will be incorporated into the new room designs.

Two of the most popular horror-inspired rooms will be open to the public on Friday May 17th, followed by a third on Saturday 18th.

The first room is Vacancy which features a new design influenced by the infamous Cecil Hotel in LA. The hotel’s litany of murders and suicides inspired the creepy hotel horror classic American Horror Story in which a serial killer uses a series of back passages to snatch victims from their rooms unobserved.

The game concept itself might not be new, but they’ve switched up quite a few things to make it feel fresh for anyone who has played at other sites (and made it slightly harder to complete in the process).

At the new Church Street venue, instead of being ‘checked in’ to the hotel on arrival, the experience starts with your descent into a basement room via an old, 1920’s-style wood-panelled lift complete with original metal gates.

Fitted with a single flickering light, a powerful concealed subwoofer speaker rumbles and vibrates as part of the elevator simulation, setting a sinister tone from the off. There’s not a shard of natural light to be found anywhere.

The hotel room feels harmless at first, albeit a tad claustrophobic, with low ceilings and shouty, garish decor. Mismatching floral wallpaper and carpets epitomise the 1960’s and the height of the motel era. But don’t be fooled, because hidden within this gaudy room is a nasty surprise. It’s not the room you might want, but it’s the only one that they have available.

The second room, Cursed Carnival, is a brand new game for Manchester that has already proven itself popular with gamers at Breakout’s other sites around the country.

Set in a haunted funfair, the premise is as a follows: your group has won a prize at a local carnival that turns out to be cursed. After returning home, you’re all plagued with strange dreams accompanied by a haunting voice that demands you return your prize within seven days. Arriving with an hour to spare, you must escape before the clock strikes midnight.

It’s the biggest room at the new site, with four different rooms to tackle in under an hour. Its walls are painted in red and white stripes, there’s a hand-stitched big top tent on the ceiling, and a terrifying freak show display in the back that’s certain to give you the heebie-jeebies.

Last but not least, we make our way down a labyrinthine passage lit with harsh strip lighting and peek our heads into Captured, a new and improved room.

The Saw-inspired dungeons’ walls are covered in sprawling maniacal messages like ‘catch him, find him’ and ‘HA HA HA HA HA’. Clear but bloodied body bags hang from the ceiling, and rough wire fencing adds to a feeling of entrapment.

If you’re looking for a hit of adrenaline, this room should have you covered.

The new venue will be open 10am-10.30pm Friday-Sunday to allow Breakout to create even more new games during the week.

Both Cursed Carnival and Vacancy are open today, followed by the reveal of Captured on Saturday 18th. A new game will be revealed every month.

You can also still book into the High Street site venue opposite Manchester Arndale.



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