We Escaped In
“No one has lived there since the tragic fire 100 years ago, that took the life of the mayor’s wife and of their only infant daughter. They say that it is now haunted, and I have reason to believe it actually is…”
The last place we expected to find the “most immersive escape rooms in Europe” would have been an aging office block down a run down side street in the centre of Athens. However, that’s exactly where we found ourselves back in March when we decided to pay Lockhill a visit to play the Lockwood Manor. Don’t let the location fool you however, as we would unquestionably rate this as one of the most immersive experiences we have completed to date.
The games here are not isolated experiences. Each room is connected by a singular story and allows players to experience a different part of the plot. Lockwood Manor (the room we played) is just one of the games that join together to make the fictional town of Lockhill. What works so well at Lockhill, is that the theme isn’t confined to the rooms themselves. The halls and communal areas are created to bring the spooky little town to life and every moment building up the game felt totally immersive.
Entering Lockwood Manor itself, we were already on edge and any hope of comfort inside the game quickly faded. The room is decorated and furnished exactly as you would imagine. The rooms are filled with aged trinkets and cobwebs, the wallpaper is peeling and the carpets are worn and burnt. We don’t want to ruin any surprises so we will just say that the atmosphere achieved is consistent throughout the entire gameplay, so the wow factor when you walk in is definitely maintained as you journey further into the manor.
This is a horror experience. so expect jumps and scares along the way. It was actually our first experience of a horror escape room and so we might have been a little bit more distracted by the fear factor than most. We were quite literally arguing about which of us would get to hold the torch in case we had to be split up. Where we normally want to be the first in the room, not this time! If that doesn’t speak volumes about the theme, we don’t know what will!
Puzzles & Challenges
The aim of the game here is firstly to get out of the room (we didn’t need much encouragement here) but also to find out what really happened at Lockwood Manor. If that isn’t enough, entwined in the plot and game play there are also additional puzzles which form a whole sidequest narrative. For each element of the game completed, the team scores a set number of points which is then used to form the room leader board. We were so focused on the main game that we didn’t really take in the side elements but if we visited again we would spend some time thinking about these in the other games here as it adds a unique spin to the game.
In terms of the actual challenges, we’re not 100% sure if they were difficult or we were just being a bit wimpy due to the atmosphere in the room and not thinking them through as well as we normally would. There were no unique puzzles here, in that we had seen variants of the lock and key games before, but the execution achieved at Lockhill is great and the way the puzzles layer up to ultimately tell a story is very well thought through. We liked that as we progressed through the manor, we found ourselves needing to revisit areas we had previously explored in order to find new clues and information. There was no sense of completing a “section” of the room and forgetting about it. This was a nice touch but did ultimately lead to one of us having to wait, scared and alone in the dark while the other went back (told you we were wimps)!
As an English group playing in Greece, we found there was only one element that stumped us and frustratingly this was not due to the game but rather the set up. Only the Greek instructions were left in the room for one particular task and this held us back by about five minutes while we tried to work out what we were supposed to do. Other than this we faced no issues as an English speaking team.
We’re not going to go into too much detail here, but this guy was awesome. You can only appreciate how awesome when you turn up and play with his help. He did a fantastic job of outlining our mission and explaining the various quests and side quests of the room.
Once we were locked into the manor, our games master was contactable through a telephone in the room. We were able to give him a quick call if we were stuck, but equally if he saw us lingering on a puzzle too long he would give us a call. When we came across the Greek instructions he was quickly able to outline our task so that we could continue to solve the puzzle. At any point where we sought contact with him, we were able to get through very quickly
Value for Money
This room is more than just an escape room, its pretty much a horror experience that can last for up to 70 minutes. At 16 euros per person, we think this is exceptional value for money. Nowhere else have we played such a high quality room for this low price, especially not in a capital city!
If you’re not a fan of horror films and being on edge, this room is probably not the game for you (one of us in this team enjoys this more than the other). Despite the fact there were times in this room where we were quite literally hiding, we had an amazing time playing this game. It was probably the combination of being terrified of what was lying around the corner one minute, and then laughing because one of us had jumped at something in the room. It was certainly a unique experience and has undoubtedly set the bar high for any future horror themed rooms we might play. There is a lot to do in Athens both in the day and at night and an escape room might not be high on everyone’s list, but we are very glad we took the time out to play one of these games.
What else we got up to in Athens
The ruins in Athens are absolutely incredible and we could easily have spent so much more time exploring the ancient buildings and monuments. The highlight for us has to be the Acropolis, and exploring this in early March meant that we avoided the heaviest of the crowds. We were able to explore the Temple of Zeus in the same day which is equally as impressive to see. We made sure to see all the major ruins the city had to offer and well worth a visit, though less spoken about online, are the temple of Hephaestus (god of the forge) and the Panathenaic stadium. We would also recommend a stroll up to the top of Mount Lycabettus to get amazing views of the city.
Our favourite bar was Ciel, which sits on the top floor of a highrise building in the centre of town and boasts breathtaking views of the Acropolis at night time. It was the perfect place for a post escape room drink!