We Escaped In
50 minutes 20 Seconds
LEAKED FILES HAVE REVEALED THE DARK MASTER’S WHEREABOUTS…
…and we’ve booked you seats on the only flight headed in that direction. There’s just one problem, it’s with One Wing Airlines. And we all know their history of doomed journeys.
Recruits (that’s you) will need to board the flight and, providing the plane arrives at its destination safely, find and detain The Dark Master. For all our sakes, let’s hope your team returns in one piece.
After spending the morning escaping from Crawley escape rooms, our team ventured down to Crowborough to take on DarkMaster’s One Wing Airlines escape room. We’d heard a lot about these games from fellow enthusiasts and it was the team at Agent Brains that recommended we pay Ellie and her team a visit. We travelled from Northamptonshire specifically to take on this game and managed to add on some Hounds rooms on the way (who are very worthy of a visit)!
Now, its safe to say Escape Rooms can be found in some random places (Tower Blocks in Athens and offices in Bletchley Park are some of the stranger examples). We were still surprised however, when our sat nav led us to a tiny industrial estate in the middle of the East Sussex Countryside and ultimately to a small metal unit tucked away by a generator. Don’t let this unassuming exterior fool you, as inside is a well decorated and welcoming reception that would fit in at any inner city location.
Belongings safely stowed away, we were escorted to the departure gate for our flight which was located down a small hallway from reception and illuminated with the classic black and yellow airport signage you would expect to see at any respectable airport! Ellie unlocked the door, and off we went!
When we entered the plane (and we will call it a plane, not a room) we were all taken aback by just how realistic this set looks. We were totally in awe. Walking in perfectly captured the familiarity of boarding a plane right down to the textures on the walls, the lighting and the layout of the cabin. We entered facing the lavatory and took a right towards our seats, which are genuine airplane seats. In the back of each is a safety leaflet (take the time to read this as its a good laugh) and some even have inflight magazines. Above us were call buttons and air con nozzles. Above those, over head storage lockers while to our sides were windows with real cabin blinds.
As we look further around the cabin, we can see the crew area at the front of the plane featuring hostess trolleys and food cupboards. Just like within the main cabin these look to have been sourced from real planes. We saw so much to take in and appreciate and all this before the game has even started.
To kick off our flight, as most people are all too familiar with, we had to sit through a safety demonstration from our in-flight attendant. This was a really funny video and served as a great way to run through objectives and safety features without breaking the feeling of being aboard the plane. Safety brief complete, our flight departs.
At this point the games pièce de résistance kicks in. Meg lets out a scream as the whole room starts to move. We had actually taken off! Well… not really but it felt like it. The room’s unique feature is that it is entirely built to simulate flight motion. What started with a small judder for take off quickly evolves into full on turbulence which would definitely result in the seatbelt sign being switched on. We could not stop laughing as we were all forced to hold on to our seats and avoid cupboard doors when this kicked in. This is 100%, total immersion.
As the game progresses the sense of being aboard a flight does become a little lost, with the second area of the game feeling a little bit too open to be on the plane. Having said that the transition between the two areas is very clever. We were a little disappointed not to enter the cockpit of the flight. This could have rounded the whole experience off perfectly.
Puzzles & Challenges
At its core OneWing Airlines is a classic linear escape game that draws a lot of its puzzles from tried and tested traditional games. Players can go off and solve some of the puzzles on their own but we always found ourselves coming together to move on. Whilst the scenario mentions capturing the Dark Master, there is little in the gameplay that would suggest we’re trying to do anything more than survive the plane journey.
For us the game kicked off with a heavy search of the cabin which resulted in finding various holiday, travel and flight associated items. Some of these were useful and some were purely for decoration but we did not feel as though the room was too heavy on red herrings. Instead there were just enough to keep us on our toes. Some of the clues within these items are more obvious than others and we actually cost ourselves a few minutes by putting something we needed aside. This was totally our own fault! Reading other reviews it does feel like the team here have adapted their game in response to feedback of previous players.
Clues aside, this game is relatively heavy on the padlock front. At least in the area of the game that takes place in the main cabin. These are solved through logic, observation and a little bit of maths. In your traditional room we might have been a bit disappointed by this but when you consider the setting it kind of makes sense. Add in the fact that the whole room shakes around and we can forgive the fact there’s a little less tech in the room itself.
The most innovative two puzzles of the game take place towards the end of the experience and avoid use of padlocks altogether. Instead the first of these makes use of the games primary feature and as a result a relatively straightforward logic puzzle becomes a hilarious and time consuming mission! The second puzzle is cleverly thought through and woven into the scenario but we’re not quite sure how we managed to solve it. We understood what needed to be done but we thought we were a step or two away from finishing! As a result we had to be prompted to make our final escape! Regardless its something a little different.
Games Master & Clues
Our games master for our OneWing flight was Ellie who greeted us in reception and outlined some of the rooms unique safety features. The whole team that we came across were friendly and welcoming throughout our visit. The guys here don’t assume a role to introduce the game we played, however the in flight safety video does a brilliant job of setting the scene in a more immersive way.
The clue system on OneWing involved use of the onboard crew intercom telephone. We were told to allow for three rings before we would be connected to one of the GMs and allowed to ask for a clue. Ellie asked us if we would prefer to be offered clues or to have them on request only. We opted to have them on request and so received no inbound calls but did make use of the phone once to ask for a pointer, at which point our GM was able to offer a subtle hint to get us moving again.
As we progressed through to the second area of gameplay the use of the phone becomes impractical and so we came across a walkie talkie which could be used to communicate with our GM. Again, we used this once or twice but were mostly left to it.
A nice touch here was being asked if we were coming to celebrate a special occasion, which we were! There was a nice surprise left for us in the room!
Value for Money
The price of a “flight” on OneWing Airlines is £27 per person or £20 for children under the age of 16 (bear in mind that children under the age of 12 are prohibited from playing this game). Unlike other escape rooms there does not appear to be a discount for larger groups. We did ask whether discounts were offered for multiple room bookings but were told this is not something DarkMasters offer.
For a standard escape room this is slightly pricey compared to our normal costs but we’re happy to take into account that this is more of an experience than your bog standard room and as a result its a pretty reasonable price. Worth noting that the wider Crawley/Sussex area does seem to command a higher game rate than other locations and compared to nearby rooms OneWing is very fairly priced.
We drove to the venue from Crawley and were able to park for free right outside just a few steps away from the door. We’re not from the area but would imagine that it would be difficult to get to without driving.
OneWing Airlines is a unique and exciting experience that all four of us had a blast playing. It may not house the best puzzles and there are a few missed opportunities for story narrative but all in all the experience is one we will not forget in a hurry. The enjoyment we took from seeing eachother thrown about the cabin in spells of turbulence was a highlight of the game. This coupled with some top quality set design and a passionate team make for a brilliant escape experience.
We managed to secure our exit from the gamein 50 minutes and 20 seconds. This is some way off the best time of around 36 Minutes but did secure us a spot on the March leaderboard – even if we are only a week in we will take it! We will definitely be making a return visit to play the other games on offer. If you are in the area, this is a stop you have to make!