Breakout Manchester – Vacancy

Breakout Manchester – Vacancy. Game Date 17/08/2016. Team: Amy & Ian


We were going to Manchester for a show, so we decided to have a day out and chuck in a couple of escape rooms, as when one is obsessed this is what you do! The pickings in Manchester city centre aren’t brilliant.. with only “chains” to choose from, (bearing in mind we’ve done 2 of Lockin Escape and will regroup with the fab 5 to play their last game)
So, saying that our choice was Breakout, Tick Tock Unlock or The Escape Rooms… We chose Breakout, as we’ve always had a good time at their Liverpool Branch.

We chose their “Vacancy” room, situated at the High Street location. This is a theme I enjoy, with a slight “horror” feel…
The waiting area was nice, and it was busy in there which is always nice to see, the couches were very comfy too!

“Exhausted after a long journey, you place your bag down on the freshly made bed, ready to relax. Suddenly, an ominous sixty minute countdown begins. No matter what you try, the door will not open. Welcome to Crimson Lake Motel. You check in, but you NEVER check out..”

The description ticked all the boxes for me, and initially, the theming in the room did as well, the room was TINY, or should I say rooms. This was a multi-room game with each room getting seemingly smaller and smaller and culminating in playing in a room with a working toilet (weird).
I suppose the game kept on theme with dilapidated furniture, but that’s where it fell flat… There was too much ambiguity in the room and things that left me thinking “why is that there” – There was also a massive “prop” safe that had recently been painted and was still tacky, Ian actually got paint on his hand from touching it.

Game Play:
The room started off OK, with some easy puzzles… and then a tricker one… this was the problem with this room. The puzzles were either ridiculously easy or tricky. No inbetween. Then there was the safe that would repeatedly not open with the correct code. But since Breakout have no microphones in their rooms (get this sorted Breakout!) the GH couldn’t hear what we were saying about the safe and therefore gave us no help (and there were no instructions regarding the safe in the room)
Overall this wasn’t the hardest game we’ve ever played, but some of the puzzles were not very well thought out, accentuated by a not very attentive GH and hampered by the lack of mics in the room (in a room where the puzzles are almost always the type that are “spelled out” mics are essential to give helpful clues). Underwhelming is my lasting thoughts on this game.

Clue System:
Clues were delivered via a screen.

Game Host:
Our Game Host was friendly, and delivered the story to the room well. I felt the briefing just consisted of telling us what not to do.
There was no thorough explanation of locks, etc etc.
Then, it all went downhill. He told us that if we required a clue we could wave our hands and he would help… so after being stuck on one puzzle for a while (and not receiving any clues for at least the first 15 minutes) we waved for a hint… silence…. I held the piece of paper we were working on in front of the camera…. silence…. I went into the other room…. silence…. (I even said to Ian “maybe the camera is broken”) then finally about 5 minutes after we first asked, we got a clue. I am convinced that he was either not paying attention to our game, or had gone away from our game, or was deliberately ignoring us and hindering our progress. This really irritated me! The clues then came as expected but at some points it felt like they were stalling us rather than pushing us on in the game!
Maybe he was new to the job, maybe he was in a bad mood, or maybe he was insistent on us not escaping because I told him how many rooms I have done… I don’t know, but it felt like this Game Host was working against us, not with us (something I have never experienced before!) This left a rather sour taste in my mouth!

Did we escape?
No. We failed with 1 lock left…. maybe if we’d had better hints earlier in the game…

Website: http://www.breakoutmanchester.com
Price: Depending on when you go, prices vary from £20pp to £13pp

Will I return to Breakout Manchester… Probably… I know that I shouldn’t judge an entire venue by one Game Host.

3 thoughts on “Breakout Manchester – Vacancy”

  1. I’ve had varying experiences with hosting at Breakout (Mancs and Liverpool). Some great, some not so much. Far better than the Escape Room though (based on four experiences at Preston) which I consider to have a similar business model.

    This is why I don’t really get too worked up about escaping rooms now. Getting out or not is more dependent on your game host than your own abilities. More to the point – a good game host should read your body language and move you on if you’re frustrated to ensure you’re having a good time. The result is that failure just represents your willingness to persevere when things are difficult rather than your ability in the room.

    Still. It sucks when you don’t escape.


    1. It just felt like the GH was against us not with us, which isn’t a good feeling whilst playing and certainly not the idea of escape games, persevere we did, in the end time beat us I guess!


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