Consequences. Whilst we love scare events (obviously), the more that you do, the wiser you become to the tricks that shows play. A good actor can definitely still be intimidating but, if you know that there’s no touching or things of that ilk in the attraction, there’s no real threat. Your mind has to fill in those blanks to make the event effective. For us, we don’t necessarily have to be scared to enjoy an event, we just appreciate the craft; the stories, staging, theming – all those things. Ultimately, without consequences, you can put your game face on and weather anything that a haunt can throw at you – that’s the case with us at least!
When we entered Room Lockdown’s Xtreme Room, we went in blind. We’d seen no reviews and wouldn’t have even known that it existed had it not been for friends playing some of the venue’s other games and informing us that they had a game that might be in our wheelhouse. We visited their website and were surprised to find that Xtreme Room was only £15 (though I believe this may rise soon). It didn’t feel as though it could offer a rounded experience, especially when you consider that it’s also a 90 min experience. It seemed too cheap. So, admittedly, we didn’t have very high expectations.
Even at the reception, the company gave off a very family-owned vibe – absolutely nothing wrong with that, just that the closer we got to playing the game, the more we anticipated something run of the mill. Even the disclaimer and safe word didn’t really give us much cause for concern – we’ve signed many waivers full of things that didn’t actually come to fruition – we figure that it’s a way of companies covering their backs to the fullest extent.
Eventually, we were collected and things took a turn very quickly! We don’t really want to say too much about this game at all but even the journey to get to the room was pretty uncomfortable and drawn out, to the point that when we finally reached the room we started to believe that this game might be the real deal after all.
There’s little story here, you’re held captive by a masked man in what looks and feels like a warehouse, you just have to get out. And the game itself is slight – you won’t find any amazing puzzles or tech here, it just isn’t what this game is aiming for.
It’s all about the clue system.
At some point, you’ll probably get stuck and need a little hint to move along. When you call for a hint, your captor enters the room and offers you assistance but for a price – one of the team is then required to perform a randomly selected activity. And this is where the fun begins – none of the tasks are in the slightest bit pleasant and some will actually push you a fair bit, especially if phobias come into play. But where the game gets really clever with it is in the psychology – you watch your teammates endure these punishments and it’s genuinely scary to witness their reactions, coupled with the knowledge that if the team doesn’t play well, it could easily be you next. We absolutely don’t want to say much more than that but the mental aspects of it were by far the smartest part of the experience. They sometimes promoted division within the group and created a lot of stress even when nothing was currently happening.
To be clear, this wasn’t a man jumping out and trying to scare you – things actually do happen to you within the course of this game – take the warning on their website seriously:
In order to play this game, participants must be in good health, able to bend, kneel and crawl, be prepared to get wet, very cold or very hot, and not afraid of confined spaces.
There’s a lot more than even that to it but we can vouch for the above. So don’t go in expecting a scary room where you might have to hide from someone stalking around – this can be, at points, a physical experience. We’ll say that everything felt safe – it’s designed to very much throw you out of your comfort zone but it was all very controlled. It’s definitely something to bear in mind if you’re just expecting the odd impact scare.
The other refreshing feature of this game was the character that we were up against. His performance was absolutely not what I expected when I first saw him. His get-up is pretty intimidating but his demeanor was worse. He didn’t shout or overly chastise us at any point. He was very clinical but stern. It made him more unsettling because we didn’t really know when or if he might bubble over and really give us a hard time! It was a smart move to make that character less stereotypical – the disconnected way in which he dealt with us was way scarier – he was completely in control the entire time.
Overall, we loved this experience for offering something completely different in the current escape game market – especially in the UK! It’s a game that is physically challenging at points but moreso mentally. It won’t be for everyone but if you feel like stepping up, give it a go – we can guarantee that you haven’t played another escape game like it!
Xtreme Room - Room Lockdown
+ The mind games
+ Fresh experience
+ The game host
- Slight story
It will test you but if you really want to feel like you're in a horror movie for 90 mins, give it a go. This is the closest we've been to feeling genuinely scared!
Price: £15 pp
Address: Crown House, 40 North Street, Hornchurch, Essex, RM11 1EW