Fancy embarking on a bit of an adventure in an alternative new way? Or are you perhaps looking for a great idea for a birthday or special occasion with friends or family? If you love a bit of a brain tease with a whole load of intrigue thrown into the mix, you’ve simply got to try Escape the Room.
Although it has only been around for a few weeks, it has certainly got people talking around the capital and beyond. Not wanting to miss out on all the fun, the My Cyprus Insider team recently visited the spot in central Nicosia in what can best be described as a very alternative (and rather exhilarating) Sunday afternoon!
What exactly is this room we had to ‘escape’ from?
A brand new concept for Cyprus that has taken the island by storm, it’s one that involves escaping from a locked room within a given time limit. The idea originated from a number of video games in the late 1990’s where a player would find themselves locked in a given room and eventually make their way out by using clues, puzzles and different objects along the way.
The idea has since evolved, and over the past few years, places have opened up around the world that give people the chance to experience the game in real life. With only 60 minutes to plan your escape, you’ll need to solve riddles and puzzles, find clues, and use your intellect to solve the mystery and eventual escape. Suffice to say that teamwork and good communication are of upmost importance!
What’s on offer?
Head down to Escape the Room and you can choose from three themed rooms (you can go on their website to book the one that you think suits your gang the most). And what’s really great about this place is that all the clues and puzzles have been thought up by the young male trio who have established this place in their spare time; Constantinos being a doctor, Christos a lawyer and Polyvios a property valuer.
Left to right: Constantinos,Christos and Polyvios.
Each with different ideas and skills, the result is really inspiring; probably the best thing about the activity is that each room follows a set story meaning that there’s intrigue at every step of the way.
The first two rooms, the ‘Detective’s Office’ and ‘Grandma’s Will’, are rated ‘intermediate’ in their difficulty level, while the ‘Prison Cell’ is rather hard (apparently only two groups have managed to successfully escape so far!).
Fancy starting off with some mystery and intrigue in the detective’s room? Here, a homicide detective has been murdered by a notorious villain. The police have no hard evidence, but the detective has left clues in his office for you to uncover the culprit. Point is, you’ve got to hurry and expose the murderer before he walks free.
Then there’s ‘Grandma’s Will’, where your crazy and adventurous great-grandmother has passed away and left all her belongings to you. Here’s the catch; she has hidden her will in her living room and you need to find it within an hour or else her fortune goes to her beloved cat, Mr. Whiskers.
Really want to go for something tough? You’ll certainly get your mind ticking in the ‘Prison Cell’. The scenario is simple: you’ve just started your new job as a prison guard at the local prison and you hear a noise in a prisoner’s cell and you go to check it out. But you wake up an hour later and find yourself locked in his cell….what on earth is going on? You’ve got to figure it out! The room invented by the trio has been such a success that the idea has now become famous, recently snapped up by another escape room in Europe.
First up, I have to point out that the guys in charge were absolutely brilliant, on hand to guide you through the ins and outs of the game. One of the owners, Constantinos, was in charge of our team of five and took us through every little detail before we were guided towards our room. “We love theatre and so we wanted to create something theatrical,” he lets on. Our excitement begins to build.
My only fear at this point was that I’ll feel very awkward in a confined space, given that I’m quite claustrophobic. “Don’t worry about that,” Constantinos reassures us, “there’s an emergency button!” Phew! So once we get that sorted, we’re fully briefed about what the session involves. “It’s nothing to do with man power, but everything to do with mind power. Please don’t move the couch, it took us ages to get it there,” he jokes.
Handed a walkie-talkie in case we need a clue at some point (the guys monitor each team downstairs through a video screen), we enter the room and we’re left to our own devices. Surprisingly, I don’t feel claustrophobic at all – the room is in fact spacious and bright.
“You can’t miss the first clue,” says Constantinos with a smile. Once we’re left alone in the fabulous vintage style room, our eyes begin to manically scan the area as we know that every minute (or second) counts. And with that, the door is firmly shut and the countdown begins.
Suffice to mention, it takes us about five (LONG) minutes to find the first awfully simple clue, as we all burst out laughing about the fact that we haven’t spotted it any sooner. What ensues is a manic and really fun adventure as each clue leads on to the next, often in a rather odd way that you’d hardly expect. Some are very easy, others force us to manically get in touch with the guys downstairs over the walkie-talkie in a desperate plea for a hint. We were rather proud that the My Cyprus Insider team managed to escape in 46 minutes!
“We want people to come in here and learn something new, to go home with acquired knowledge that they won’t forget,” Constantinos explains. Not wanting to give the game away, we won’t go into much more detail about our experience, but what I can say with absolute certainty is: TRY IT! It’s the kind of entertainment that you can hardly forget about even if you wanted to.
My Cyprus Insider will soon be running a special competition in collaboration with Escape the Room to give each of you the chance to try out the fun for free! Watch this space!
Escape the Room
3 Theokritou St, Nicosia
Opening hours Monday- Friday: 6pm-11pm. Weekends: 11am-12pm
Cost: 12 euro per person (with discounted prices for online bookings via PayPal)
Tel: (+357) 22-433353