Thanks to the tireless efforts of Love Popups London, I was able to try out the Da Vinci’s Exploration room at EscapeLand in Oxford Street. We gathered our group of adventurers late on Tuesday evening to explore this beautiful venue.
This escape company is indeed right on Oxford Street, just a few steps from Tottenham Court Road, which is super convenient for tourists and visitors, but a bit too central for my liking simply because this area gets so terribly crowded and I’m just not super comfortable in big crowds. Plus, it makes it harder to find a comfortable pub nearby for pre- or post-escape room beverages. However, it is a great location, tucked away in a basement and quite easy to find.
The waiting room is beautifully decorated and we entertained ourselves with the small puzzle games on the table while we waited for everyone in our group to arrive. You can tell that a lot of effort and passion went into creating this space!
The staff were very friendly and chatty and answered all our questions, even the completely escape room unrelated ones; they gave us a quick briefing, but since all of us had done escape rooms before, we knew the common rules quite well.
We started in a relatively small, very dark room and immediately set to task. There are plenty of puzzles and locks in the first room, so all five of us had enough to do. The puzzles don’t necessarily follow a sequential storyline arrangement, but they all make sense and fit within the Da Vinci setting.
There are further rooms to discover, but as usual, I don’t want to give any spoilers, so here’s a vague description of my favourite parts, completely spoiler free.
The production value of the props and decorations is quite high, everything worked perfectly and is labelled or quite obvious related to the other items and locks it goes with. Games, puzzles and riddles have a huge variety and need skills across the spectrum, from physical through observational and linguistic to mathematical, the more varied the skills of your team members, the better.
There were a few puzzles and mechanical games I had never seen like this in an escape room before and some amazing thematic gimmicks that were super fun to work on. Most of the time we spent in the rooms, we felt that all of us were busy working productively towards the final goal of finding the holy grail, which means there’s enough to do for a team of 4-5 throughout. Hints were given when obviously needed, which I prefer as it flows well with the game. We only had to ask for a hint outright once as the attendants seem to monitor team progress closely and help when really needed.
We finished with just over 10 minutes to spare and a large sense of accomplishment for getting through all of the puzzles provided.
Overall, this was probably one of my favourite escape rooms I’ve ever done, with so much to do, logical puzzles and connections, unusual games and props, and a good production value. I definitely want to try their other room now!
I’m rating this one six out of six rainbow sloths.