A picture of Cave Escape Room Nottingham provided by Rob Smalley, scene photographer

Nottingham’s escape rooms claim to provide mental exercises through puzzles and riddles, to stimulate the mind encouraging communication with others.

Escape rooms have increased in popularity in recent years – for some there is the excitement of using the mind and working with others to get out of the room where as for others it’s their worst nightmare.

Nick Scott, manager at Cave Escape Rooms Nottingham agrees with the notion that people should be encouraged to work with people face-to-face and said: “I want to encourage people to forget about their phones, communicate with one another and use their heads”.

Escape rooms have been around for many years with six in Nottingham city centre alone. Cave Escape Rooms, Mansfield Road opened at the end of 2017 with a 40% increase in players over the past two years.

The objective is clear. Solve the puzzles and escape the room. However, it’s not as simple as that as participants are put through various puzzles, riddles and mental exercises which require people to think all different kinds of ways.

Participants may think that this would be a good time to use their phones and look up the problems they face but this is when the company name really comes in play. All the escape rooms are held in a cave, which means participants have no signal to look up the answers.

“It provides a sense of unity amongst friends, colleagues and strangers alike”

Mr Scott said: “It provides a sense of unity amongst friends, colleagues and strangers alike. A chance for people to talk and think with one another, compare ideas and have fun along the way.”

And as I tackled Dracula themed mystery at CARFAX escape room, I found all of Nick’s comments to be true.

After we were put into the room, we immediately looked around the room for various puzzles and we managed to solve the first few with some ease. However, as time passed, the tasks became more and more difficult.

With only two minds working to crack the puzzles, the experience became increasingly difficult causing us to question whether Mr Scott was indeed right. With more ideas from more people, the tasks would have been much easier to solve.

The room did not only provide a vigorous mental exercise for myself, but it also allowed me to talk to a colleague who I would never normally talk to because of only communicating via email and text for reports.

The games are not just difficult for participants, but also for the game masters who design the rooms and puzzles.

Mr Scott claimed: “It’s difficult designing escape rooms, especially when you have enthusiasts you work so hard to solve them. Then again you have people who lack the certain life experience to play the rooms so others may find it hard.”

Nick Scott at Cave Escape Rooms on Mansfield road

I can certainly agree with that as many of the devices we had to use were not entirely from this decade. So, what should have been an easy puzzle ended up being hard for us as we had no prior experience with using them.

I also wondered that maybe I lacked the experience to solve the room because I’m one of the people who choose their phone rather than talk to people in a social space, maybe if I talked to people more, they could’ve told me the facts I needed to solve the problems I faced.

So why should people decide to visit these escape rooms which have difficult challenges and no phone signal? The answer is simple to Mr Scott: “Anything that brings people together is a good thing.”