“Grab the gun!” I yelled as my friend dumped open a suitcase.
My friend dropped the book she was holding and ran towards the gun. I threw it at her and ran to the desk to rifle through the drawers. We tried the door again. Still locked.
We looked at the clock on the wall. 23 minutes left.
Luckily for us, it wasn’t a real gun, or even a real situation (though I screamed enough to make it seem like it was). We were near London Euston’s station at a game called Hint Hunt.
After living in London for a few years, you seem to check most of the historic and touristy sites off your list. Of course you can spend decades in London and still not see it all, but the major attractions? Done. Done. And done.
So when one of my best friends was coming to visit and I needed to find some things to do in the capital city, I instantly thought of Hint Hunt.
They call it a “live escape” game, and it requires 3-5 people to team up and solve puzzles and clues to escape from a room. You don’t get many more details than that, as the purpose is to keep most of it a mystery until it’s your turn to escape from the room. They also don’t allow photos or videos, for good reason, so you’ll just have to imagine for yourself what kind of trouble you might get into.
We had a group of three: one engineer, one screenwriter, and me, who Tweets for a living and likes to write random things on the internet. We made a good team, though it does get tense at times when the clock is ticking down. I was accused of “repeating the wrong numbers” multiple times, while I shouted at them for being generally disorganized. I don’t do well under pressure and usually just panic, so I spent the majority of the time running around the room like a chicken with its head cut off while they took care of the dirty work.
It’s hard to give a review for an event that relies on secrecy, but I can say that we are now hooked on escape games and are trying to convince various family members to come back with us later this year and do another room. You can do two different rooms at Hint Hunt, the “Office” and the “Zen” room, both with completely different experiences and plotlines.
London is the first Hint Hunt location, but Hint Hunt also has locations in Paris, Cape Town, Moscow, and Dubai. It only takes an hour, so it’s really worth it if you have any extended time in those cities. There’s no guarantee you’ll make it out, but they have “gamemasters” who watch and send clues occasionally to help you through it and ensure you’re not just stuck on the first puzzle for the whole hour.
Again, just make sure you are playing with people who you don’t mind spending an hour trapped in a room with, because LET ME TELL YOU, nothing will test your bond like a 60 minute timer and the need to escape.
Luckily for us, however, our various relationships survived intact (mostly) and we managed to get out with 30 seconds left. I’m not sure what they do if you don’t escape in time, but I’m sure there’s a dark room where they keep you for the rest of eternity.
NO PRESSURE, THOUGH.