As we wound through the eerily quiet, bright white corridors of Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory, we wondered if the afternoon’s adventure had already begun. We were on our way to Lockd, a newish escape game in South London that promised to challenge our wits, Crystal Maze-style, and take our minds off the tragic reality of imminent work after a four day weekend.
None of us – five intelligentish twenty-somethings – had ever tried one of these games before, which in retrospect is mental because we’re all fiends for a good head-scratcher. I, for one, spent half my teenage years doing online point-and-click escape puzzles; James 1 and I are keen cryptic crossword fans; and nights out with Mike often culminate in tipsy attempts to smash our PB on Sporcle’s US States quiz. (Current record: 2 minutes 52 seconds. Boom!)
In short, Lockd combines both my love of puzzles with my ongoing quest to find cool things to do in London.
It’s very difficult to talk too much about it without giving the game away, but essentially you are shut in a room and given an hour to work through a series of clues, the successful solving of which will result in your freedom (and a comedy photograph, see below!) Each scenario is designed by the Lockd co-founders – a cryptographer and a physicist – and throws up a number of different challenges, from clue hunting to ‘outside the box’ thinking and logic puzzles.
Currently there are two games to choose from: ‘Museum Warehouse’, which involves recovering a set of incredibly ugly but apparently priceless artefacts, and ‘Grandpa’s Last Will’, in which you must recover the last wishes of your eccentric but sadly deceased Grandpa Neil (who probably spent his last few bob constructing an elaborate treasure hunt to bamboozle his grasping relatives, but never mind). We played both games (and set records for both!), and found ‘Museum Warehouse’ to be a little more difficult, so if you’re a keen problem-solver, pick that one.
At first glance these things look quite expensive, but the cost split between five people (£99) is actually less than the price of a ticket to the Electric Cinema or a truly unremarkable meal at Byron Burger, and it’s a damn sight more memorable. Even with a smaller number of players, the cost is only £88 for four (£22pp) or £77 for three (£26.66pp).
We had such a great afternoon, and it was nice to do something too that didn’t involve getting trashed or gorging ourselves into a collective bank holiday stupor. Apparently the Lockd guys are working on a third puzzle, too (involving LASERS) so we’ll definitely be going back in the next couple of months. Watch this space.
Pro tip: make a day of your trip to Bermondsey and visit The Arch climbing wall too, which is next door.