Review: Hand Made Mysteries – Lady Chastity’s Reserve

Scary is an understatement for the Lady Chastity’s Reserve escape room. It’s clear this isn’t your traditional, run-of-the-mill escape room from the moment you meet your creepily alluring game master and are taken up the rickety stairs of Hope Pub in Farringdon.

Once you’re inside the room, your heart starts pounding, and it isn’t because you’re racing against the clock, it’s because you want to come out of the room alive! By far the most atmospheric, immersive escape room I’ve played so far, Lady Chastity’s Reserve is not for the easily scared or faint-hearted. Not only because the set design is fantastic, the game master is incredibly in-character and frightening, the soundscape and lighting design is exceptional… but because this game is hard.

Battling against a dimly lit room and creeping around so as to not step on a rotting corpse, you are immediately battling elements that slow down game solving effectiveness. On top of that, the lack of a timer in the room and not having a regular electronic clue system make you almost forget you’re racing against the clock and instead get lost in a heady mix of Black Mirror and American Horror Story.

This is the first room I’ve played where we didn’t even get close to escaping, and my guess is that’s a regular occurrence. Escaping is certainly possible but may be dependent on how generous the game master is in giving a helping hand. Ours helped but only after we’d lost a significant amount of time. Our first time check came when there was only 20 minutes to go – and weren’t even half way through the puzzles.

Or perhaps the problem stems from when the timer begins. Does the timer start when we start walking up the stairs, removing our coats and listening to the fantastically entertaining but also time consuming Lady Chastity story? Without a timer it’s unclear when the 60 minutes begins. We had a fantastic time in such a brilliant immersive environment but felt either the timer began to early, the game was too hard or we weren’t given enough help to achieve a sense of satisfaction in completing tasks and even getting close to escape.

Hand Made Mysteries is onto a brilliant escape room trade. With rooms across London and in Brighton, it’s clear they’re dedicated and fantastic at assembling immersive and thrilling experiences. With a bit more guidance on the ‘escaping the room’ side of things to give more game play satisfaction, Lady Chastity’s Reserve is certainly up there for a ‘must try’ escape room experience in London. Us at London Escape Room Guide are definitely keen to try their second room, Poppa Plock’s Wonky Workshop.

Lady Chastity’s Reserve costs £108 for 4 people. It’s hard to say whether more people would help or hinder as it’s a very methodical game where the group needs to concentrate on one task at a time. Two would likely escape in the same amount of time as four.

SCORE

Overall: 8/10
Fun: 8/10
Atmosphere: 10/10
Room design: 8/10
Game design: 6/10
Pace: 7/10
Creativity of puzzles: 7.5/10
Story integration: 10/10
Foyer: 6/10
Difficulty level: expert

For more information or to book, visit: www.handmademysteries.com or call +44 207 8673 736. Hand Made Mysteries is available at multiple locations across London and Brighton. We visited The Hope, Farringdon (94 Cowcross St, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 6BH). They’re a 3 minute walk from Farringdon Station.

London Escape Room Guide team members: Maryann, Natalie, Emma, Penny.

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