REVIEW: New Northampton escape rooms offer a night of fraught fun

Hectic, but fun, Trapp'd brings the escape room experience to Northampton.
Hectic, but fun, Trapp'd brings the escape room experience to Northampton.

Ever wondered how you might have fared on the Crystal Maze? Want to know how you would behave in a crisis? Well, a new Northampton visitor attraction might just give you the answers.

But let's get one thing straight, you might not like what you find.

Tucked within a row of terraced houses in The Mounts, the recently opened escape rooms Trapp'd offers its guests an unusual night out.

The premise is simple. You and a group of people group of up to five others are deposited in a room you must escape from within an hour.

Drawing inspiration from the Saw series of films, Trapp'd requires teams to work together, uncovering keys by avoiding cunningly placed red herrings and deciphering visual riddles.

The Northampton venue offers visitors a choice of two rooms, Molten Creek Mine and Monosphere.

Trapp'd.

Trapp'd.

On our visit there this week, we were initially fitted with hard hats, blindfolded and led in into a faux mine complete with authentic grit and flickering lights.

We were, as the conceit would have it, trapped underground with an ever-decreasing oxygen supply.

Our only hope of survival was to cobble together our freedom from a series of journals, a roster of mine employees and a metal detector.

Needless to say the first 15 minutes were chaos.

Two escape rooms are available in Northampton - Monosphere and Molten Creek Mine.

Two escape rooms are available in Northampton - Monosphere and Molten Creek Mine.

One usually level-headed reporter took up a spade and began digging indiscriminately.

Another, convinced lights were flashing in Morse code, tried to remember a long-forgotten alphabet from his Sea Cadets days.

One of these reporters was me.

Eventually, we began to make headway, and without giving too many spoilers away, managed to escape in time.

In just over 54 minutes to be precise.

Slightly weary, but spurred on by a sense of journalistic completeness, we donned blindfolds again before heading into the second, more difficult room.

Monosphere - a nightmarish human science lab draped in black and white and lit by strobe - is even more challenging than the first.

Spirits had waned somewhat after the first room proved, maybe beyond doubt, that our daily grind of conjuring alliterated puns had, in no way, prepared us for an evening of cryptic puzzle solving.

More shouting followed. A sports reporter, who wished to remain anonymous, lay on the floor to think, or out of sheer fright. One of the two. He wished Saints had been playing that night.

True colours reveal themselves. Time pressures led to unusual decision making. Team leaders become a shadow of their daytime selves.

I walk into a curved mirror three times. Everyone saw it.

But despite our initial blind panic we escape again, exhausted. Don't ask me how.

Trapp'd might not be everyone's idea of fun on a Tuesday night. But since opening in May the interactive venue has proved to be every bit as popular as its predecessor in Corby.

As a team-building exercise with work colleagues, we reflected, this was a lot of fun.

Only 45 per cent of people make it through Monosphere without getting 'trapped', so the challenge will no doubt be an appeal to those who consider themselves puzzle experts.

The production value was great, the sound, the props, all part of a well thought-through experience.

The only downside, maybe, is that you can't really revisit the escape room once you've been once. And you might get covered in grit.

But the team there assured us the rooms would be replaced every 18 months.

Prices range from £13 to £20-per-head depending on the size of the group, with the maximum team size being six.

For more information, visit the website here.