Breakout Cardiff is a new addition to the City Centre where participants have a 60-minute time limit to find their way out of a locked room via a series of complex puzzles.

Cardiffian: someone who comes from or lives in the city of Cardiff.
On a mild, Cardiffian summer’s evening, I assembled a small crew of would-be escape artists to attempt to ‘bust on out’ of Breakout HQ. Luckily for us, Breakout ‘s convenient City Centre location – within Cardiff’s vibrant social hub The Brewery Quarterallowed us to eat some well-needed brain fuel before attempting our task.

The entrance was tucked away inconspicuously next to Brewhouse, but easy to spot as it’s clearly signposted. We headed up the stairs where our enthusiastic host greeted us and handed us our mission briefings, while briefly explaining the escape room concept.

The task sounded fairly straightforward on paper: we had to prevent an impending missile strike and escape from ‘deep behind enemy lines’ before the one-hour timer hit zero. No pressure…

We were led down the hall to a door that had the word ‘SABOTAGE’ emblazoned across it. Nick opened the door and wished us good luck, before sealing it shut – I had the sneaking suspicion that we were going to need it.

Despite being a tad claustrophobic myself, I didn’t feel remotely ‘locked in’, as it was confirmed that we could exit at any time if we really needed to – luckily, I was too busy solving complex puzzles to even think about this anyway as it turned out!

The Breakout

“Within minutes of being inside the room, I felt as though I was actually part of the covert secret mission I had been tasked with.”
Upon entry, we were met with what looked like a soldier’s mess hall; playing cards littered the table, a game of Risk was underway and military equipment was strewn about the floor. We looked at one another blankly for around five seconds, before we began to frantically bark orders at each other in unison, speaking so fast that none of us could fathom what the other was saying.

We had already fallen down at the first stage of cohesively working together as a group by a) not appointing a leader and b) having no strategy whatsoever – in hindsight; that notepad and pen were there for a reason!

The ever-decreasing timer on the wall added a 24-like intensity to the situation and I found my eyes repeatedly darting to the clock, as numbers and letters began to merge together as one.

On a number of occasions we found ourselves truly perplexed but luckily, we had a little ‘helping hand’ from up on high (Nick in the Control Room) – I say helping hand; I mean we frantically gestured towards the camera anytime we were at a loss as to where to dig next.

The timer continued to rapidly decrease towards zero, as we desperately scurried about in search of more clues; turning the entire contents of the room on its head in the process. Tick-tock…

The Result

“I can honestly say that the hour we were confined to the room, was amongst the quickest and most intense of my life.”
Despite our valiant efforts in attempting to escape, I am ashamed to say that Sabotage managed to get the better of us – if the fate of the world were truly in our hands, it would have unfortunately have been well and truly nuked.

Even though we weren’t successful, we still had an absolute blast in trying.  I’ll definitely be going back to try their other rooms, as I refuse to be defeated! Maybe I’ll bring my Gran next time, as I’m sure her Sudoku expertise will come in handy.

If you’re looking for an exciting, unique, puzzle-solving experience in the heart of the capital, look no further than Breakout Cardiff.

Rhys King spends his days lusting after premium work-wear and is partial to the odd photograph of a motorbike. A true Cardiffian, follow him on Twitter and read his travel blog here.