When it comes to escape rooms, there is nothing more satisfactory than delving into a quest to save humanity, where the boundary between ‘virtual life and death’ leaves you teetering on the cliff’s edge, while the audience wait in the wings, plumped up on popcorn. For two hours you delve into a realm of magical surrealism, rushing against time to save the world (and your own neck), using artificial intelligence and ‘code breaking’ to destroy the ticking time bomb and save humanity in the process. But what is it about ‘The Grid’ that sets itself apart from all the other escape rooms making its rounds ‘around London’? Well for starters I wouldn’t categorize it as a traditional escape room whose very definition is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. In contrast while The Grid does have elements of a classic escape room with puzzles and codes for you to break or create in order to ‘save Gary’ the AI robot, I would classify it as being more of an ‘immersive theatrical experience’ with the bonus of cocktails than anything else.
Inspired by the Netflix cult classic ‘Black Mirror’ (created by Charlie Brooker) The Grid is a pop up that centers on a world that is governed by artificial intelligence. There is lab run by ‘Aida’ a sassy AI robot (whom we never see) , Gary an AI pal who you must save in your quest to preserve humanity, while a series of codes that you must infiltrate to navigate the rooms within the immersive reality, are not too dissimilar to ABQ and The Bletchley’s code breaking bars. But don’t worry: the plight of humanity and the preservation of the human race does not lie entirely on your shoulders alone. Oh no. Grouped up in teams of 5 or 6, you must work together as a team to defeat AI corp (Neosight) and save the future of humanity, without sacrificing your own life in the process. As undercover operatives you may meet a few ‘colourful characters’ along the way at The Grid who are eager to befriend you, so be careful who you trust in, as not everyone will be part of the ‘save humanity squad’. Without giving too much away, the puzzles are a lot more difficult to ‘solve’ than you may think, so the addition of complimentary cocktails are a sure-fire way to get your adrenaline going and have you saving the world in no time. In fact because you start your journey in an enclosed lab, you are even able to make your own ‘activated cocktails’ which contained the ‘nanobots’ that you needed for sassy A.I.D.A to work.
And boy was she sassy; if there was one thing that I did not expect from an escape room, it was ‘humour and laughter’ which we had in abundance. Allow me to ‘humour you’ with a wee anecdote; after activating A.I.DA through our specialist AI cocktails, A.I.D.A decided it was high time that we ‘started following the rules’ and listened to what she had to say. Naturally being a joker of sorts, I thought it would be hilarious to ask A.I.D.A as to what ‘hobbies’ she had to which she replied ‘ I have no hobbies, I am a robot programmed by humans, what are your hobbies’? To which I replied, that is ‘so emotional’, well I like to ‘eat, sing, drink, dance’ which she promptly told me ‘were not real hobbies’. Then to really stir the pot and see how ‘sassy A.I.D.A could really get I not only told her that I was a pole dancer and that dancing was real hobby-which she seemed flabbergasted about- but that her voice was ‘creepy and offputting’. She asked me why I found her creepy and I replied that it was her tone of voice, to which she replied, with a sprinkle of sass, I could say the same about you, lady in red. Touche madam , touche. Still, despite my bantering efforts, it was back to business central , as we navigated the confines of the escape rooms, and worked together to try and save humanity from all encompassing evil.
As far as ‘escape room teams’ went, we were arguably not the best, but I like to think that we made the most of our surroundings and had a jolly good time building on our ‘team work skills’ learning basic code and working out how team work could save us and the world from destruction. Sadly for Gary, our delightful AI friend, the poor guy was obliterated to smithereens – okay maybe I should have put a spoiler alert there, sue me- although that might have been because we were not able to work out the last code and broke free from our escape room prison as opposed to anything else. Chances are that if you are fantastic at escape rooms or are good at thinking outside the box, then good ol’ Gary will not wither before your very own eyes. Unfortunately for us, we were all terrible people and couldn’t work out how to save Gary from inevitable death. But on a lighter note- I promise no spoilers here- the next ‘chambers of secrets’ holds a far more welcoming reality , as you are entertained by a salsa-ing construction worker who ‘rings the president up for vegan chicken nuggets’ and exclaims how happy he is to have us as friends. Which is quite sweet really. Except if you are not extra like me, you might not be the one asking the questions about food and drink, so chances are you might have a far more subdued form of entertainment, so be sure to ask him about vegan chicken nuggets. He gets very excited!
Have You Ever Been To An Escape Room Before?
Please note we were given complimentary escape room visits but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by complimentary services. This is in conjunction with Love Pop Ups London