The lights in the small dark room flash and the siren blares.
I squeeze my hands over my ears and squint through the porthole into the next room where my sister and brother-in-law are doing the same thing. Our eyes lock and the same thought passes between us - what do we do?!
We were sent on rescue mission days ago, submerged deep into unknown territory. We’ve just found a vessel floating desolately on the bottom of the ocean. Upon boarding the submarine, we found the surroundings eerily calm; not a single person onboard.
Suddenly, the doors air lock behind us, trapping us all in deep water, in different compartments of the ship, with only 50 minutes left in the oxygen reserve tank. We need to work together quickly to power the vessel back up and communicate our emergency to the surface before times runs out. Crikey.
In reality, we’re in Sheffield city centre, the home of The Great Escape Game, in their new ‘Submerged’ room - the UK’s most technologically advanced escape game. And it’s thrilling! Everything about my incredibly realistic surroundings is telling me I’m submerged on the bottom of the ocean and, as the siren quietens down, I can feel my adrenaline kick in. As the only one of my crew to have been trapped alone, I know I need to figure out a way to communicate with the rest of my team - and quickly.
I begin scrambling through cupboards, taking inventory of everything I have to hand.
Now obviously I can’t go into detail, but we do eventually manage to restore communications. But with no watch and no phone to hand, time loses all meaning as we work together, passing messages, codes and tools down the length of the ship. I have no idea whether we’ve been here 20 minutes or an hour by the time we finally complete the last step and the door to the escape room flies open. Phew!
We completed Submerged in 50 minutes and 20 seconds - in the very nickiest of nicks of time. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages.
The Great Escape Game boasts nine escape rooms across its Sheffield and Leeds venues, and Submerged is one of the few family-friendly games, making it an ideal way to celebrate a birthday, or even just spend a cool Sunday afternoon doing a little familial team-building.
As my family and I take a seat back in the Hell’s Pizza Emporium briefing room, a member of staff brings us two piping hot pizzas to celebrate our victory with. The American Devil pizza - with Bourbon BBQ base, mozarella, chicken and bacon - may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten.
We escaped! And we can’t wait to return!
Founder Hannah Duraid said: “The goal was to push the limits of what was possible to experience in a room, in a completely unique and immersive way. As soon as you step into this room, you’re transported into a lifelike situation that many of us would never experience. And it’s completely convincing! We’ve spared no attention to detail.”