Prisoner cell block escape

Omescape – The Penitentiary

They say you should never judge a book by its cover, which is handy for Omescape because if you did it would be closed by now. Located in North London, they have gone for an interesting vibe – instead of welcoming and friendly it looks more like a murder warehouse. That being said, I grew up with horror films, and I know people who are alive after doing the venue, so I entered anyway!

The Penitentiary is a weird storyline involving a serial killer who has escaped his cell but now trapped you there and so you need to follow his trail to also escape or he will come back and murder you. It’s not overly clear but basically you are in a cell and you need to get out. I guess this is where the murder warehouse feel of the place really works – because I did feel like if I didn’t escape I might actually die. It’s also designed for up to 7 people.

The game features a really interesting start, separating the teams into two groups and putting them in different locked rooms before they come together for the rest of the game. It’s a really unique way to begin an escape room, and plays well into the theme. The whole game is full of lots of interesting twists and surprise moments with puzzles that are logical enough, often very tactile and plentiful in nature. It’s a mix of tech based ones and padlocks, and the venue is bigger than expected.

Unfortunately it has a few bottlenecks where you can’t progress without solving a certain puzzle – meaning a large chunk of the group may just stand in a corridor or in a room without even being able to see whats going on or having any input. In my opinion, there is nothing enjoyable about feeling like you haven’t done much or that someone else has solved the room for everyone else, and whilst not having much to do at the start is understandable (you are discovering things) at the end it leaves a lasting impression – especially when the end itself isn’t overly satisfying because the experience unexpectedly just ends.

There is nothing wrong with the penitentiary as a room, and I didn’t die in either real life or storyline so I can’t hold that against them, there are just too many points where the flow of the puzzles dips, or you’re all watching one person do a puzzle. However rooms for large numbers are hard to come by, and for that reason alone it’s probably worth a visit.

About Danny Hooper

Hi, my name is Danny I am a game designer and puzzle enthusiast living in London who can often can be found drawing stickmen, playing board games or thinking about burgers. Growing up with two brothers gave me an over competitive nature which comes in really handy for my main hobby - doing escape rooms. I've done these across the world, winning competitions and setting numerous records along as the way as well as maintaining a 100% record of escaping. My favourite games and puzzles often include numbers or abstract colours and patterns and I recently learnt how to escape a straight jacket (which came in handy surprisingly quickly)

Check Also

That shrinking feeling – An escape room review

Cluequest – CQ Origenes It’s back to the spy agency to explore the origins …