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.
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.