July 08, 2019
The Crystal Maze has come to London and we decided to try out the experience as part of a large group to see if we could accomplish what so many could not – solving the puzzles and winning some crystals! Newly opened in Shaftesbury Avenue, the Crystal Maze Live Experience in London is just a short walk from Piccadilly tube station and brings thrills, surprises and more. How did we get on? Let’s find out!
Ordinarily groups book as an eight; if there are fewer people then it’s possible that others will join your foray into the Maze. We ran around the puzzles as a group of seven and didn’t experience any adverse complications, though naturally by the time we got into the Crystal Dome we were one pair of hands down on everybody else. Undeterred, we decided to crack on and see if we could get ourselves onto the leader board!
After arriving in good time, we were told to head to the lockers and dispense of bags, phones and other paraphernalia before meeting our host who ensures that you will be safe throughout. She ran through how the game works before sending us into the Crystal Maze holding area where we were greeted by our flamboyant and exuberant Master of the Maze Bottomley, who is every bit as free-spirited and fun as presenters Richard O’ Brien or Ed Tudor Pole in the original series' which is, let’s be honest, exactly what we want!
Much like the television show, The Crystal Maze Live Experience is great entertainment takes you through the four zones – Medieval, Futuristic, Industrial and Aztec – in order to take on games that are categorised as being Skill, Mental, Physical or Mystery. Without going into too much detail on this, every single puzzle is well thought out and will remind you of the TV programme to the nth degree; every member of the team can watch and encourage as the person taking on the puzzle struggles through, whilst the sets are absolutely immaculate. You really do feel as though you are trapped in the Maze!
Since it would be remiss to explain each and every puzzle (and take away from the fun!) we will simply say that there is definitely enough here for people to enjoy. With 32 possible puzzles to play through, you only play 16 on the day so there’s definitely a chance you’ll want to pop back and play some more! One doesn’t have to be too fit to play either; the physical challenges are ones that all people could do, though it might help to have a good eye for certain games, whilst for others you may have to don a costume. We completely failed at some and quickly got through some others. A few prizes are available for some completed puzzles but, err, we didn’t complete those! Some games also carry an instant lock-in with gamers unfortunately having to be bailed out with one of your hard-earned crystals.
All in all, we managed to win 6 of the first 8 games and felt like we were in pole position to do well. Alas, what followed is some of the foremost ineptitude ever to (presumably) grace the game. We got complacent and promptly won just 1 of the last 8, receiving a crystal that had to be given back just a few games later when our Captain got locked in. Oops. Still, we had a decent amount of crystals to give the Dome a good go and with each one being worth 5 seconds each, just how many golden tickets would we get in time?
Well… 135 was our score, which from the leader board was about average. We certainly gave the game a good go and had a lot of fun doing it. With various bits of crawling, stumbling down ladders and gracefully descending slides, it was a huge amount of fun packed into a tight running time (roughly ninety minutes) and we all felt it was definitely worth trying. At around £60 a person, it’s not cheap but you also won’t forget it in a hurry! As with most parts of the entertainment industry, you get what you pay for.
For more information on booking tickets for The Crystal Maze Live Experience, plase feel free to see their website.
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By Henry Fosdike