We got hooked on escape rooms about three years ago and must have done about six or seven of them by now. A couple of weeks before this year’s Halloween we started looking around for scary stuff to do for the scariest of all days and came across “Psychopath’s Den”, a one-hour escape room experience for two to five persons above 16. Prices range from £25 to £45 per person. We came with a friend of ours and our team of three paid £30 per person, which is very reasonable compared with many other providers.
AIM Escape, who run this escape room experience, are located no more than two or three minutes’ walk from Aldgate East. Different from some other escape rooms, the path to the room feels perfectly safe any time of day or night. (Many other escape rooms are located in warehouse districts or otherwise unsafe parts of town.)
The business had slowed down due to Covid, so we were the only guests in the reception room, when we arrived 15 minutes before the scheduled start, as requested. The lady at the reception was helpful and friendly. We were shown how to use the lockers and given the recommendation not to get rid of too many layers, as the room was going to be slightly below the usual room temperature. As with every room, you are not allowed to bring your mobile phone or camera.
All photos including feature photo (c) AIM Escape
The background story is simple: you and your friends have just woken up with terrible headaches inside a dungeon-like room adorned with blood splatter, torture instruments that have clearly been used recently, and other creepy accessories. The room is lit very dimly in red. You, with your brilliant Sherlock Holmes kind-of mind take only seconds to ascertain that all doors are locked. While the adrenaline makes your heart go fast and you are nearing your panic threshold, a guy that sounds about as chirpy and cheerful as the serial murder from The Saw makes an announcement over the creaky intercom.
More than anything else, he is clearly aiming to taunt and intimidate us, to play with our minds. But when we and our friend let his short speech replay in our minds, we discover several hints. There is no time to lose. We assign one third of the room to each of us and start following up on his clues.
It feels like an eternity, when we finally manage to put all discovered clues in order and successfully open the door to the next room. Over the next 50 minutes we are dealing with jars of body parts, a crematorium, more torture instruments, industrial heavy-duty lifting equipment, writing on the wall, you name it. If it’s something you’d expect in a psychopath’s den, then you’ll certainly find it here. If you don’t expect it, then it’s probably also lurking around the corner somewhere.
In comparison with other escape rooms we did, we would call this one medium in terms of difficulty. However, we were a small team, I am pretty useless with these challenges, and our friend had never done an escape room before. So Ms B on her own struggled to get us out of the den all by herself and we used our walkie-talkie on various occasions to get clues from the operator, who followed our every step over CCTV.
In the end, we were only one step away from making it out of the room, but time ran out, so no winners this time around. We had had an absolutely fabulous time, though. Reading through some other reviews it seems that we are not the only ones who felt that this was just the right amount of scary. You never feel like you might have to change your pants, but it does deliver all the fun and more of watching a PG15 rated horror movie with friends. 4.25 out of 5 in our book.
We will almost certainly be back for more soon, probably to check out the two-hour outdoor AR experience.
Looking for more escape room experiences in and around London? Check out our posts about ‘The Game Is Now – The Official Sherlock Holmes Escape Room Experience‘, Alastair Moon’s House, both London, or Heaven and Hell in Cambridge. Crime Scene Live at the Natural History Museum in London was also a lot of fun.
For food, fun, travel, and adventure, feel welcome to eyeball our articles about the Cambridge Food Tour, peasants’ food turning posh, our visit to Landshut, Germany, our one-month stay in Papua New Guinea, and our ride on a jetlev.