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Review: Tortuga Pirates - Escape Reality, Manchester

Room Story - from Escape Reality

Port Royal, 1718. Piracy in the Caribbean is spreading more than ever. You are the Captain of the famous Mariposa ship. Your crew has formed a mutiny and locked you and some of your friends in the prison of your ship. But you can’t stay there, you need to complete the mission you were undertaking: to find Derdrake’s treasure buried somewhere in Tortuga Island. You need the treasure to get rid of a terrible curse that will transform you into a spectre. You need to hurry, the prophecy will come true with the First Moon.

Key Stats

Room NameTortuga Pirates
VenueEscape Reality
LocationManchester, UK
Escape Time36:00
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size3 - 5


Escape Reality Manchester is based in a great location in the heart of the main shopping area of the city centre. It’s in the Printworks surrounded by lots of a restaurants, a cinema, a gym and an indoor adventure golf course – so after your escape, there’s a whole day out waiting for you.

On arrival, we headed upstairs to a large waiting area complete with a bar and were taken down a winding corridor, passing lots of doors on our way to our room. It’s definitely a large and impressive venue! At the room to our door, we were given a standard safety briefing before being taken inside to be told about the story of the room.

In most escape rooms, the most common method of clue delivery is via a screen in the room with the host monitoring via video and microphone. Escape Reality only monitor the video in the room and provide an iPad that you can use to scan various QR codes around the room for a hint once every 10 minutes. If you get really stuck, there’s also a clue switch to request the host to come into the room. I’m not a fan of either of the clueing methods – I much prefer to be given clues when the host knows I need them, rather than asking for or getting them myself. It’s down to personal preference, but during the game we didn’t need any clues so it wasn’t an issue!

As soon as you enter the room, you can see that a lot of effort has been put in to create a nicely themed space. The entire room is wood panelled and lamp lit, giving a really realistic feeling of being in the hold of a ship. You start the game imprisoned with a few simple tasks to release yourselves to explore the rest of the ship.

Once you’re in the main part of the ship, there are a number of props to explore and various pirate ship themed puzzles dotted around the room. The puzzles made use of maps, codes and directions to fit in well with the theme of the room. We found all of the puzzles to be well signposted, logical and with an appropriate level of clues to help you solve them. The only mistake we made a few times in the game was approaching something the wrong way round! A few attempts and we got there.

There’s a nice moment when you unlock the final door in the room and walk out onto the deck of the ship. The good level of theming continues - it’s a really cool space complete with a big steering wheel, blue skies and a sandy beach. The final series of puzzles involve you steering the ship in order to reach and unlock a large treasure chest. Your treasure is a successful escape from the room.

Escape Reality have created a really nicely themed room with fun, well flowing puzzles. We played a room at another Escape Reality venue a long time ago and didn’t enjoy it at all – however, this was a completely different experience. The Manchester venue feels high quality with friendly hosting and an impressive reception and photography area. We really enjoyed ourselves and rattled through the room in a very fast 36 minutes. I imagine teams of enthusiasts may find the room a little too easy. However, I think it’s a fantastic room that beginners and families will absolutely love. We all agreed that we’d definitely go back and play some of their other games.

Disclaimer: We weren’t charged to play this game.

The team were Beth, Daniel and Becky.


Overall The good pirate ship theming and well flowing puzzles made this a really fun room. It may be a little too easy for some escape room enthusiasts, but I can see escape room beginners and families loving this room.
Difficulty We found it to be a fairly straightforward game. All the puzzles were logical, flowed well together and were well signposted with appropriate clues.
Fun We found the game a lot of fun. The puzzles were satisfying to solve and it was good fun exploring the pirate ship.
Puzzles The game has many linear, individual puzzles all nicely ship themed – think maps, compasses and navigation. There aren’t any big showpiece, multi-part puzzles so this makes the game quite straightforward in places.
Immersion They’ve done an excellent job creating an immersive space with a realistic feeling ship complete with brig, wood panelled hold and a deck!
Surprises The room has an instant wow-factor when you first enter and see the nicely themed space. As you go through the room, you uncover more of the impressively themed ship.