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Review: The Prison - Lucardo, Manchester

Room Story - from Lucardo

You and your team of criminals are due to be checked into the Category A prison facility in Manchester after committing a series of crimes. As hardened criminals you have connections on the inside - they are staging a riot allowing you the opportunity to try and escape. Time will be limited. You will need to use deception, bribery and skill to attempt this escape. Get caught and you will never get to see the outside world again. - If you suffer with a disability or medical condition, please call prior to booking this game.

Key Stats

Room NameThe Prison
LocationManchester, UK
Escape Time43:03
Team Size3
My Recommended Team Size3 - 4


We’ve managed to get this far playing escape rooms without playing a single prison themed room. That run was always going to come to an end, and I think we’ve probably done it with one of the best prison themed rooms around. This is not an ordinary escape room, this is an immersive prison simulation. This game isn’t about solving puzzles, it’s about completing realistic physical actions to make your escape.

Knowing the quality of Lucardo’s games I had high expectations, but there’s always a niggling doubt that a prison themed room is going to consist of you padlocked and handcuffed in a cage in a bland room. This game is so far from that. It’s an elaborately themed experience that tries and succeeds in not using any of the typical things you’d find in an escape room.

Our game was hosted by Prison Mike (no not that one).

Mike was an excellent host, instantly in character from the moment we left the waiting room. There was no traditional briefing in this game. We were marched into our cell and given our orders. They used a clever way to communicate the aim of the game that fit really well with the theme.

And that’s when we started to break all the escape room rules you have drummed into you. You’re taught not to unscrew things and not to shortcut things, but this game undoes all that as the tasks you face are all based on physical actions – not solving puzzles. It’s actually really hard not to overthink things and to encourage yourself to try things that’s usually you’re not supposed to do. We certainly overcomplicated quite a few things in the game. Combined with our poor searching, that slowed us down quite a bit.

There is a bit of a live actor element to this game, but it’s clear when this is going to happen and you don’t directly interact with them. It’s done really well and fits great with the theme, adding a bit of tension and anticipation. We escaped with plenty of time left on the clock, but the realism does create a feeling of pressure throughout the game that left us feeling like we were running out of time. It has a really great frantic ending that we all really loved. It also very satisfyingly ties up any loose ends... you’ll know what I mean if you play it.

Lucardo have created something a little bit different here. It’s an escape room by name and by nature (because you do escape), but it shuns a lot of the typical things you’d expect to find in one. They’ve created a really immersive experience that’s all about physical actions. The fantastic acting from the host also really added to the game. It’s definitely a game that’s worth playing!

The team were Beth, Becky and Daniel.


Overall A very unique and immersive experience that throws away some traditional escape room rules. A really excellent game.
Difficulty It’s not a difficult game – but it’s one that we frequently over complicated.
Fun It feels more like a prison simulation game than an escape room. Really great fun!
Puzzles This game isn’t about puzzles. There are undoubtedly puzzle-esque things, but everything is physical in nature. If you want lots of complex intertwined puzzles, this isn’t the game for you.
Immersion The game is fantastically and realistically themed. The excellent hosting notches the immersion up to another level.
Surprises There are quite a few big moments in this game, with some nice twists and turns.