clueQuest Print + Cut + Escape
Well known for creating established Escape Rooms in the heart of London (with a SOLID 5 rating on TripAdvisor), clueQuest have created a brand new product to experience the thrill of escaping, from the safety and comfort of your own home! Fantastic!
clueQuest’s Print + Cut + Escape has made it on to my Top 10 Lockdown Activities, published on June 1st 2020.
Reacting instinctively to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic, the creative minds over at clueQuest knew that they were soon to be unable to deliver the popular Escape Room experience. Thinking on their feet, they created a brand new 3 part series – Print + Cut + Escape, and it’s exactly as it sounds! It’s a series of play-at-home Escape Room styled games, with both physical and digital props and interactions. You choose who to play with, and it can all be done online via Zoom – so long as each player has access to a printer and scissors to prepare the tools, you’re good to go! Don’t worry though, you can still take part if you don’t own any of these, by ordering a pre-prepared, ready to play version over on their website by clicking here.
I interviewed the CEO and Founder of clueQuest, Zoli Papp, to get an insight into the creative minds behind this new creation.
What is clueQuest, and what’s your role within the company?
clueQuest was one of the first live escape rooms in the UK. Since 2013, we have hosted games for over 300,000 customers. From building our own escape rooms to designing bespoke pop-up games for events, our in-house team of designers and creatives work around the clock to deliver five star team experiences. I am CEO and co-founder, along with my three brothers.
With lockdown being imposed across the UK, how does your new latest product, Print+Cut+Escape compare to the real thing?
In many respects Print+Cut+Escape! is a completely different experience to our live games. For one thing, it’s played at home, using printed cut-outs and an online game system. But at the same time, we’ve tried to retain the core of the usual clueQuest experience – the same challenging puzzles, created by our own in-house team, and the same careful design and attention to detail. We’ve also been able to incorporate some video and audio on the online game system, acted out by our team, to retain the same sense of theatre you would expect from our live games. We’ve also amped up our presence on social media to give the same feeling of connection and care for our customers.
How long did it take you to come up with the idea, from concept to rollout?
By mid-March, even before the lockdown was imposed in the UK, it was clear that we needed to pivot our experience. To be frank, we were seeing the lowest booking levels we ever had since opening our doors in 2013. We formed a crisis meeting among the four founders and decided to produce a print-at-home game. We had seen a couple of escape rooms come out with something similar, and while we were keen to release it as soon as possible, we also wanted to create something that was up to the same standard our customers have come to expect from our in-person experiences.
Episode 1 of Print+Cut+Escape! was released at the beginning of April, some three weeks after the idea was first thrown around. On the weekend of the 18th April we reached 2,000 sales, which meant we committed to releasing at least two more episodes. The second was released on the 12th May and we now working on the third.
What do you hope your players can take from this play-at-home experience?
At clueQuest, our mission is to bring people together through shared experiences. This hasn’t changed, even if we do it slightly differently under a lockdown situation. Now more than ever it’s so important for people to stay connected, and Print+Cut+Escape! helps them achieve that.
More than that, however, Print+Cut+Escape! allows people to enjoy a bit of escapism together. Since we launched, we’ve received so many questions from people about how they can play the game virtually with friends (we have since put together a guide). We’ve also had so much feedback that people appreciate the chance to get together and discuss something other than the current situation. We can’t help anyone escape the lockdown literally, but we can certainly help them to escape figuratively!
SPOILER: What’s your favourite part of the Print+Cut+Escape game?
For me, the most rewarding part of Print+Cut+Escape! is hearing about how it is helping our customers in this difficult time. Of course, nothing can compare to the work of our NHS staff and essential workers, but it’s so nice to know that we can also play a role in our own way.
For example, receiving a thank you note from a French-born customer living in the UK, who was able to play Print+Cut+Escape! with her parents on Zoom; or another who played with his sister who’s living in Saudi Arabia. We were also contacted by a couple who had each purchased a copy of Print+Cut+Escape! as a surprise for one another without realising. We were glad to refund them the difference, but they were happy to pass the additional copy on to another friend instead.
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the Print + Cut + Escape experience. From the very first email you get, with the included PDF to download and print, to the online portal that moves you along your quest. Each step seemed to be perfectly crafted and polished to a high degree.
I especially enjoyed how intricate some of the puzzles were and, without spoiler, working out how to proceed can sometimes be tricky, but as soon as you realise what you need to do, it’s incredibly rewarding! The physical paper that you prepare pre-game becomes a fundamental part of the experience, and to see how they all connect is incredible!
Working with my friends to complete each Chapter was huge fun, as we all found different pieces of the puzzle and worked collectively to achieve the end goal. Even via Zoom and not in person, this worked flawlessly, and I applaud this system. It just works!
The online aspects are well produced and create the feeling that you’re taking part in something much bigger than just in your household. You’re on a much wider mission that needs to be solved, and as the clock is ticking, you’ve gotta get it done! I applaud the use of the clock in a non-intrusive way, though it does create a sense of “let’s do this”, but without the worry of “losing”. Brilliantly done!
I can’t WAIT to experience Episode 2,
due to roll out over the next few weeks AVAILABLE NOW on the clueQuest website.
A massive thank you to clueQuest for inviting me to experience Episode 1, and thanks to Zoli Papp for the interview.
To take part in your own quest, head on over to the official clueQuest website at www.cluequest.co.uk