I’m inside a derelict building and I’m locked in a room with a college friend in Budapest. It’s ok, we’re here voluntarily. After researching top things to do in Budapest, we stumbled across the emerging popularity of room escape games. It’s a live action game, like a cross between a spy novel and crystal maze. We’re given 60 minutes to break out. Equipped with just your logic and resourcefulness, the room is riddled with padlocks, numerical codes and assortments of old objects to rifle through.
A plain and unassuming door marks the entrance to Claustrophilia. Sandwiched between a local bakery and a supermarket, I did not notice the door until my friend gives me a dig in the ribs, pointing out the Claustrophilia sign secured on a discreet window above us.
We’re buzzed in, leaving the busy intersection of Oktogon behind us. There isn’t a person in sight as we proceed up a shadowy staircase. The door opens with a gentle creak as Sophia and I enter a room adorned with peculiar portraits, a primeval locked chest and hanging Victoria bowler hats. We approach a dilapidated stool with a letter for us from Lord Wicklewood.
We sign the letter and post it through. Sophia and I merely hover in the room after this, a feeling I can describe no better then pure British awkwardness. Where do I start? Can I mess up the room? What do we do? We start to peer around the room politely, like casually pondering where we should sit in a tearoom.
It takes a full ten minutes of gentle investigative work before the adrenaline kicks in. I glance at the clock and the gravity of the situation hits me. You have 48 minutes to get out! 12 minutes wasted on polite probing. I start to rip apart the room with Sophia, like a frenzied child in a sweet shop. I jump to knock off objects above me, collect eccentric objects and roll across the floor searching for clues, hidden keys and codes.
We start to struggle and a watchful eye obviously watches us in bemusement. A voice hollers from a intercom embedded in the wall, throwing out a casual clue for us to pry even closer in areas we missed. With every discovery came a burst of elated happiness. It took me a while to realise that with every clue we solved, we delved deeper and deeper into the twists and turns of the game, like a competing against a chess player with the ability to mind read.
Without ruining too much, the set up of Claustrophilia is authentic, intelligent and extremely thrilling. Do not let the small introductory room fool you. Sophia and I failed to escape this one, falling into the 66% of contenders who failed to beat the gamemaker.
- I did the escape room as 2 people (with my college buddy). The room can take up to five and both Sophia and I agreed that 4 would be an optimum team number. 2 made it very challenging.
- Claustrophilia is Budapest’s top room escape game. It is 8000 HUF for 2 people (approx £9.00 each).
- I booked Claustrophilia just a few days prior to arriving in Budapest. The booking is payable in cash on arrival.
- Keep your eyes peeled. Even though the venue is located on a main road, the door is unmarked and discreet.
- I’ve done 1 room escape game before and managed to complete it (Cluequest, London) with my sisters. I’ve loved room escape games ever since this.
- I can’t recommend this activity enough! I was buzzing for the rest of the day.
- Any in-game tips? Don’t hover at the start like we did. Be quick, resourceful and observant. Open books, search metal grates and pick up every prop you see.