Ever dreamed of testing your skill inside the Crystal Maze? Now’s your chance!
London’s open-to-the-public Crystal Maze experience was a crowdfunded sensation back in June 2015, smashing its target on a wave of 90s-kid nostalgia that even predated its return to our TV screens. It launched to widespread acclaim for one simple reason: it’s thrillingly, geekily, exactly like the telly show. And today, they’ve thrown open the doors to their brand new maze in the old Trocadero, at the heart of the West End.
We tried it when it was over in Angel, and it was bloody awesome then – so a maze which is three times the size, equipped with 32 new games, and also boasts its own stylish bar, is just next level cool. Once you’ve donned one of those legendary bomber jackets, you’re ready to dive into a pure, unadulterated nostalgia trip.
Stepping into the maze as part of a team of eight, you’ll be accompanied by your own professional Maze Master: part-judge, part-jester and irrepressible cheerleader who, in our experience, could go toe-to-toe with O’Briens, Tudor-Poles and Ayoades for ironic asides and madcap energy.
Clambering, sliding, and running through four zones (Aztec, Medieval, Futuristic, and Industrial), you’ll take on games of skill, physical and mental challenges, and the odd mystery. In pursuit of those all-important crystals, you’ll be solving puzzles, shooting crossbows, cracking codes and more besides.
Just as you’d expect, teammates can assist and offer advice through portals into each game. Alternatively, they might all scream mutually contradictory things at you, until you melt into a puddle of tears – hey, it happens…
Amongst the maddening challenges to be found in the Crystal Maze is the infamous PLANETS game, as popularised by the hapless TV show contestant from this viral clip. Here’s hoping you make easier work of it than he did.
After eighty exhilarating minutes and (for us) sixteen games completed, it’s onto the Crystal Dome. As fans of the show will know, crystals buy you time in the dome, but in the event of an embarrassingly low score (the all-time lowest, we’re told, was ‘negative four’) you’ll probably get to frolic inside anyway.
You’ll be facing off against up to three rival teams for an added competitive frisson. The cry of ‘START THE FANS’ goes up, and then it’s one final push to grab as many glittering tokens as possible, before your final score is revealed, and your place on the leaderboard decided.
Basically, it’s an absolute hoot. If you’ve got a big birthday, work party, hen or stag do in the offing – or just really want to show off to your mates how good you are at dodging lasers – you’d be mad to miss it. Start the fans!
Location: 22-32 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EU. Nearest station is Piccadilly Circus. See them on Google Maps.
Entry: Over 13s only, and booking in advance is essential. Teams are eight people: groups smaller than this will usually be combined with others. You can book tickets here.
More information: head to their website.
Still feeling the competitive itch? London is full of inventive games and activities that will puzzle and delight in equal measure!
Also published on Medium.