Review: The Crystal Maze
Remember the 90’s classic television game show ‘The Crystal Maze’? Now you can play it for yourself and see how well you fare against the labyrinth of challenges. We took a short train ride to Manchester to put ourselves to the test.
On arrival at the venue you are greeted by friendly staff who explain how you will spend your 90 minute session. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t familiar with the TV show – you are guided every step of the way by your very own maze master – ours was ‘Mr Mary’, who was entertainingly quirky, true to the original presenters of the Crystal Maze.
Typically a group consists of eight people, with two being chosen as captain and vice-captain. Groups collectively come up with a team name and then…the games begin. There are four different realms in the maze – aztec, industrial, futuristic and medieval. Each zone contains various types of challenges lasting 2-3 minutes each. It’s the captain’s job to pick which contestants face a physical (emphasis on being agile, strong and flexible), mental (basically literacy or mathematical puzzles), skill (testing dexterity and marksmanship) or mystery (who knows?!) game – all with the same end goal of obtaining a crystal. The difficulty level of the challenges and the skillsets needed vary, so the choice of who does which game is an important one to maximise the chance of getting the crystal. That being said, you only get a limited amount of time in each zone, so the quicker you choose who plays, the more games you get to play.
You’ll recognise some of the challenges from the original TV show, it can go from bouldering, shooting and swinging to puzzle solving, navigating and coordinating. Whilst you’re playing, your team mates can communicate with you by yelling advice through the windows so you’re not entirely on your own! Each crystal is worth five seconds towards the final game in the famous dome, where the aim is to collect as many flying tokens being blown around aggressively by fans as possible. Sounds easy enough right?
Overall, it is very similar to The Crystal Maze that so many know and love but there are a few differences. The totting up of the tokens system is slightly different at the dome and luckily, you cannot be locked into any of the games like you can on the TV version. If you do fail your lock-in task, you are given a riddle to solve, or a crystal has to be sacrificed to bail you out. Apart from that, the set is authentic, the challenges are tougher than you think and it is just as fun as it looks! The renowned Crystal Maze theme tune is played throughout the different zones which adds to the fun as you sprint/crawl/slide from game to game.
Photographs for memorabilia are taken throughout the adventure and you even get the opportunity to wear the famous crystal maze bomber jackets. In the end, your results are revealed on the scoreboard and you can compare how you did with other teams (our team tallied up 263 points which was just short of the all-time top scorers – damn). Unfortunately, there are no prizes but you can purchase the professional photographs to take away with you, or just grab them from the Crystal Maze Facebook page. As you can see, this immersive experience is great for team bonding as you support and cheer each other on all the way.
All in all, The Crystal Maze live experience was jam-packed with magic and mayhem and definitely worth checking out! Head here for more info.