Some may know it only because they’ve spied its strikingly orange exterior while sitting in a traffic jam on the way to Altrincham Retail Park.
But for those that have been to Code to Exit on Manchester Road, such as the dozens who have posted five-star reviews on Google, one of Altrincham’s best-kept secrets is in their words “incredibly clever”, “brilliantly planned” and “awesome fun”.
And now Andras Toth and Zolton Sos, the friendly Hungarian entrepreneurs behind it, are challenging anyone from 10 to 100 to see how quickly they can escape from the three ingeniously designed rooms that lay beyond the orange frontage.
“Most people’s reaction is ‘wow’,” says Andras, who was a cameraman on Hungary’s equivalent of Coronation Street before moving his young family to Altrincham seven years ago. “At the end of the game everyone is smiling – and two or three people have even been quite emotional.”
Code to Exit is part of the growing global craze for breakout or escape room games – in Andras and Zolton’s home city of Budapest alone, there are over 80 such games hidden in ruin bars, cellars and even private apartments.
To complete novices to this particular genre of activity, think of it as a real-life board game or perhaps a scaled-up version of one of those problem-solving challenges on The Crystal Maze.
The idea is simple: participants are locked for an hour in one of three completely different rooms – the 50s-themed Blueprint room, where the aim is to find the blueprints of the hydrogen bomb; the Forger room, where you must locate the original among a wall of forged paintings; and the Dark Ages basement room, where the search for the Holy Grail is made very real indeed.
To get out, they must work together to solve a sequence of puzzles and riddles, guided gently by Andras and Zolton via a camera and microphone in a separate room.
It all adds up to a surprising and refreshingly device-free experience that is the definition of fun for all the family.
“Our kids are always playing with electronic things – phones, tablets, televisions,” adds Andras. “This game brings the whole family together – we’ve had three and four generations playing – and it gives you a rare opportunity to just play a game with your kids or grandkids, with no other distractions.
“We’re also popular with companies looking for a team-bonding exercise with a difference,” says Zolton, “and we have people who come back time and again to try a new room or beat their escape time.
“It’s funny that with most of our customers, the first thing they want to do after escaping from the room is to go straight back in again.”
We’ve teamed up with Code to Exit to offer players a 20% discount on any game. To claim yours, enter ALT-TODAY when booking online here: https://www.codetoexit.com/