It’s not every day that you find yourself in an Aztec temple on a Friday lunchtime, but a few weeks ago I swapped the gloomy streets of London for a secluded sandbox in a quest for riches. Have I lost the plot? Well yes, some time ago, but I’ve also found The Crystal Maze. Start the fans!
That’s right. It’s back, 25 years after it first aired on television; but this time, it’s a live, immersive experience that anyone with a ticket can enjoy, and it’s right here in London. If you’ve got no idea what I’m talking about, take a crash course on Wikipedia, or watch this.
Team Matt The List were lucky enough to be invited along to the highly competitive press previews, lining up alongside the likes of The Guardian (filthy cheats), The Sun, and Cosmo. I assembled a crack team of 8 maze hunters of all shapes and sizes, and insisted upon a pre-game team meeting at nearby Dishoom King’s Cross where our maths expert took us through some classic Crystal Maze puzzles.
N.B. If you don’t have a full team of 8, you will be paired up with other groups on the day. On the other hand, you can book a whole session of 32 people.
After a few too many bacon and egg naans, we made our way to White Lion Street near Angel to don the famous bomber jackets and engage in friendly trash talk with rival teams from The Nudge, Londonist and Vice. Before too long, we were hustled in to the Aztec Zone for a nostalgic intro video of Richard O’Brien’s best moments, after which our mad maze master Boris burst in. And I’m not going to spoil the rest of it for you…but I will explain how it works.
Over 90 minutes or so, you will sprint around four wonderfully realised zones – Aztec, Industrial, Medieval, and Futuristic – taking on individual challenges to win crystals whilst the rest of your team shouts encouragement (abuse) from the sidelines. The team captain has to decide who to put forward each time, knowing only what type of game it will be – Physical, Mental, Skill, or Mystery. If you fail, you may find yourself locked in, forcing your team mates to give up a crystal to get you back. Why do you wants crystals? Time! More crystals = more time in the crystal dome finale to grab as much money as possible.
P.S. Keep your eyes peeled for hidden treasure in each zone, you might win your team a boozy bonus prize at the end.
This brings me to the subtitle of this post – an underdog story. It could refer to the ludcriously successful crowdfunding campaign and sure-fire smash hit that the Little Lion Entertainment guys have pulled off, but really it’s all about me. Because, after three days of extensive previews with the national press, guess who came out on top? TEAM MATT THE LIST. We absolutely smashed the dome, pipping Harper’s Bazaar to top spot on the final day with a masterful maze and money grabbing display.
Best day ever? Probably. Is it worth paying £50+ a head for a ticket? Absolutely. This is a truly unique, magical experience that you’ll be talking about with friends for years to come. Snatch some up here before they all go, they won’t be around for long.