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Review: The Crystal Maze Experience 2019

8 May 2019 Kate Plummer

The 90’s were responsible for some truly weird and wonderful pop culture phenomena: tamagotchis, hair mascara, Edd the Duck. And while we’re more than happy to let the majority of those trends die in their decade (sorry Edd), when everyone’s favourite TV game show The Crystal Maze was given a new lease of life back in 2016 as an immersive theatrical experience, a whole generation rejoiced at the chance to make a youthful dream of theirs a reality. Now, after a successful run in London’s Angel, The Crystal Maze Experience has burst into the West End, taking over the Trocadero with 32 action-packed gamesspread over four completely immersive zones.
 
Crystal Maze Aztec Zone

Each team who plays will be led by a maze master who will help them traverse the mysteries of the maze. Our Maze Master Hanz’s comedic flair and helpful hints kept the experience flowing and the energy up whilst not straying into the realm of cringe. If you come in a smaller group, you’ll be partnered with others to make the ideal 8-person team. But don’t worry: turns out nothing bonds you better with strangers than screaming “DO WHAT YOU’RE DOING BUT BETTER” at someone as they struggle to hold a bow and arrow the right way around. 
 
Now to the gameplay itself. One of the first things you’ll notice upon entry is the insanely high production value – you will absolutely feel like you’re in the show. The sprawling set design places you in the heart of the action in the Medieval, Futuristic, Industrial and Aztec zones. However, my favourite moments were the journeys between zones, where, just like in the show, you will find yourself running across beams, down ladders and through hidden passages as the theme tune blares out around you. 
 
Crystal Maze laser room

As with the show, the games are split into Physical, Mental, Skill and Mystery, with everyone in our team getting the chance to play two games each to win the coveted crystals. With all the games lasting three minutes or less, the pressure is on (cue the screaming at your teammates) to win your game and avoid a crystal-costing lock-in. Whilst we don’t want to give too many spoilers as to what you can expect, games involved everything from balancing, bellringing and climbing, as well as the undisputed highlight of the night: a jousting related incident that would have won the player £250 on You’ve Been Framed. 
 
Out of 16 games our team won six crystals (don’t laugh) so it was time to convert each one into time inside the one and only crystal dome! Donning those highly sought-after satin bombers, we spent 30 seconds trying to catch golden tickets to convert into leaderboard points, a fun experience to end the game, before enjoying a well-earned drink in the venue’s Wild Cat Bar with a view over Piccadilly Circus. 
 
With standard tickets hovering between the £50-£70 mark for a 75-minute game, it’s not a cheap night out but when compared to a West End show, it’s a similar cost for a far more interactive experience with just as much theatricality. For a celebration, teambuilding day or just a budget blowout to indulge your inner 90s geek, it’s one of the best things you could pick to do in London. 

The Crystal Maze Experience, 22-32 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EU
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