If you were a child in the nineties you may remember the original version of The Crystal Maze TV show with Maze Master Richard O’Brien. If you aren’t as old as me, then you may have seen the more recent reboot with Richard Ayoade on Channel Four.
What if YOU could take part in the Crystal Maze? Well that’s exactly what I got to do last week with the ladies from Love Pop Ups London! Read on to find out how our all female The London Crystal Ladies team did:
*Full disclosure, my experience at Crystal Maze was free in return for this honest review – I’ve previously paid to play the Crystal Maze when it was at its original location in Angel, so you know I love it!*
The Crystal Maze is back and better than ever!
What is the Crystal Maze?
The Crystal Maze is a TV game show that you can also play in Central London (not televised!). I’ve been to their original site in London in Angel and applied to be on the TV show (no luck there!). So when it came to trying out their new site at Piccadilly, I jumped at the chance!
I went along with an all lady crew from Love Pop Ups London on their Press Night.
What’s the aim of the Crystal q?
- Do challenges,
- win crystals,
- swap these for time in the CRYSTAL DOME,
- win gold credits,
- get kudos!
Each team can have a maximum of 8 team members. You get 4 challenges in each of the 4 ‘zones’ in the Crystal Maze: Industrial, Futuristic, Medieval & Aztec. So a minimum of 2 challenges each. As we were group of 7 a lucky couple had a few more challenges.
There are four category of challenge – physical, mental, skill and mystery. Apart from the obviousness of physical meaning actively doing something and mental being more mind games, the other two are a little more tricky to define. Skill could be a challenge that requires good hand eye coordination and mystery really could be anything non-physical. All the challenges are timed – so you may only have 2 or 3 minutes to complete them. Some have an ‘ALS’ or automatic lock in situation – if you do what is forbidden, like get something wrong three times, or touch the floor, then the door locks and you’re trapped until your team-mates free you.
At the end of our session we ticked off all the challenges we completed on the Crystal Maze map. This means if we come back we can try different ones. I found even remembering the two I did very tricky afterwards, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away by telling you what I remember from our experience!
Playing the Crystal Maze
When you check in with your team you are given a locker. Mobile phone are NOT allowed into the Maze, so leave them in your locker or hand to your Maze Master for safe keeping.
It’s best to dress for action at the Maze – so think trousers (or even leggings) and trainers. Mini-skirts and heels are going to be tricky, so perhaps avoid these, unless you want to make it an extra challenge.
Whilst there is some running around between and in the different zones, you don’t need to be physical. If you have any injuries, let your Maze Master know and they will ensure you don’t end up in a challenge that you can’t do. That being said, someone needs to do a physical challenge, so you need a mobile team. If you are unsure about this I’d advise giving them a ring and discussing, but there are steps and ladders etc to get between the zones.
You start with a group picture where you can dress up:
Then you start your Maze experience in the Medieval Zone:
We started off in the Medieval Zone with an ALS (automatic lock in situation). Unfortunately Chelsea found climbing in a mini skirt and boots a bit too ambitious, so whilst she got the crystal, she also got locked in for touching the floor – booo! So we started with a crystal deficit of minus 1….
However Captain Haydy brought us back, she actually did the challenge in the picture:
As you can see they take the themes as far as possible! So Medieval is all castle themed, with plenty of appropriate props.
We did the additional challenges, one of which involved weird looking arrows (no pointy bits for healthy and safety!) and only came out with 1 crystal.
In the Future everything is very white and clinical… I was chosen to do 2 challenges in this section. The first was a game of skill, where we quickly worked out that I had no skill…. (also I would not make a good surgeon). The second however was bloody hilarious! I had to ride a ‘space rocket’ as shown in the picture below, whilst throwing tennis balls in the holes of a planet. The rocket was like buckaroo and the balls bounced out of the hole, so despite getting 5 balls in, I still didn’t finish with the 6th and no crystal for me 🙁
But no time for pondering my lack of luck in the Futuristic zone – we were soon off to the Industrial zone:
The Industrial zone makes you feel like you are inside a factory or power station or something. Think lots of ‘rust’ and pipes! Here is where we started winning more crystals.
The Aztec zone is full of sand and stones. These play a big part in most of the themed challenges. We did really well in this zone with Emile managing to do a very tightly timed physical challenge that impressed our Maze Master!
The Crystal Dome!
At the end of our 16 challenges, we had 7 crystals! This was ‘better than average’ (the average being 5 crystals) and came nearly all at the end – so don’t give up if it doesn’t start well! Each crystal gets you 5 seconds inside the Crystal Dome, where the aim is to collect as many gold credits as possible.
To make things more difficult they ‘muddy the waters’ so to speak, with silver credits which DO NOT COUNT and even create a deduction from your gold credits. You need to get over 100 credits for a respectable score. We had 35 seconds and grabbed as many credits as we could. On measurement at the end, we had 103! (Until Haydy found one in her hair and Sam one down her top!)
Now we felt good about this, but I’d already seen the leader board – we were nowhere near the leaders with 490+. What they say is that each week the teams with the highest scores will win something, however that wasn’t us… Never mind if this happens to you too, you can buy crystals and all sorts of other gifts in the shop on your way out.
I’ve had a lot of fun before doing the Crystal Maze for a friend’s birthday in it’s original location in Angel. I definitely had a great time in the new location with the London Crystal Ladies. The 80 minutes of the game absolutely flew by – we were all so engrossed, even when not actively playing a game. The new location means it’s very central and also that they have tweaked all the games and challenges. So whilst there will be some similarity to the old location, they won’t be exactly the same, so if you’ve been before then you’ll certainly enjoy returning!
They have several teams playing in the Maze at the same time, so sometimes you’ll need to run so they don’t catch you up. It can also be a little distracting when you can hear them yelling or cheering through the walls (no proper sound proofing then!). But this also means flexibility and you can play against teams of friends or workmates, so ideal for a team building day too.
This is definitely a special occasion outing – you need your team of 8 (and I really do think you will need 8 people – what if someone gets locked in?!). You need to plan it too – you need to be wearing the right clothes and sober (no pre-drinking, they won’t let drunk people in, so save it for afterwards).
With tickets starting at £54.99 for mid week and from £66.99 at weekends, this is not something you are going to play every month. However for a special occasion it’s a great way to bond with your friends or colleagues.
What if you don’t care for such a physical team building experience (or they can’t accommodate your access requirements)?