It’s you, 60 minutes and a slowly sinking ship. What could possibly go wrong?

It was with great trepidation that I went into Ice Breaker. I’d had a pretty poor experience in the Bamboozled room, and I’d signed myself up for two City Mazes rooms in a row!

You can guess the theme of Ice Breaker – you’re lucky enough to have won a ticket on the Titanic, which means you’re unlucky enough to have won a ticket on the Titanic.

The iceberg has hit, the ship is sinking and the clock is ticking. Go!

Check out my other reviews of City Mazes Cardiff escape rooms

Ice Breaker: Theme and immersion

As with previous games at City Mazes, there’s no detracting from the fact that you’re in a warehouse with added furniture.

The room is in three sections; a first-class and third-class cabin, split by a corridor.

However, other than the presence of a piano (and a bigger room in general), there’s little to distinguish between the two cabins.

Usually with an escape room, non-game elements are either hidden or have stickers attached to indicate they’re not part of the game. Ice Breaker had a number of light/electrical switches visible that were left over as part of the original building. One of the rooms even had old fire exit still visible.

This is a common feature in City Mazes rooms – sparse decoration that doesn’t immerse you.

The soundtrack used 50s-era tunes like Beyond the Sea to add flavour, which set my Bioshock-induced hackles rising. That I appreciated, as many escape rooms don’t bother with any kind of soundtrack.

Abandoned Piano by corrine klug is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Ice Breaker: Puzzles and hints

There were a lot of keys involved with Ice Breaker. This would have been a bore, but they all had an innovative secondary purpose, which was a nice touch.

The word-based puzzles were poorly maintained – some letters weren’t clearly written so we wasted time trying to figure out the solutions by deduction alone.

The third-class cabin contained a single puzzle that was solved within a minute. We never went back to that room, which seemed like a bit of wasted potential.

There were four of us in the game. For some portions, one of our number didn’t have a great deal to do and was designated “torch-shiner”. For that reason I’d say this room is probably better suited to three people.

The hint system of City Mazes is basic – you chime in on a walkie-talkie with what you’re stuck on, and you’ll get a verbal hint or solution. It does the job, but definitely pulls you away from the room’s immersion.

Ice Breaker: Some substance, no style.

We escaped Ice Breaker with 8 minutes left, and had a few hints. Given my previous experience in a City Mazes room, I was pleasantly surprised that I had fun.

Ice Breaker has some clever uses for puzzles as well as tried-and-tested mechanics, but it’s brought down by its uninspiring production and lack of immersion.

I’d say if you’ve done a number of escape rooms already, this will fall below your standards. However, it might be a nice intro for someone completely new to the hobby.

This game was paid for using a voucher I  received from City Mazes for completing their Twisted Heaven room within 30 minutes. This has not affected my opinion of the game.

Have you played Ice Breaker? Did you escape? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Author: Jamie

An 80s kid trapped in the body of a 90s kid, Jamie is fond of hyperbole and tends to get excited about things. Whovian, Ravenclaw, and proud Welsh geek.