July is the perfect time to sample some of the indoor games Dubai has to offer, each with a brainy, grown-up twist
01 No Way Out
THE GAME: Escape room specialists No Way Out have four games for you to play – Maniac, School Of Magic, The Ring and Da Vinci. The Ring is a horror-survival game based on the Japanese movie of the same name, Da Vinci takes place in the house of the famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci, while School Of Magic has more than a few nods towards the Harry Potter movies. Finally, there’s the terrifying-sounding Maniac, which basically involves being “kidnapped” and then trying to figure out how to escape a maniac’s basement with only your wits.
GOOD TO KNOW: There’s one thing you have to bear in mind – No Way Out’s owners have installed cameras to stop people cheating and using the lights on their mobile phones to escape.
BEWARE: If you suffer from epilepsy or claustrophobia, this isn’t the environment for you.
THE DETAILS: Each escape session lasts 60 minutes and teams of two to six people can sign up.
No Way Out, HDS Business Centre, Shop 5, Cluster M, JLT, Dubai, Sun to Wed noon to 11pm, Thurs to Sat 11am to 1am, from Dh290. Tel: (04) 2438208. Taxi: Cluster M, JLT. nowayout.ae
THE GAME: Jumble, which opened last November in the enormous space that used to occupy the Change Initiative in Al Barsha on Sheikh Zayed Road, is basically a giant urban maze. You’ll find yourselves crawling through tunnels, scavenging for clues and scratching your head at blank walls, all while a timer counts down to pile on the pressure.
GOOD TO KNOW: You’ll need to use the kind of logic and puzzle solving skills suitable for other escape rooms in the city, but this one throws in an extra dose of physical exercise and exertion for good measure.
BEWARE: Some of the tunnels may not a good idea for those suffer from claustrophobia.
THE DETAILS: Gamers team up in groups of three to six people to work through a series of baffling rooms. There are 12 in total and more than 100 puzzles to try too.
Jumble, Al Barsha 1, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai,Sunday to Wed 12pm-10pm; Thurs to Sat 10am-12am, Dh155 for two-hour pass, Tel: (800) 586253. jumble.ae
03 Escape Reality
THE GAME: Inside are eight themed rooms, which you and your team need to escape from. Among the highlights are a jungle-theme, one based on the Saw franchise, a number of horror-themed spaces and one dedicated to the Game Of Thrones.
GOOD TO KNOW: As usual, you’ve got one hour to solve the riddles and escape, but there’s one main difference: If you’ve hit a wall, there is an iPad that you can resort to for a hint.
BEWARE: When you reach for that iPad, it adds five minutes to your total time.
THE DETAILS: Teams of two to six players can go puzzle solving at Escape Reality.
Escape Reality, Indigo Sky Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Sun to Thur noon to 10.30pm, Fri and Sat noon to midnight, Dhs110 for four players on weekdays, Dhs130 weekends. Tel: (04) 3327777. Metro: FGB. escapereality.com
04 Brain Game
THE GAME: The clue is quite clearly in the name – Brain Game is all about communication, brainstorming and attention to detail. They’re all crucial if you want to complete your mission and escape. There are four games available to play – Prison Madness, The Museum, Around The World in Sixty Minutes and Pablo Escobar. Around The World sees you in the house of Phileas Fogg, with 60 minutes to find all the items he’ll need to go on his famous journey around the world (and escape his house at the same time).
GOOD TO KNOW: Pablo Escobar, on the other hand, is suitable only for adults. You and your teammates have 60 minutes to arrest one of the most notorious Columbian drug lords of all time.
THE DETAILS: Two to four people can take part at Brain Game.
Brain Game, Kanoo Group Building, Karama, Dubai, daily noon to 2am, Dhs110. Tel: (04) 3961556. Taxi: ADCB Metro Station.
THE GAME: There’s a new way to test your physical, mental and teamwork skills – TEPfactor is an adventure centre that opened late May at The Walk at JBR, featuring 21 challenges. It takes place in a cave network. You’ll need to solve puzzles, work your way through obstacle courses (think slippery spinning poles, rotating inflatables and swinging balls) and learn how to trust your mates and work together closely as a team – if you don’t, you won’t win.
GOOD TO KNOW: There’s three different difficulty levels to choose from – bronze, silver and gold, with bronze being the easiest. At least two players per team.
THE DETAILS: It’s aimed at adults and teens aged 13accompanied by a grown-up. Some 15 teams can take on the challenges at the same time.
TEPfactor, Bahar, The Walk, JBR, Sun to Weds 10am to 12am, Thurs to Sat 10am to 1am, Dhs80 per person per hour weekdays, Dhs100 per person Thur to Sat. Tel: (056) 4040802. Taxi: JBR The Walk. TEPfactor.ae
06 Phobia Dubai
THE GAME: The goal again is to escape from a variety of rooms, several of which pay homage to big Hollywood movies, including Sherlock Holmes, Mission: Impossible and Harry Potter.
GOOD TO KNOW: Highlights include Vault, where you’re locked in an underground bunker after a nuclear war. Your oxygen is running out and you have to escape before a horde of zombies breaks in.
BEWARE: The experiences are pretty intense – get ready for extras to leap out at you. In the room called Live, for example (which is based on the horror movie Saw). You’ll start that game chained and will have to solve the maniac Jigsaw’s puzzles to escape.
THE DETAILS: You have 60-minutes to play; games are for groups of two to five people.
Phobia Dubai, Cluster X, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai, Fri to Sat 11am to 1am, Sun to Thur 11am to 11.45pm, Dhs115. Tel: (052) 7974916. Taxi: Cluster X. phobia.ae
07 Hungarian Games
THE GAME: It might have the strangest name on our list, but Hungarian Games isn’t just about Hungary, or the Hunger Games. Once again, escape room fans can head here to take on a series of 60-minute missions with a handful of friends. It’s another venue with a room that’s clearly influenced by the horror flick The Ring. The Haunted Room challenges you to escape from ghosts in an hour, while in 4th Element, you and your friends play a group of pirates who can breathe underwater and must steal as much treasure as possible from the Dubai Palm Islands.
THE DETAILS: The games are best suited for teams of two to five players.
Hungarian Games, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, Fri 4pm to 10pm, Sat to Thur 10am to 10pm, Dhs120 per person. Tel: (04) 3214843. Taxi: Warehouse no.35, Al Quoz 1. hungariangames.com