BALANCE Reviews: London’s biggest immersive event
Getting Team BALANCE all together in one place is like herding kittens and yet, on a Wednesday night in August, we managed it and celebrated by donning our bomber jackets and tackling the Crystal Dome at the Crystal Maze Live Experience.
Whether you tuned in to The Crystal Maze in the 90’s or have since seen Richard Ayoade’s remake, I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that the Crystal Maze is split into four zones; Futuristic, Industrial, Aztec and Medieval.
Our personal favourite? Aztec, because without saying too much, there was sand and lots of it. Something that made running from one challenge to the next a challenge in itself.
The prevailing opinion among us BALANCE staffers was that the set was much better than expected. Far from a cheap remake of the TV show, the set was a dizzying, totally immersive experience that, without our host to guide us through, would have well and truly stumped us.
In fact, with four teams all taking on the maze at once, you’d expect to cross paths at some stage but not another person did we see. Expertly coordinated, it felt as if we were the only ones in there as we raced through the levels taking on seemingly untouched challenges.
It was only when we finished the Crystal Maze that we discovered that other BALANCE staffers had indeed taken on some of the same challenges as us, totally stumping us as to how quickly the BTS team at Crystal Maze must have reset each challenge.
That said, each BALANCE team had a totally different experience of the Crystal Maze making it an experience that you can keep coming back to.
Just as there are four zones in the Crystal Maze, there are four categories of challenges too; Mental, Mystery, Skill and Physical.
Word of warning to you, don’t be fooled, these are not easy.
For although some required totally abstract thinking, others were so simple that we completely overlooked the answer. Hence why Minal, our Commercial Director, ended up handcuffed in the stocks in the Medieval zone.
Oh and with a clock ticking, expect all common sense to fly out the window. I for one completed a physical challenge with seconds to spare only to exit the room and realise I hadn’t actually picked up the crystal. Rookie error.
Admittedly, my team may also have berated our host for leading us to what was surely an impossible challenge only to be proven wrong at the end of the Crystal Maze when the other team announced they had indeed completed it.
With accusations of cheating flying (BALANCE staffers are nothing if not competitive), the tension was building as we entered the Crystal Dome.
The rules were simple, you can only collect the foil ‘cash’ by catching it mid-air not by picking it up from the floor. While some staffers bent these rules a little (*cough* Henry), it was 40 seconds of frantic fun and we were finding the pieces of foil in our clothes for hours afterward in the pub.
One thing we wish we’d thought of beforehand? To discuss tactics before we went in.
As is often the case with immersive experiences, the actors can make or break it. Luckily, the Crystal Maze have a talented roster of guides that are experts at reading your team and choosing challenges to suit you and your team’s strengths.
Smart, witty and stringent with the rules, the Crystal Maze guides were key to making the immersive experience, well, immersive.
Tickets start at £54.99 and it is possible to book a full session for 32 people; perfect for corporate events.