REVIEW: The News team takes on the escape room in a shipping container run by Challenger Escapes 

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be locked inside a shipping container with your work colleagues? 

To be honest, I hadn’t either. That was until Sam Pollard-Jones, who runs Challenger Escapes, got in touch.

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Kimberley Barber, Ben Fishwick, Richard Lemmer, Byron Melton and Matt Mohan-Hickson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7053)

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Kimberley Barber, Ben Fishwick, Richard Lemmer, Byron Melton and Matt Mohan-Hickson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7053)

Sam and his brother Jamie have set up an escape room set in a shipping container which sees teams of up to six people work together to solve puzzles in order to win the key for the exit. 

The game, called Heist!. was outside the Pyramids in Southsea in April and a team from The News headed down there to take on the challenge. 

The carefully assembled team, made up of five reporters and a photographer, all work together at The News’ office in Lakeside Portsmouth, so we know each other’s strengths. 

I like to think that we are an intelligent bunch – well more than half of us have degrees, and two even have masters – that’s surely got to count for something, right? 

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: Matt Mohan-Hickson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-6990)

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: Matt Mohan-Hickson.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-6990)

The game is set in the Cold War and a spy has sent back some vital plans, which we need to find to get out. 

The shipping container has three rooms, and it’s Tardis like. Once the big metal door swings shut, you can almost forget that you are inside a shipping container and could easily be transported overseas. 

Without giving too much away, there are codes to crack, number puzzles to solve, cryptic messages and hidden clues to find. 

There are points during the game where you are faced with a load of seemingly unconnected items – and I’m not ashamed to admit there were several occasions where I just stood there thinking “What the….?” and wondering who would notice if we were never to return. 

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Ben Fishwick, Matt Mohan-Hickson and Richard Lemmer.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-6996)

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Ben Fishwick, Matt Mohan-Hickson and Richard Lemmer.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-6996)

The game throws up some surprises - and you’ll be amazed how quickly you all need to find out a way to work together. What will also amaze you is the secret skills that some colleagues have – or have not. 

Anyway, we make it out in 52 minutes, despite a wrangling with the exit door.

Don’t worry, you won’t be shipped off to China, teams are given an hour before Sam has to come in and call time. 

You can ask Sam, who is watching on CCTV, for clues over a walkie-talkie while playing if you get really stuck. But then where’s the fun in that? 

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: The News, Portsmouth team during the escape room.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7008)

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: The News, Portsmouth team during the escape room.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7008)

(ADMISSION – We asked for at least three clues) 

The game is a great team-bonding experience, and beats spending an hour at the pub. It’s worth it for the laughs. 

Heist! is at the Mountbatten Centre in Stamshaw until June 23. Tickets start at £19. 

For more go to challengerescapes.co.uk 

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Ben Fishwick, Byron Melton, Matt Mohan-Hickson and Kimberley Barber.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7035)

Staff from The News, Portsmouth, had a go at the escape room in a shipping container at The Pyramids, Southsea, run by Challenger Escapes on Wednesday, April 24.''Pictured is: (l-r) Ben Fishwick, Byron Melton, Matt Mohan-Hickson and Kimberley Barber.''Picture: Sarah Standing (240419-7035)