For international visitors: Please note that this blog (and its recs!) are intended for a Singapore-based audience. I wouldn’t recommend Singapore as a destination for escape room tourism; it has few must-plays on an international scale. (None of my personal top 10 still-operating rooms are in Singapore.)

Please use the Contact form if you have specific questions about which rooms to try, how scary/difficult a particular room is, etc.

I’ve also noticed people searching for walkthroughs. I won’t give spoilers for rooms. However, if you failed to escape from a room, don’t want to try again, and the escape room company didn’t tell you the answers, drop me a line and we can chat about it.

Room review: C2020 Ultra

Though I’ve been playing escape rooms since 2013 (!), I’ve never thought of creating one. So I was intrigued and impressed to receive an invitation to play C2020 Ultra, a DIY escape room created by an enthusiast.

Making reference to the historical CIA mind control programme MK Ultra, C2020 Ultra starts with a clear safety and gameplay briefing, then a fun narrative introduction leading into the game itself.

As a DIY room in a residential unit, it understandably lacks high-tech flourishes or dramatic secret passages. But even without special effects, there were still plenty of hands-on aspects, props, and interactive elements, with moments of discovery.

The puzzles, of course, are the core of the experience. There’s a good mix of types and difficulty, including some significantly rigorous and complex ones. The ahas are logical yet non-trivial, with some clever moments that felt fresh even to our veteran team.

As for the storyline, it works as a light framing mechanism; there are mid-game reminders, but it generally stays out of the way (for in-narrative reasons) until the conclusion.

C2020 Ultra was a much-appreciated reminder of how satisfying a puzzle-focused game can be. In these dark times (for the world and the escape room industry), it’s also inspiring to see an enthusiast creating an entire room due to his love for the hobby. The creator, Clement, was a great gamemaster who adapts his style to suit the teams that play.

We were honoured to have had the chance to try the room, and I’d say it’s RECOMMENDED that more enthusiasts to do the same (and get to meet a fellow enthusiast)!

This DIY room will only be around until Nov 22. If you’re interested in checking it out, you can get in touch with Clement via this Google Form.

(It’s not really fair to judge a DIY room on my usual rubric, so here’s just the puzzle-focused section.)

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 4.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 5
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Recurring events

Quick update:

1. The Escape Artist is staging another run of The Trial of the Apprentice (modified from the 2019 event of the same name) this weekend, Oct 17/18, with possible future runs as well. Follow TEA on Peatix to get updates. Tickets here. (edit, Oct 21: and a final October run this weekend, Oct 24/25; tickets here.)

2. I’ve also recently reviewed the heritage-tour-with-escape-game-elements 牛车水 (Niu Che Shui) Murders.

Room review: The Escape Artist: Pangaea

Their description: “Enter a land unfettered by civilisation! This magical game promises to delight and capture the imagination with a vast landscape, multiple exciting paths and a plethora of incredible challenges. Open the lid and discover the land of Pangaea, a lost realm full of dangers to overcome, treasures to be found and mysteries to solve! Beware however, once you enter, there’s no turning back. Can you survive Pangaea?”

Beset by wonder, you gather around the box and open the lid. As the lid opens, a blinding beam of light emerges from within, and as you all shield your eyes, you feel a current of magical energy suffusing the room.

When next you open your eyes, you find yourselves in a dense jungle! In the distance, the roars and grunts of wild beasts echo through the trees and as you look around, you see disembodied eyes peering at you from the darkness. The sky grows a little dimmer as the sun begins to set, and through the confusion and panic, you realise that all of you are within the game itself, and that you will need to play the game and win before the sun goes down in order to leave. Only one question remains: can YOU survive Pangaea?

To be clear, Pangaea is billed as an “interactive adventure game” and not an escape room. There are some solid escape-room-style puzzles in there, but there’s an equal emphasis on physical (though not taxing) tasks, all within the framing narrative of a magical boardgame.

Located in The Escape Artist’s new Enchanted Manor outlet in Joo Chiat, Pangaea is probably best suited for families, with puzzles that will challenge the adults, and mini-games (the aforementioned physical tasks) that will delight the kids — not to mention cute optional costumes to increase the sense of fun.

Any team that’s happy with physical tasks, though, is still likely to enjoy the experience. The puzzles are up to The Escape Artist’s usual high standard, and several decision points help to raise the stakes and add tension.

While the game revolves around a beautiful setpiece prop and there’s a sustained attempt at themed decor, don’t expect an extremely immersive environment — that isn’t really the point of Pangaea. Think of it more as a gameshow, with a facilitator/host guiding you through the experience.

RECOMMENDED as a fun experience for families, and for escape room fans who adjust their expectations accordingly. If you only enjoy puzzles and not tasks, the game is still WORTH A TRY for the puzzles that it does contain.

Given the non-escape-room nature of the experience, here’s a trimmed version of my usual rubric:

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Variation of tasks: 4/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6

Room review: Captivate: The Hitman

Their description: The wife of an international hitman is found dead. He cannot remember the day she was killed but he is certain he will remember the day he gets his revenge.

One of Captivate’s new rooms, The Hitman is a solid if not groundbreaking outing. There’s a sustained aesthetic reminiscent of spy movies, and the narrative is maintained all the way to the end (if not necessarily conveyed via each puzzle).

The puzzles themselves are tougher than the norm and largely fair, providing a good challenge for experienced groups — though one or two intuitive leaps may not sit well with everyone.

Perhaps what I appreciate the most about The Hitman are its flashes of in-narrative humour, which enliven the experience. Not a room that one should be dying to play, but still very much WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 5
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Room review: Amazing Chambers: The Curse – Legend of Tanggang

Note: This room was first launched as Si Tanggang, The Ungrateful.

Their description: Tanggang is a classic tale of a poor villager who eventually became rich, marrying a princess, and acquiring his own galleon but with a twisted tale.

You have 60mins to unravel what sets this inevitable divine intervention into motion that led to Tanggang’s fateful demise.

This room felt fairly complex for an Amazing Chambers offering, with a couple of tricky puzzles in the mix. There’s at least one slightly head-scratching moment, but on the whole, the room’s logic was generally sound.

While the setting isn’t too dramatic, I appreciated the transition from the first space’s domestic feel to the other stages of the story. And while the narrative was mainly conveyed through sheets of exposition, its gradual revelation worked decently in line with our progress through the experience. (I did feel some emotional investment in the story, thanks in part to an early touch that aided immersion, though I might have been alone among my teammates in this…)

Finally, just to clarify: despite the updated poster for the game, there’s nothing scary or horror-like about it, so don’t worry!

The Curse isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s a solid experience that’s WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: Up to 10
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Room review: Amazing Chambers: The Invaders

Note: This room was first launched as Leftenan Adnan: The Battle of Bukit Chandu.

Their description: The Invaders have landed in Singapura. It is up to you and your platoon members from the Royal Malay Regiment to hold your fort at Bukit Chandu.

Step back to 13 February 1942 and join the Battle of Pasir Panjang. Experience the heroic bravery and courage of the Malay Regiment as they fought at their last stand in the defence of Singapura during World War II.

Enhance your interactive journey by using various high tech gadgets and communication equipment hidden in a secret bunker, to seek help.

You have 60 minutes to decipher the secret codes and radio for reinforcements before the Invading Forces capture your fort at Bukit Chandu.

This room’s strength does indeed lie in its various interactive and multimedia elements — though there’s also the risk that you might miss some of them due to technical malfunction, so watch out for that and don’t be afraid to call for help.

The puzzles and tasks are generally clear and logical, and there’s an effort to integrate most (though not all) of them into the premise and setting. Where the narrative is concerned, this room suffers from Amazing Chambers’ usual wall-of-text approach to exposition — though I did learn some interesting facts along the way, and there was at least one moment of narrative immersion which I thought was pulled off very well.

While The Invaders still has a standard Amazing Chambers feeling, it’s perhaps their most ambitious room in terms of interactivity, as long as everything works. While my team’s playthrough was slightly marred by technical hiccups, this was still a solid room that’s WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3.5/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

Their suggested number of players: Up to 12
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5

Room review: Virtual Room: Are We Dead?

Their description: In the year 2040 in a secret military base, it’s been 9 years since an infection devastated the planet creating a rampant Zombie population.

Scientists are about to discover an antidote and will be soon begin eliminating all Zombies off the face of the earth!

Form your team of Zombies and fight for your own race’s survival – it’s time to save the Zombie’s for once!

Virtual Room continues to deliver engrossing and entertaining experiences that I fully recommend to escape room enthusiasts — more so than many of Singapore’s surviving physical rooms, to be honest.

Their latest offering might sound more like a zombie adventure, but it still features much of the hands-on problem-solving style of ‘puzzling’ that characterises their two time travel missions. These are non-trivial tasks that require observation and creativity, in true escape room style.

Like the previous games, Are We Dead? also leans into the chief feature of VR: enabling gameplay that would be completely impossible in a real-world physical game. To say more would be to give spoilers; suffice it to say that I was incredibly charmed and amused by a major feature of the gameplay in this adventure.

“Charmed and amused” was also my general mood throughout the game. Are We Dead? has a delightful sense of whimsy and humour, which is obvious right from the premise (and the zombie bodies that you’ll find yourself inhabiting) and plays out in all sorts of fun ways, including in the problem-solving.

As with their two existing missions, Are We Dead? is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as an incredibly fun romp that’s also full of rigorous puzzling.

Precautions have been taken against Covid-19, including pre- and post-game sanitising, and disposable eye-area masks that prevent your face from coming into direct contact with the headset. Face masks have to be worn throughout.

Game difficulty: 4/5
Game logic: 4/5
Gameplay variation: 4/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting moments, effective use of VR: 4.5/5
Storyline integration: 4.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 4
My suggested number of players: 3 to 4

Room review: Captivate: The Prestige

Their description: Two friends and fellow magicians become bitter enemies after a sudden tragedy. You’ll need to pay close attention, as things may not always be what they seem…

The Prestige replaces Kellar’s Magic Emporium; a couple of old fittings may be familiar to those who’ve played the latter, but rest assured that the puzzles are fresh.

I always appreciate when magic-themed rooms include some actual tricks and misdirection, and there are a couple of fun ones here. The puzzles are solidly logical, with one that’s both central to the narrative and particularly inspired.

The handmade feel of the room’s fittings is somewhat less magical, and the room as a whole isn’t groundbreaking. Still, this is a decent room that’s WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2.5/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 5
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5