For international visitors: Please note that this blog’s 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.

Escaping Malaysia [archive post]

The Malaysian escape room scene has changed since I first played there. To avoid cluttering the Escaping Malaysia page, which should really be for rooms that still exist, I’m reposting my reviews of now-closed locations here, for posterity.

The rooms in this post no longer exist. I haven’t rewritten these reviews in the past tense, apart from the intro paragraphs.

Johor Bahru

LOST in JB

http://lostinjb.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CrimeSceneByLOST/

LOST in JB has two still-open escape room branches in JB: their long-running Sutera branch, and a new one at Eco Palladium that opened on Jun 3, 2022. Their previous branches in Kuching and KL have closed. They had some previous collaborations with Xcape Singapore, including two rooms which were available in both countries (and now exist in neither).

MOUNT AUSTIN   |   On a Sunday in January 2018, I took a day trip to their Mount Austin branch with Escapist X from Singapore Escape Room Reviews and three other friends. The Mount Austin branch is about 30 minutes from the Johor checkpoint by car, located in a residential area with a range of food options nearby. There are comfortable waiting areas both inside and outside.

Given their partnership, it’s perhaps unsurprising that LOST in JB’s rooms share many traits with Xcape Singapore’s rooms: large and complex spaces, a sense of adventure, physical elements, and extensive use of technology. You’ll get the most out of their rooms if you focus less on puzzles and more on the overall experience. Constant movement through new spaces gives a sense of progress, and the physical aspects are cooler than the average Singapore room — though they also mean that LOST in JB is not for players with mobility issues (except for Bar Murder).

Unfortunately, with extensive tech comes a significant risk of malfunction. We experienced laggy or unresponsive tech several times. Give the technology some time to react, adjust things as needed, and contact the game master if you think you’ve solved something but nothing’s happened.

Though each room has a few flaws and rough edges, a visit to LOST in JB’s Mount Austin branch is nonetheless RECOMMENDED — not least because these are the closest and most affordable rooms outside Singapore.

Former rooms tried: 6 out of 6 at Mount Austin (but Singapore versions of 2 rooms); 3 out of 3 cases at Crime Scene

Full disclosure: I received an unasked-for discount on the four Mount Austin rooms which I booked that day.

Mount Austin
The Tenants Upstairs
This roleplaying murder mystery game (not an escape room!) moved to LOST in JB’s Mount Austin branch. Read the full review here.
Bar Murder
Bar Murder features a complex case that runs on murder mystery logic rather than escape room logic: you’ll have to assess suspects, figure out motives and pinpoint the murder method. New evidence is unlocked in various ways; some were satisfyingly tied into the narrative, others felt a bit extra. While not perfect (the dramatic finale was cool until its confusing final act), the room is recommended for its central mystery. Though LOST in JB gives this room a 3/5 scariness rating, it isn’t actually scary.
Difficulty: 4/5
Logic: 3.5/5
Suggested players: 2 to 5.
Legendary Swordsman
This room delivers what you’d expect from the theme: mysterious caverns, special effects, use of Chinese, and quite a bit of hands-on work. Nothing groundbreaking if you’ve seen enough tech-heavy rooms, but fun and adventuresome enough to be worth a try. Part of this room will be familiar if you’ve played Xcape Singapore’s Kung Fu Panda room.
Difficulty: 3/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 4 to 6. Less fun with fewer than 4.
Soulmate
A mixed bag both puzzle- and setting-wise, Soulmate’s highlights (a couple of particularly creative puzzles, one late-stage setpiece) are strong enough to make up for its weaker moments (a bizarrely unused red herring midway through, a not-very-intuitive endgame). Despite the risk of unresponsive tech marring the dramatic finale, the room provides a satisfying journey that’s scary without being incapacitating. Recommended, even for cowards.
Difficulty: 3.5/5
Logic: 3/5
Suggested players: 2 to 5.
Stealth
Possibly LOST in JB’s most adventuresome room, Stealth makes great use of its extensive space. The room’s many tech-enabled flourishes have suffered wear-and-tear, and some puzzles are questionable, but the finale alone (I can’t say more without spoilers, alas) makes it worth a try — especially if you enjoy adventure and are very forgiving of technical malfunctions.
Difficulty: 3.5/5
Logic: 3/5
Suggested players: 4 to 6. Possible but less fun with fewer than 3.
Annabelle
[I played this room at Xcape Singapore; here’s my review.]   A stellar horror room that has plenty to offer for non-horror fans too. Recommended for fair puzzles and a real sense of (fear-laced) adventure due to the room structure.
Difficulty: 3.5/5
Logic: 4.5/5
Suggested players: 4 to 6. Possible but less fun with fewer than 4.
Doraemon – Nobita’s First Love
[I played this room at Xcape Singapore; here’s my review.]   Recommended as a cute, fun, magical experience; just don’t expect a lot of traditional puzzle-solving. Especially good for beginners.
Difficulty: 2/5
Logic: 4.5/5
Suggested players: 3 to 5. Possible with 2.
Crime Scene
LOST in JB also has a special Crime Scene branch, offering three roleplaying murder mystery games. It’s a 15-minute walk from their Mount Austin escape room outlet, although I visited it on two separate occasions in February and April 2018. There are plenty of food outlets nearby. edit, 31 July 2019: The Tenants Upstairs is now offered at LOST in JB’s Mount Austin outlet. It looks like the Crime Scene branch has closed, and the previous tabletop games might no longer be available.
The Tenants Upstairs
Of the Crime Scene branch’s three cases, The Tenants Upstairs is the only full-fledged (or ‘theatre version’) case, akin to Xcape’s Shanghai 1943 experience. The game structure alone would have made it worth the visit; happily, The Tenants Upstairs is also a stellar experience in its own right, with a finely-wrought case that surprised us all the way to the final reveal. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Read the full review here.
Difficulty: 4/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 6 to 7.
Internal War
This is one of two tabletop cases, played in full costume (for good reason!) but without a physical set to search. If you’re visiting this branch, you should of course prioritise The Tenants Upstairs, but Internal War also works well as either a warm-up or cool-down, with a good mix of evidence and hidden storylines to be uncovered. RECOMMENDED as a solid mystery game. Note that it only takes 70 minutes to play, although the booking engine provides three-hour slots.
Difficulty: 3/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 5 to 6
The Castle
The Castle falls somewhere between the other two Crime Scene cases. It’s still a tabletop case, but more complex in terms of plot, gameplay and character stories, with a three-hour runtime that will just fly by. Everyone has secrets and agendas of their own, and perhaps the most interesting aspect is that all the suspects — not just the murderer — are allowed to lie. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED — after the first trip, our team made a return journey just to play this case, and it was well worth it.
Difficulty: 4/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 7 to 9. We played with 7, which meant having no detective.

Kuala Lumpur

Breakout

http://www.breakout.com.my/

Breakout’s branches at Nu Sentral and Avenue K are still in operation, though some rooms have been replaced.

Former rooms tried: 2 at Avenue K

Avenue K
The Greatest Murder of Westwood
This room earns its place as the hardest Breakout room, though it doesn’t sacrifice rigour in the process. There’s some excellent use of technology (not sensors and triggers, but actual gadgets), particularly in the endgame, and some puzzles with great aha moments. Highly recommended, but only for veterans.
Difficulty: 4.5/5
Logic: 3.5/5
Suggested players: 3 to 5. Technically possible with 2.
The Infinity
I like this split-start room more for its concept than its execution. The set-up is great but isn’t used in a satisfying way, making this is the only room that I wouldn’t recommend. You can still check it out for the novelty and the admittedly excellent finale, but be prepared for frustration and tedium along the way.
Difficulty: Hard to judge
Logic: Hard to judge
Suggested players: 4 to 6

LOST in KL

https://lostinkl.net/en

LOST’s capital branch contains only horror rooms. It’s located near a street with lots of food options and cafes. See above for an overview of LOST in JB’s policies.

Update: LOST in KL is temporarily closed as of July 18, 2019, according to their Facebook page.

LOST in KL – The Haunted House
Room 0347
Starts strong with the realistic setting of its atmospheric first room; goes to some interesting places after that. Some might find it patchy overall, but I’d still say it’s recommended.
Difficulty: 3.5/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 2 to 5.
Her Soul
Note: This room still exists at LOST in JB.
Has some cool touches, but the puzzles don’t feel too inspired. Worth a try, especially if you like horror, but perhaps my least favourite of the company’s horror rooms.
Difficulty: 2.5/5
Logic: 4/5
Suggested players: 2 to 4.
Survivor, Annabelle, Before Midnight, Soulmate
I played the JB versions of three of these rooms in an earlier trip to LOST in JB — see above — and played Annabelle at Xcape Singapore.

New reviews of Breakout Melaka’s rooms

After a trip to Breakout’s new branch in Melaka, I’ve updated the Escaping Malaysia page with reviews! (Please scroll all the way down — yes, I’m aware that page is a bit crowded…)

My only regret is that we were too early to play all their rooms; a fourth escape room and an intriguing spy game have yet to be launched. But the three rooms we did play were well worth the trip.

Upcoming Nomis Piy event!

In case you aren’t already following Singapore’s best escape game organiser on social media (though you really should) — Nomis Piy has a new game on June 4 and June 18!

Excitingly, it’s a kit-based outdoor game — but a specific event with timeslots, not a play-at-your-own-pace one like Quest for the Merlion Eye. I’m playing it on June 18 rather than June 4, so won’t be able to review it during its run; but it’s Nomis Piy, so you really should just buy your tickets ASAP.

The world of jubensha

Xcape’s Shanghai 1943 may have closed, but two other bilingual physical-set murder mysteries are now available at LOADING SG — I’ve reviewed both of them on a new blog, scriptmurder.sg. (One even has a few escape room-esque touches!)

The Chinese-language script murder (剧本杀, jubensha) industry has been quietly proliferating in Singapore for some time. Criminal X is making a tiny sliver of that immense iceberg available to English speakers, with translated versions of Chinese cases. I’ve reviewed one so far, and plan to play more.

If you have a passable grasp of Chinese, you might even want to consider venturing into the Chinese-language scene…

Game kit review: SCRAP: JUJUTSU KAISEN Online Puzzle Game: Escape from the Cursed Spirit of the Abandoned School

Official website

Format: Physical kit + Online
Price: S$35 (Shopee price)
Gameplay duration: As long as you need; I played solo and took just under 2 hours with no hints

I’ve posted reviews for online games on another blog, but since this kit is on Shopee, I figured I could post one here instead. (I’ve also reviewed SCRAP’s other sold-on-Shopee English game, Escape from the Two Base Stations.)

Despite not being familiar with Jujutsu Kaisen, I thoroughly enjoyed this multimedia experience. In usual SCRAP style, it features the creative reuse of components and clever details. Comprising both a physical kit and an online interface, it brings together SCRAP’s strengths in those respective areas: the fun challenge of manipulating physical objects and noticing hidden details, as well as the sense of adventure and narrative propulsion provided by interactivity and audiovisual elements.

Granted, the latter are relatively limited: the online part plays somewhat like a fully-voiced visual novel (I guess fans of the show might appreciate the seiyuu work). Yet that doesn’t lessen the sense of immersion — thanks in part to some clever game design, where some developments support the sense of narrative tension. Or so I felt, anyway.

This isn’t the most challenging game, and some of the ahas might be obvious to long-time SCRAP fans — but there was still plenty to enjoy along the way, especially during the endgame. While the degree of mechanic reuse is particularly high, interactive elements keep it fresh and maintain a constant sense of discovery, so it shouldn’t be a problem unless you hate manipulating game kit components.

In short, this is a RECOMMENDED experience even if you don’t care about Jujutsu Kaisen; it’d be nice if it manages to turn some existing Jujutsu Kaisen fans into SCRAP fans too. Do note that if you’re playing remotely with friends, each person really needs their own kit.

Overall review: The Escape Artist (Harbourfront Centre)

The Escape Artist closed its Sentosa Gateway branch only to open a new one in the same neighbourhood, this time inside Harbourfront Centre.

The outlet is a shared space with VR game provider V-Room (you might recognise them from Lockdown’s Orchard Central outlet). This might be confusing to passersby; we overheard a few saying “Wah, got escape rooms… Oh, it’s VR?” Hopefully this isn’t too much of an obstacle for getting casual shoppers to try out escape rooms, because the rooms here are well worth playing.

Granted, compared to the expansive and physically adventurous rooms of Sentosa Gateway, these new rooms are less exciting. But Unknown Signal and Night Before The Storm still provide a decent sense of adventure, particularly the former.

Gatecrash was admittedly a bit of a disappointment, because it felt like such an old-school room — but for beginners, it could be a good place to start. With all three rooms having reliably logical puzzles, The Escape Artist’s new outlet is RECOMMENDED as a solid addition to the local scene.

Staff: Friendly and welcoming, taking the time to explain each room’s premise.

Hints: Available via intercom phone.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No

Rooms tried: 3 out of 3

Recommended team size: 2 to 5 people


Specific room reviews
Gatecrash
Unknown Signal
Night Before The Storm


The Escape Artist (Harbourfront Centre)
http://theescapeartist.sg/