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: 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

Room review: Xcape: Azkaban

Note: Bugis Village (which houses Xcape’s entire empire of rooms) is slated for redevelopment, with existing tenants able to stay until March 2021. It’s not clear how or when this might affect Xcape — I’d suggest playing their rooms ASAP!

Their description: The imprisoned evil demon known as “Death Prophet” has entered the magical school and stole one of the Divine Artifacts, “The Holy Grail” from Headmaster’s room. If Death Prophet succeeds in gathering all the Divine Artifacts, it will revive and cause great calamity to the world. You and fellow wizards would travel from the Room of Requirement into the magical prison known as Azkaban to retrieve “The Holy Grail”. Ready for a magical adventure?

If you’ve missed the real-world nature of non-virtual escape rooms, Xcape’s Azkaban room will certainly scratch that itch, with magical flourishes and quite a bit of space to explore. These physical aspects are possibly the strongest part of this 75-minute room, which may not earn its runtime on the puzzle front (if you’re fairly good at solving puzzles).

Not that the puzzles are bad. They’re varied and generally logical, though one mid-room move might not seem like the most intuitive. It’s just that Azkaban isn’t the sort of room you play for its puzzles — it’s better enjoyed as an adventure. The setting’s production values are good; there are cool moments; the narrative is sustained throughout, and conveyed through more means than just text.

Azkaban is RECOMMENDED as a magical experience for newer teams or Harry Potter fans, and still solidly WORTH A TRY for veteran teams, though it may not challenge your jadedness too much.

Precautions have been taken against Covid-19, including pre- and post-game sanitising, and the provision of disposable gloves. Face masks have to be worn throughout.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 6
My suggested number of players: 3 to 5

Rooms reopening

A quick update on the state of play for escape rooms in Singapore, as several companies prepare to reopen this Saturday (and have started accepting bookings).

Update: As of July 6, all current escape room companies in Singapore have reopened — apart from The Escape Artist, which reopens on July 11! Do show them some support after the tough time they’ve had in the last few months.

Amazing Chambers [overall review] – reopened July 6
Captivate Escape Rooms [overall review] – reopened June 18
Escape Hunt [overall review] – reopened July 6 [overall review] – reopened July 4
LOST SG [overall review] – reopened July 4
The Escape Artist [overall review] – reopening July 11
Trapped [overall review] – reopened June 19
Virtual Room Singapore [reviews] – reopened July 4
Xcape [overall review] – reopened July 4

Remote play makes its way to Singapore

Another Singapore escape room company is experimenting with digital formats! This time it’s The Escape Artist, who are offering remote playthroughs of their physical Count Dracula room, with a “friendly, innocent” live avatar in the room to whom you can give instructions via Zoom.

As the least physically demanding of TEA’s four rooms, Count Dracula is a good pick for the online format. Here’s my review of the physical room — it’s just a shame that I won’t be able to check out their online inventory system.

TEA is offering limited timeslots with an intro price of S$40 per group for the coming weekend, with the price set to rise to S$65 per group after that. If you haven’t played this room yet and would like to support a local company — not least so you can play their physical rooms in the future — then consider giving it a try!

update, Jun 23: Looks like TEA is indeed keeping up with this. Timeslots for the next weekend (Jun 27 and 28) have also opened up. It could be worth following them on Peatix for future updates.

From limited-time event to daily game

After holding several sessions on June 6 and 13, is now offering their online escape event Virtual Agents on a daily basis, as a regular virtual escape game. Bookings can be made via their website.

I played their first session on June 6 and reviewed it over on my event blog instead. Interesting to see how the distinction between “rooms” and “events” blurs when things go online, I suppose! Regardless, Virtual Agents is more of a virtual escape game rather than an escape room, in terms of structure and puzzle types.

I’d say this game is RECOMMENDED if you’re used to Lockdown’s logical style and care more about puzzles than narrative (and if you want to support local companies), but I don’t know how it compares to what’s available out there, because I haven’t been playing many international virtual escape experiences. I will say that it’s a good game for people who hate videoconferencing (like me) because it doesn’t rely on that.

Puzzle book review: Nomis Piy: Missing

Their description: If you crave for good puzzles, this book will not disappoint you – a 24-page fully-coloured novel, packed full of aha moments. In this book, you played the role of a detective, searching for a missing friend in a dark mansion. Would you be able to unravel all the mysteries and escape the mansion unscathed?

The Nomis Piy team is probably my favourite creator of escape events in Singapore, and I was excited to see what their first puzzle book would be like. Long story short: I wasn’t disappointed.

I admit, I was initially sceptical when I saw their estimate that the book will take an average of 24 hours (!) for a single player to complete. Several hours later, I understood why.* This book is jam-packed with interesting, creative, non-trivial puzzles, many of which are multilayered.

If you’ve attended Nomis Piy’s events before, you’ll recognise their general style here (which takes some inspiration from puzzle kits that SCRAP (and other companies) offer in Japan). Yet most puzzles in this book are more complex than what you’ll find in escape events, while remaining logical and elegant.

It’s hard to say more without giving spoilers, so I’ll just add that the book makes very good use of its theme, as well as the physical nature of, well, being a book. There are also surprising discoveries in store.

While many puzzles are integrated into the setting but not the narrative per se, the narrative does shine nearer the end of the book. The production values are worth mentioning: this is a glossy, well-made** book, with nice clear illustrations that contribute to the sense of setting while facilitating puzzle-solving.

Don’t let the S$25 price tag put you off — that price is more than justified by the amount of puzzling packed into this story. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who enjoys puzzles. (During these days of social distancing, you could even consider buying separate copies, and then getting onto a video call to solve together — the book is helpfully divided into chapters, allowing for several sessions of gameplay.)

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5

Use of multimedia: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 1 to 4

*Admittedly, I took significantly less than 24 hours to complete this book alone. However, I’m pretty experienced (in escape rooms/games as well as the much tougher genre of puzzle hunts) and my team is usually among the top few for competitive escape game events, so.

**Full disclosure: There is a single minor mistake in the book, which doesn’t affect your ability to get the right answer for that puzzle. At the risk of being a bit spoilery: Some other parts may look like mistakes at first glance, but they’re not…

Room-in-a-box review: Bearscape

Their description: You woke up from your deep slumber and stare ahead, but all you see are walls of grey and silver stretching to no end.

As you hear small distant explosions, you realise that your space station has been hit by meteors!

I’ve played quite a few escape-room-in-a-box games, both commercially-produced and indie ones — but haven’t reviewed any, since I figured there’d be multiple reviews available online. Clearly I had to make an exception for Bearscape, since it’s by a local escape room company.

Bearscape is pitched as an educational escape game, which seems about right. Each puzzle requires some math or science knowledge — my sense is that the content is suitable for PSLE or lower secondary students. Players who have long forgotten their school-era syllabus will probably still be fine, since the information required isn’t obscure. (Full disclosure: I did google once during the game.)

In general, content-focused puzzles run the risk of being little more than glorified trivia quizzes. Happily, that isn’t the case here. There’s a good mix of puzzle mechanisms, some of which are quite creative. As usual for Lockdown, the puzzles are faultlessly logical — though there’s also a helpful deck of hint and solution cards, if needed.

I tend to find that play-at-home games have a negligible storyline, but Bearscape does decently in maintaining one, aided by the fact that the narrative flavourtext for each puzzle contains clues.

Finally, the game’s production values are a delight, both in terms of the cute and polished illustrations, as well as the physical materials and print quality. The sturdy components mean that the game should stand up to multiple replays by different groups.

With its educational focus and polished production values, I’d say this is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for an enrichment class or a post-exam classroom chill-out setting.

For general escape room fans, the game is still solidly WORTH PLAYING. You might hesitate at the S$49.90 price (not least since the game can be played alone, as I did), but I considered it worth paying 1) to support a reliable local escape room company, and 2) because you can pass the game on to others after you finish. A good chance to introduce escape games to friends and family, perhaps?

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5

Use of physical components: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: 1 to 5
My suggested number of players: 1 to 3