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.

Online game review: AveLIVEX: Guardians of the East: The Awakening

Official website

Format: Point-and-click room, alongside Google Meet with live gamemaster
Price: Currently S$15 per person (usual price S$25 per person)
Gameplay duration: 1 hour

(I don’t usually review online games here, but this is by a local company that’s also running a competitive tournament on June 20, so I thought it might be particularly relevant to readers of this blog.)

I’m not a huge fan of point-and-click escape rooms when there are much more interesting interactive options out there (including the amazing and hilarious latest offering by SCRAP, which I recently reviewed), but I did appreciate the “multi-perspective” nature of this game.

AveLIVEX seems to be building a connected universe of games, with four main characters. In this game, each player gets assigned the point-of-view of one character (so if there are more than four of you, two people may have the same view). Think of it as a split-start virtual room, with lots of collaboration required over the Google Meet. This elevates it over other point-and-click games where everyone has the same info and can just solo their way through things.

The puzzles are generally rigorous, and while there are strong Chinese cultural elements, you don’t need to know Chinese to solve them. (The gamemaster later said that they were set by someone who didn’t know the language, ensuring that they can be solved without that knowledge.)

You might run into some technical glitches or less-than-intuitive aspects of the interface, but the gamemaster is around to help, and to provide a debrief if needed. The finale is also rather cute.

Overall, the game is WORTH A TRY for its interesting format, and is particularly value-for-money as part of the current S$35-per-person package, which includes tournament entry and an online murder mystery (which I’ve also played, quite enjoyed, and need to get around to reviewing…). At full price, however, I’d probably recommend some interactive international games instead, unless you’re fond of the point-and-click format.

Overall review: The Escape Artist (Enchanted Manor @ Joo Chiat)

The Escape Artist opened its Enchanted Manor @ Joo Chiat branch in 2020, with the family-oriented, not-actually-an-escape room Pangaea adventure game. The shophouse unit also had space for limited-time events, with restagings of past events and new seasonal games.

They’ve since converted some spaces into two traditional escape rooms. Though not as adventuresome as the rooms at their Sentosa Gateway outlet, each room does have some inspired ideas — but also a few annoying flaws.

Overall, the Joo Chiat branch is certainly WORTH A VISIT — the surfeit of great food options in the area definitely helps — but do adjust your expectations regarding the level of polish and production values.

Staff: Friendly.

Hints: Unlimited hints via intercom phone. Staff seem to err on the side of caution when giving hints.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No

Rooms tried: 3 out of 3

Recommended team size: 2 to 4

Specific room reviews

Pangaea (not an escape room)
Dr Frank: The Lion’s Den
Escape Room: Trials of Tartarus

The Escape Artist (Enchanted Manor @ Joo Chiat)

The Escape Artist – Escape Room: Trials of Tartarus

Their description: You’ve been invited to take part in a world-wide escape room competition, currently in it’s 12th year, with a grand prize of $12million! However, as the game begins, you start to feel that not all is right and that some larger scheme is at play..
You’re no longer concerned about the prize but your life.

My favourite thing about this room is its coherent theming, with the 12-item thread running throughout. There are some clever and fun puzzle ideas in the mix, including a couple that make good use of the physical setting — which does improve later on, despite a not-that-polished initial impression.

Sadly, there are still a couple of minor puzzle presentation issues and logical snags that prevent me from giving a whole-hearted recommendation. I’m also conflicted over whether some endgame moves are too clever/tricky, haha.

Nonetheless, I’d still say the room is RECOMMENDED for puzzle enthusiasts (if you’re willing to overlook a couple of things), and solidly WORTH A TRY for teams that are less focused on puzzles.

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

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

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5

The Escape Artist – Dr Frank: The Lion’s Den

Their description: The disappearances started with a woman named Mary. Ever since then, more women have gone missing, seemingly vanishing without a trace. Your investigations lead you to the hospital where Mary worked at, and after repeated interrogations, her colleague Dr Frank Shelley finally agrees to give you critical information. Arranging to meet him at his house, you arrive only to find the door ajar, and no response from within. As you step through the entrance, the door swings shut, locking itself behind you and a hissing sound fills the room as gas begins seeping in. You awaken to find yourselves imprisoned and chained. Your only hope lies in working together to find both a means to escape as well as the culprit.

Dr Frank was a mildly frustrating experience, with good ideas but various small flaws that made gameplay less smooth than it could have been. There are some stand-out moments that made the room worthwhile, for me: one stellar puzzle quite early on, and another clever move in a late stage.

But it’s easy to get lost or muddled in the initial stages (don’t be afraid to ask for help!), and one mid-game puzzle suffers from ambiguity and an input mechanism that seems prone to error (ask for help if you think you have the right answer but it isn’t working).

As for the atmosphere, it’s suitably creepy. But while the room does have a few scares in store, don’t be put off by (or have too high hopes for) its fear factor rating of “four ghosts” — it’s perfectly manageable even for cowards such as myself.

It’s certainly WORTH A TRY — for me, that early puzzle alone justified the whole room — but do adjust your expectations.

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

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

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Last call for Shanghai 1943

The Xcape Singapore closures continue, alas. The last day to play their excellent not-an-escape-room murder mystery RPG, Shanghai 1943, is April 24.

The genre is very developed in China and Taiwan, but this might be one of only two English-language examples (the other being LOST in JB’s The Tenants Upstairs), where players take on the role of suspects, and there’s a full set to physically search for evidence.

More last chances to play

Xcape Singapore is now closing its Funtasy rooms, Mission X and Kungfu Panda, with April 16 being their last day of operation. It’s sad to see them go. Mission X is my go-to recommendation for small teams (ideal for two players!) and/or teams who like cute hands-on elements; Kungfu Panda is admittedly blemished by an early resemblance to another room, but is otherwise a great all-rounder, with a particularly fun physical aspect.

I do wonder if Xcape’s room closures are related to the impending redevelopment of Bugis Village. It could be worth playing Xcape’s various rooms as soon as possible, just to be safe.

Black Lake Facility – The Research Lab

Their description: Time is ticking, and the reactor will blow up in the matter of minutes! The contamination has begun and soon it will be impossible to undo the mistakes of the science team that has mysteriously vanished. The Head Scientist in charge of the laboratory has a strange fascination that she is trying to hide… Your investigation team has been assigned to power down the reactor in time and find out her secret before the inevitable happens. It is a race against time.

The Research Lab’s greatest strength is its shiny and fairly interactive set, which younger players might find particularly exciting. If you appreciate a sense of setting, this room delivers quite well.

The gameplay itself is generally smooth. The puzzles aren’t flawless — there are some distracting elements in the beginning, a questionable mid-game task, and a minor annoyance in an otherwise pleasingly layered late-game puzzle — but the flaws don’t detract much from the overall experience.

Elevted by a cute ending, The Research Lab is RECOMMENDED as a solid if not groundbreaking adventure.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5

Black Lake Facility – The Medical Centre

Their description: Step inside the Medical Centre where accidents and emergencies are dealt with. This facility holds the answers to the unimaginable horrors and experiences faced by the soldiers during the previous mission. It is up to you and your team to get to the bottom of the mystery and gain a searing insight into their plight. Can you escape before the mind-blowing and grueling revelation destroys the last strands of your sanity?

Despite the blurb, The Medical Centre is at most creepy, rather than being a proper horror room, so fellow cowards shouldn’t be afraid to give it a try. The room’s strongest point is probably its unsettling narrative, built up from the beginning with well-integrated details, and leading towards a visually striking climax.

It’s a shame, then, that the experience is marred by some logical leaps. Some early connections between clues and locks felt arbitrary, for example. But the real issues came later, with multiple puzzle flaws that meant we ended the room on a sour note.

Our gamemaster offered an in-narrative explanation for the massive logical leaps needed at the end, but these didn’t make them feel less unsatisfying. If not for the endgame puzzles, I would have been able to recommend the room as a solid adventure. As it is, I can only say that it’s WORTH A TRY, but you should be prepared to call for help.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 2/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2.5/5

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

Their suggested number of players: n/a
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5