Month: July 2014

Room review: Xcape: Whisper of the Dead (original version)

Their description: There were many myths and legends about the old mansion. Some say the invaluable treasures and antique inside were guarded by the creatures of the night, but no one has ever seen them. Can you survive the test set up by Dr. Hachi and reveal the truth? Or will you be consumed by the endless darkness and horror?


NOTE: I played the original version of this escape room, not the current updated version.

After Xcape closed its first branch at Purvis Street, it decided to reopen improved versions of two of the four rooms at its Bugis Village outlet. I think both rooms were good choices. Whisper of the Dead is perhaps less impressive than Chamber of Secrets, but it still makes for a decent experience.

Despite the scary-sounding text, the version I played was eerie rather than outright scary, which is nice if you’re not interested in the fear factor. The room’s strengths are its cool moments, use of technology, and multimedia aspects. One or two puzzles seemed less inspired, but I’m not sure if the new version still has these.

As often seems the case with Xcape rooms, the storyline is basically irrelevant. However, there’s at least an attempt to make the puzzles fit in with the setting, which is appreciated.

RECOMMENDED based on the old version, though I haven’t played the new version.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 2/5

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 8
My suggested number of players: 5 to 6

 

Advertisements

Room review: Xcape: Chamber of Secrets (original version)

Their description: A crucial witness who could attest for Dr. Hachi’s innocence and the existence of the terrorist organization known as “the Company” had died. It’s now your mission to uncover his secrets, solve the puzzles and save the world. Can you unravel the mystery of his death?


NOTE: I played the original version of this escape room, not the current updated version.

This is one of my favourite escape rooms in Singapore. It has everything you could want: multimedia puzzles, exciting flourishes, hands-on problems, and fairly logical clues. It’s both a great adventure and a satisfying puzzle-solving experience.

Perhaps its only flaw is that the storyline is basically irrelevant. However, there’s enough excitement going on that that didn’t really matter when we played it.

I don’t know how it’s been changed for the new version, but I’d hope that they haven’t made it worse.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED based on the old version, but please bear in mind that I haven’t played the new version.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 5/5
Storyline integration: 1/5

Their suggested number of players: 6 to 8
My suggested number of players: 6 to 8

 

Room review: Lockdown.sg: Bail Out

NOTE: This room has been replaced and no longer exists.


Their description: Framed. Set-up. Betrayed. Wrongly imprisoned in the sheriff’s office, you will be sentenced in court the next morning for a murder that you did not commit. Will you be able to escape before then?


This is quite a good beginner’s escape room, but even experienced teams should enjoy parts of it.

The storyline is basically negligible, and one or two puzzles seem a little arbitrary. However, this is more than made up for by a chain of clues at the end, which are structured and flow very well — making for one of the most satisfying endgames I’ve experienced. If you like to end your escape room experiences on a triumphant high, this is a good one to try.

RECOMMENDED for beginners, not bad for experienced teams either.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 1.5/5
Storyline integration: 1/5

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

Room review: Lockdown.sg: Top Secret

Their description: “Our main competitor will be bidding for the project tomorrow. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to retrieve the tender documents of our competitor.”

Just when you sneaked into the office…


This is meant to be Lockdown.sg’s hardest room, and it’s also arguably their most enjoyable. Although the room is a little spartan, there are several fun multimedia touches and use of gadgetry.

All the puzzles are linked to the storyline, and their solutions are logical rather than arbitrary. There’s also an overarching puzzle which is satisfyingly tough yet makes sense, and provides a great ‘eureka’ moment when you figure it out.

RECOMMENDED for experienced teams. Beginners might find it tough.

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

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

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

 

Room review: Lockdown.sg: Kidnapped!

NOTE: This room has been replaced and no longer exists.


Their description: Backpacking was all fun and enjoyable, until you and your friends hitchhiked a ride to your next destination. Will this be your final destination?


How you feel about this room depends very strongly on how you feel about arbitrary puzzles. I played this in a group of five, and although we solved it in under 30 minutes, we found the experience unsatisfying because the puzzles felt divorced from the setting and some required rather random linkages to be drawn.

There are a few creative touches, mainly to do with the room set-up, but you’re better off trying the other Lockdown.sg rooms, which are much more cohesive.

NOT RECOMMENDED unless you don’t mind arbitrary puzzles.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 2/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2/5
Storyline integration: 1/5

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

Room review: Roomraider: Where’s Cuddles?

Roomraider’s Orchard branch is NOW CLOSED.
This review is left here merely as a record.


Their description: Discover an enchanting world of teddy bears. This is where bears are created and brought to life!

Your favourite teddy Cuddles has gone missing. Where could he be?

Be wowed by the fascinating teddy bear factory, a place with bears as far as the eye can see. This is where Cuddles was created and born.

Step into the magical chamber which takes you into Teddy Bear Land. Solve the clues and puzzles within to learn more about Cuddles and where he has gone.

A fun adventure for all ages.


This room starts off strong, with a great integration of the puzzles into the setting. There are some fun multimedia and hands-on touches as well.

However, while the puzzles are still logical, some may seem arbitrary or not that well integrated into the storyline.

Do note that the physical nature of this room means that older, larger, or less mobile players might have difficulty. Part of the room is also not that well ventilated and can get rather hot and stuffy.

RECOMMENDED for beginners, and if you like cute things or want to be amused. Experienced teams might get bored otherwise.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 3/5
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 8
My suggested number of players: 3

Room review: Roomraider: S.W.A.T. Firestorm

Roomraider’s Orchard branch is NOW CLOSED.
This review is left here merely as a record.


Their description: It is peak hour in New York City. Terrorists have planted a bomb in the Times Square Subway Station in New York. All hell is breaking loose.

You and your elite SWAT Team members have been called in to find and defuse the bomb.

You have 45 minutes before detonation. The fate of the city is in your hands. This is not an exercise.


The official description sounds exciting, but don’t get your hopes up. This is a rather sedate room with negligible special effects and not that strong a sense of setting. Some puzzles also felt a little arbitrary, which made it less satisfying than other rooms.

Nonetheless, there are still some fun bits of technology involved, and having to defuse the ‘bomb’ adds quite a bit of tension to the story — it’s the only escape room which you can actually fail by making the wrong decision!

WORTH A TRY if you like puzzles involving hands-on aspects or technology; NOT GREATLY RECOMMENDED otherwise.

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

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

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 8
My suggested number of players: 2. Maybe 3 if you’re beginners.

Room review: Roomraider: Prison Break

Roomraider’s Orchard branch is NOW CLOSED.
This review is left here merely as a record.


Their description: The Raider State Penitentiary (RSP) is considered to be one of the most escape-proof prisons ever built. Constructed using an extensive system of advanced security networks and sophisticated technology, it was built to banish the most dangerous criminals from the outside world forever.

You are a spy for the Raider Intelligence Agency (RIA). One of your trusted comrades has double-crossed you and your team. All of you have been arrested and are now being held captive inside separate cells of the Raider State Penitentiary.

Suddenly, there is a blackout. THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. You have 45 minutes to escape before the power supply returns, and before the security guards discover your disappearance.

You must co-operate and communicate with one another to find a way out of your cells, retrieve your gadgets, and utilize them to escape from this torturous dungeon.

Do you have what it takes to break out from this prison alive? Are you able to seek justice for yourself and your team?


I think this lives up to its billing as Roomraider SG’s most difficult room. Fortunately, that’s not because the puzzles require leaps of logic, too much ‘busy work’, or too much convoluted matching — common ways in which other escape room companies try to up the difficulty. Instead, Prison Break features enough puzzles to keep you racing against time, with solutions that are logical but not too obvious.

This is also one of the most satisfyingly hands-on escape rooms in Singapore. There are plenty of gadgets and plenty of tools you’ll have to work with. Several puzzles were about physically finding codes using the available materials, which is quite rare in other escape rooms. All of this adds to the atmosphere — although the decoration itself is quite spartan, the various tasks make Prison Break much more immersive than rooms where you’re just fiddling with bits of paper.

Do note that the physical nature of this room means that older, larger, or less mobile players might have difficulty.

RECOMMENDED for beginners and experienced players alike.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 4.5/5
Storyline integration: 4/5

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 8
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6

 

Room review: Roomraider: Hyperion

Roomraider’s Orchard branch is NOW CLOSED.
This review is left here merely as a record.


Their description: The year – 2084. Earth’s space exploration and defence now stretches out wide into the galaxy.

Moon Base Hyperion, 5 light years away from Earth, holds an important discovery. Energon, the most powerful energy source anyone has ever seen.

Hyperion is now under attack from the Altarians, an aggressive alien race bent on galaxy domination. The Altarians are after the Energon. It would spell doom for planet earth if they Altarians captured the Energon and turned it into a weapon.

Communications links with Hyperion have been lost. Last communications reported heavy damage sustained to the base’s defence shields.

Your team is part of the International Space Defence Alliance’s elite Space Ranger Force. Your mission – to evacuate the Energon and detonate Moon Base Hyperion to prevent enemy capture.

The fate of earth hangs in the balance. Are you worthy?


Probably the most immersive Roomraider SG room. It has a very strong sense of setting and plenty of multimedia aspects. Details of the setting are often relevant, which is a nice plus, and the puzzles themselves are clearly part of the storyline.

The actual puzzles themselves were not too hard, so that could be a weakness if you’re after intellectual simulation rather than just having fun. The experience can be over quite quickly, so more hardcore escape room fans might be disappointed.

RECOMMENDED if a sense of fun or setting is important to you; NOT RECOMMENDED if you care only about puzzles.

Puzzle difficulty: 2/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 4/5

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

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 8
My suggested number of players: 2. Maybe 3 if you’re beginners.

 

Room review: Escape Hunt: Spy in the Study

NOTE: This room no longer exists.


Their description: Play detectives solving a mystery of the stolen company documents from the biggest company in Singapore. The police have given you 1 hour to find who stole the blueprints, before the stock market opens and the company is forced to go public with the theft!


As usual, this room doesn’t have much in the way of dramatic flourishes. However, there’s a much more sustained attempt at integrating the puzzles with the plotline, which makes for a more satisfying experience than the other two Escape Hunt rooms.

The puzzles themselves are as logical as always, mainly due to their reliance on matching. Some are a bit more layered, which is nice.

If you plan to play one Escape Hunt room, this could be a good one to try. I did this in a team of three, and we took just over forty minutes.

RECOMMENDED for beginners. Experienced teams can give it a try too.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 1.5/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: N/A
My suggested number of players: 3