NOTE: Lockdown’s former branches have closed. Their current branch is located at Orchard Gateway.
Comments on their former rooms (and their amazing murder mystery game) will be left in this review until I get around to playing all their Orchard Gateway games.
One of the pioneers in Singapore’s escape room scene, Lockdown.sg has — in the past, at least — been a hard company to make generalisations about, with your experience there depending very much on picking the right room for your team, or having the appropriate expectations.
Perhaps the most reliable aspect of Lockdown’s rooms has been their affordability: their current rooms, even in the prime location of Orchard, are cheaper than average at $22 (off-peak) or $25 (peak) per person. But the relatively low price doesn’t mean low quality, with their rooms boasting some use of technology and fun surprises in store.
Lockdown’s current Orchard Gateway outlet takes a unique approach to escape rooms by making a handheld tablet a key part of the experience. At various points in a room, you’ll have to scan a QR code to receive a puzzle, or at least part of a puzzle; the rest of the puzzle, and the method by which the solution is ‘submitted’, is part of the physical room. Clues are also obtained via the tablet.
It’s admittedly rather immersion-breaking to have to scan QR codes and consult the tablet screen (though that’s probably most true for the magic-themed room; I imagine it’d be less of an issue in a computer-related theme such as the Bearcraft one). However, this does allow Lockdown to swap out the tablet-based puzzles when necessary — for example, if school groups come to visit.
What’s also good is that the final puzzle-solving step always involves room interaction instead of digital submission, bringing teams back into the physical setting. There are also fun physical flourishes and hands-on interaction, so the rooms certainly aren’t constrained by that digital aspect.
Of their newer rooms, both The Forgotten Temple and Circus of the Dead are a great bargain even at the peak price of $22, with fun flourishes that you’d expect from pricier companies, as well as solid puzzles. Both rooms also make a sustained effort to maintain a storyline. Top Secret is the sole room remaining from when Lockdown first opened — but perhaps that also attests to its quality. It features some satisfying puzzles and good use of multimedia. On the other end of things, Break-in (an earlier version of what is now known as End of the World – Break-in) is worth a try but nothing special, while Trafficking might work for beginners but was disappointing to my team.
In general, I’d say Lockdown.sg is RECOMMENDED for both beginners and experienced players, but it’s worth adjusting your expectations appropriately.
Finally, I have to mention CSI: A Good Night to Die, which is not an escape room at all, but an interactive murder mystery in a room. It is also great fun, a good challenge, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you have any interest at all in mystery-solving.
Staff: Friendly and attentive.
Hints: Self-service hints, via a tablet. Each puzzle has three hints: a vague one, a clearer one, and then the answer itself.
Will your group be combined with strangers? No.
Rooms tried: 1 out of 3 current regular rooms; 1 VR room; 8 out of 8 previous rooms (+ one excellent murder mystery)
Recommended team size: 2 to 5 people
Specific room reviews
Bearry Potter and the Secret Doors
Bearcraft: Dream World
Bears of Justice
Former not-an-escape-room: CSI: A Good Night To Die