Note: As of 9 Oct 2017, Encounter has closed its Geylang branch. Its only game, once again, is The Apartment.
My opinion of Encounter is irrevocably shaped by The Apartment, which I still consider the only definite must-play room in Singapore. The Apartment has been around since 2014, yet there’s still no other room here which comes close in its atmosphere, immersion, and dedication to storyline.
But for a long time, it was also Encounter’s only room, which is why I didn’t write an overall review for the company. Now that Encounter has expanded to its second location — and I’ve played all of its rooms — I can make a more general assessment.
Which is: no other rooms live up to The Apartment, but then again, it wouldn’t be fair to expect them to do so.
Taken on their own merits, Encounter’s rooms are still solid experiences, with the attention to setting and storyline making up for the occasional weak puzzle. The rooms are among the priciest here, at $33 per person for a group of five to eight, and $38 per person for smaller groups. But you’re paying for much higher production values. In many other rooms, the use of technology is exciting but also crudely obvious — think blinking lights in an ye-olde setting, or clunky moving parts. Encounter’s rooms feel a lot more seamless, making for a more immersive experience.
Incidentally, if I use the word ‘experience’ a lot when writing about Encounter, that’s because it’s really the best description of their rooms: not mere collections of puzzles to be solved, but stories and settings in which you’re a player.
What about the puzzles, though? They’re certainly not bad — most of them are fair and rigorous, and there are usually a few exciting, clever, or particularly well-integrated puzzles in each room. But you shouldn’t go to Encounter’s rooms in search of purely intellectual challenges. Instead, accept each room on its own terms and let yourself be immersed, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
It’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you play The Apartment. After that, step back, regard Encounter with fresh eyes — and then try some of their other rooms. As a company in general, they’re still very much RECOMMENDED. Beginners won’t find the puzzles too tough, and veteran teams should find their style different and refreshing.
Staff: Friendly and genuinely interested. Uniquely in Singapore, they never once break character.
Hints: Unlimited hints, and with the least immersion-breaking hint system in Singapore: pick up the nearest phone, and dial. Staff are very good about not giving things away too easily.
Will your group be combined with strangers? No.
Rooms tried: 1 out of 1 current room; 3 out of 3 former rooms
Recommended team size: 3 to 5
Specific room reviews