Room review: BreakOut: Trapped in my own mind

Their description: You felt an acute headache, and then your bedroom was spinning like a top. The next thing you saw when you opened your eyes was a room full of puzzles.
This was not the first time it happened, but each time the room was different. You knew you had to solve all the puzzles to wake up from this madness; you knew you had to outwit your own mind.

This collab between escape scene stalwart BreakOut and escape event organiser extraordinaire Nomis Piy is around for a limited time only, so I’ll start with the conclusion: if you enjoy puzzles, this room is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, and you should get tickets for the remaining sessions on 28th May  book it like any of BreakOut’s other rooms before its last day on October 2.

Right. So, the review. This is, essentially, a room for puzzle enthusiasts. How much you enjoy this room will be determined by how much you enjoy clever, logical puzzles that require eureka moments rather than execution.

The corollary is that if you come here looking for other things, you might be disappointed. The market has come a long way in the past few years, with code-locks being replaced by all sorts of exciting mechanisms and tasks; in that respect, Trapped in My Own Mind is a bit of a throwback, with code-locks galore.

It’s modest in other ways as well. The “trapped in a puzzler’s mind” framing isn’t much of a narrative, and you shouldn’t expect more of a storyline to emerge as the room progresses. The abstract setting also means that there isn’t too much in the way of decor, although there was one particular stretch I apppreciated.

But that’s because the thrills here are intellectual. There were some exciting physical flourishes here, but even those were an active part of our own puzzle-solving, rather than being some automatically-triggered effect.

And the puzzles here are true puzzles. There’s no blind matching, no tedious mathematics, no counting and searching, no sudoku-style brute logic. Instead, each puzzle turns upon some flash of insight, the ‘aha’ when everything clicks as satisfyingly as the last digit of a code-lock.

Nor are these pen-and-paper affairs; although there are quite a few puzzle-panels (perhaps where Nomis Piy’s event background shows through), there are also plenty of puzzles which make satisfying use of objects and decor — including two particularly clever ones which were genuinely exciting to crack.

At some point in the last three (!) years of playing escape rooms, I think I started lowering my expectations for puzzle quality, and became more willing to simply enjoy rooms as experiences. This room made me rediscover the simple thrill of cracking a clever puzzle; it’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who wants to do the same.

If strong puzzles aren’t enough to make up for other aspects of an escape room, such as exciting tech-enabled flourishes or a strong storyline, then this probably isn’t the room for you. But maybe you should give it a try anyway, and see how much fun pure puzzling can be.

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 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: 1.5/5

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



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