Month: November 2016

Room review: Xcape: The Morgue

Their description: The creepiest place of that hospital would be the morgue. Cries of help were heard from time to time and the electronics always malfunctioned in there. Interns from other hospitals have always bragged about these spooky events but you have not been permitted to enter yours yet! Today you decided to break into the morgue. What scary experiences will be awaiting ahead?

Compared to Xcape Haunted’s other room Annabelle, The Morgue is a bit less of a typical escape room and more task-oriented, at least by Singapore standards. This fits well with the horror elements and the surprisingly significant storyline, making The Morgue more of an ~experience~ than a regular room.

The puzzles themselves are fine. The room gets off to a somewhat weak and semi-tedious start, but swiftly improves, with fair ahas and intriguing mechanisms. Some puzzles are integrated very naturally into the setting, adding to the sense of narrative immersion.

But in any case, the puzzles aren’t really the point. The atmosphere, surprises, and sense of tension are what make this room work. There’s also at least one key point where you have to engage with the storyline to a greater degree than most escape rooms, which elevated the experience. And the conclusion is actually a narrative conclusion — which can be a little confusing if you’re used to more conventional endings, but makes a nice change nonetheless.

It’s not a perfect room, and there are certainly points where it sags, including an exposition-dump near the end, and a somewhat muffled sound system. But it’s still wholly RECOMMENDED for the sheer thrill of the experience, even if you’re a coward like me. For logistical reasons, teams should contain at least two members without mobility issues. Larger teams might find themselves without much to do — I’d recommend that larger teams try Annabelle instead, which scales better.

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

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

Their suggested number of players: 5 to 8
My suggested number of players: 3 to 4

Room review: Escape Hunt: The Secret Assignment

Their description: A powerful Chinese entity called the Chen Corporation has stolen top secret nuclear launch codes from the government and plan to start an all out nuclear war in 60 minutes. Your mission as secret agents are to infiltrate Master Chen’s office, find the secret command centre and stop the nuclear launch before it is too late!

It was with some reluctance and scepticism that I returned to Escape Hunt after a long while, since I wasn’t the biggest fan of their original three rooms. But as it turned out, The Secret Assignment was a decent and satisfying experience, which makes me feel more keen to try out future Escape Hunt rooms.

The old Escape Hunt strengths of logical, scrupulously-clued puzzles are still there. Some other Escape Hunt staples are also still there; returning teams might find these a bit stale.

Still, there’s a simple but nonetheless welcome attempt at tying puzzles to the storyline, executed more effectively than in other Escape Hunt rooms. And there’s a little more creativity with tech and setting this time, including a late-stage mechanism that I found extremely cool, since I’d never seen it before (and having played over a hundred rooms by now, that’s not something I can say often).

Perhaps some of my enthusiasm for this room comes from the subversion of my originally low expectations. But The Secret Assignment is also a logical, beginner-friendly room with at least one cool moment, all of which makes it RECOMMENDED for beginners and WORTH A TRY for everyone else. Even if — or perhaps especially if — you’ve tried their earlier rooms and not been impressed, consider giving this room a go.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 4.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1.5/5

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 3