Month: October 2017

Room review: Freeing SG: The Enchanted Wardrobe

Their description: Your good friend Jack has gone missing! You are very worried and you look for him everywhere. When you search his home, you come across a suspicious wardrobe and a mysterious letter on the table. Both these items seem to be clues to his whereabouts…

The Enchanted Wardrobe shares many similarities with another Freeing room, Poseidon: an emphasis on fun, a reliance on narrative flavourtext, various special effects, and — unfortunately and accordingly — a high risk of technical malfunction.

But if you had to pick one of the two, The Enchanted Wardrobe is probably a better experience. The puzzles are more varied, the sense of adventure is stronger, the cool moments are cooler, and the narrative is more coherent and maintained.

The room doesn’t get off to a great start, with a dubious early puzzle that’s easily over-thought. But the room’s first surprise sets the mood for the rest of the experience, and I found myself repeatedly charmed or amused by what lay in store.

It’s not a perfect room — apart from aforementioned early puzzle, there’s a tedious mid-game task that I really disliked. The high-tech wizardry isn’t incorporated that smoothly into the setting, either (there’s something incongruous about clearly electrical components in a fantasy world).

If you can forgive those flaws, and if you’re prepared for possible technical malfunctions, The Enchanted Wardrobe is RECOMMENDED for players who enjoy a sense of wonder and adventure. (Dec 2019 edit: I’ve been informed that this room has deteriorated somewhat, in sadly standard Freeing style. As such, I can’t recommend it in good conscience.) If you’re focused on puzzles and not impressed by such frills, this is probably not the room for you.

Unfortunately, this room is not for players with mobility issues.

Puzzle difficulty: 2/5
Puzzle logic: 3/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1.5/5

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: 6
My suggested number of players: 2 to 3. Any more and it’ll start getting crowded.

Room review: Captivate: Cirque

This room was attempted in collaboration with Escapist X from Singapore Escape Room Reviews.
Check out his review of the room too!

Their description: The smallest man in the world is found dead in his caravan at the Cirque travelling circus in Singapore. The police believe it was suicide but you don’t have to be a Fortune Teller to know otherwise. Can you catch the killer and escape?

Unlike some of Captivate’s other rooms, their new room Cirque has little in the way of handholding, making it marginally harder to breeze through. Fortunately, Cirque is harder for the right reasons. A mix of solving skills is required, contributing to the overall sense that this is a well-rounded room.

If the room is lacking in any aspect, it’s probably in the relative lack of technological frills (although there are some). The decor also feels somewhat token. But what made the room memorable, for me, were some brilliant moments of realisation — which demonstrated that you don’t always need special effects to provide a surprise. These included the clever little endgame that closed the game on a good note.

You also do get a conclusion to the room’s central mystery, although the narrative disappears a bit before getting picked up at the end.

This review might not sound that glowing, yet I finished the room with a sense of satisfaction. Despite not being flashy, this room is RECOMMENDED as a decent all-rounder that should prove entertaining for both beginners and veterans.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 1.5/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 10
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Room review: Freeing SG: Back to the Future

This room was attempted in collaboration with Escapist X from Singapore Escape Room Reviews.
Check out his review of the room too!

Their description: After Benson’s grandpa passed away, his father has been obssessed with finding out the truth about his birth. Benson’s father left a letter saying he found something leading to the truth and left home.

It’s been more than 2 months since he went missing. Benson gathered his group of friends who are geniuses in their own field to assist him.

His dad mentioned that FreeingSG has a way to help him peep into the past…

Back to the Future is a fascinatingly atypical Freeing room. It plays to the company’s main strength of creating a sense of fun and adventure, but is also unusually (for Freeing) challenging and features a much deeper engagement with the narrative than usual.

The room leans satisfyingly into its story, with a strong sense of setting and a clear thread running through the puzzles. To say too much would be to spoil the room’s surprises — and there are quite a few — but suffice it to say that Back to the Future provides a comprehensive, well-rounded experience. There are puzzles which are clever, rigorous, and/or original. There are non-trivial hands-on tasks. Perhaps most satisfyingly, the room rewards exploration — not least in its thrilling endgame, which allowed me to experience a real sense of wonder.

That’s not to say that the room is perfect — one early puzzle suffers from questionable flavourtext, and another midstage puzzle is great in concept but falters in execution. Yet these flaws don’t compromise the overall experience.

The room is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re stuck at an early stage — it’s really worth getting to the excellent finale. Sadly, this adventure is not suitable for players with mobility issues.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 6
My suggested number of players: 3 to 5