Room review: Xcape: Busan Express

Note: Bugis Village (which houses Xcape’s entire empire of rooms) is slated for redevelopment, with existing tenants able to stay until March 2021. It’s not clear how or when this might affect Xcape — I’d suggest playing their rooms ASAP!

Their description: In 2040, a mysterious virus spread across the world. Everyone infected by the virus turned into bloodthirsty zombies. You are one of the selected groups of lucky citizens to be transported to the Busan quarantine zone. Welcome aboard the Busan Express. Will your life be saved?

My favourite part of this train ride was its emphasis on setting and narrative, from the compartment where the journey begins, all the way through to the dramatic finale. Narrative is conveyed in some refreshing ways (rather than the usual pages of text), and good use is made of the train’s layout. It would be spoiler-y to even hint at some of the aspects I enjoyed the most, but suffice it to say that as an adventuresome experience alone, Busan Express is well worth playing.

The puzzles themselves aren’t particularly integrated into the narrative, but that’s true of most rooms in Singapore. There’s still a good mix of puzzle types and tasks that should keep most teams satisfied.

As for the question of how scary the room is… I’d say that it’s definitely a thrilling experience (with some quite clever scares!), but you’d be missing out if you stay away just because you don’t like horror. Conversely, if you’re a horror fan, do note that the horror elements aren’t relentless — there’s in fact quite a bit of time for calm puzzle-solving. In short, whether or not you enjoy horror, this train ride is RECOMMENDED for an all-round experience with solid production values.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3/5

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

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 5
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5.

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