Month: July 2020

Room review: Virtual Room: Are We Dead?

Their description: In the year 2040 in a secret military base, it’s been 9 years since an infection devastated the planet creating a rampant Zombie population.

Scientists are about to discover an antidote and will be soon begin eliminating all Zombies off the face of the earth!

Form your team of Zombies and fight for your own race’s survival – it’s time to save the Zombie’s for once!

Virtual Room continues to deliver engrossing and entertaining experiences that I fully recommend to escape room enthusiasts — more so than many of Singapore’s surviving physical rooms, to be honest.

Their latest offering might sound more like a zombie adventure, but it still features much of the hands-on problem-solving style of ‘puzzling’ that characterises their two time travel missions. These are non-trivial tasks that require observation and creativity, in true escape room style.

Like the previous games, Are We Dead? also leans into the chief feature of VR: enabling gameplay that would be completely impossible in a real-world physical game. To say more would be to give spoilers; suffice it to say that I was incredibly charmed and amused by a major feature of the gameplay in this adventure.

“Charmed and amused” was also my general mood throughout the game. Are We Dead? has a delightful sense of whimsy and humour, which is obvious right from the premise (and the zombie bodies that you’ll find yourself inhabiting) and plays out in all sorts of fun ways, including in the problem-solving.

As with their two existing missions, Are We Dead? is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as an incredibly fun romp that’s also full of rigorous puzzling.

Precautions have been taken against Covid-19, including pre- and post-game sanitising, and disposable eye-area masks that prevent your face from coming into direct contact with the headset. Face masks have to be worn throughout.

Game difficulty: 4/5
Game logic: 4/5
Gameplay variation: 4/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting moments, effective use of VR: 4.5/5
Storyline integration: 4.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 4
My suggested number of players: 3 to 4

Room review: Captivate: The Prestige

Their description: Two friends and fellow magicians become bitter enemies after a sudden tragedy. You’ll need to pay close attention, as things may not always be what they seem…

The Prestige replaces Kellar’s Magic Emporium; a couple of old fittings may be familiar to those who’ve played the latter, but rest assured that the puzzles are fresh.

I always appreciate when magic-themed rooms include some actual tricks and misdirection, and there are a couple of fun ones here. The puzzles are solidly logical, with one that’s both central to the narrative and particularly inspired.

The handmade feel of the room’s fittings is somewhat less magical, and the room as a whole isn’t groundbreaking. Still, this is a decent room that’s WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2.5/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

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

Room review: Xcape: Azkaban

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: The imprisoned evil demon known as “Death Prophet” has entered the magical school and stole one of the Divine Artifacts, “The Holy Grail” from Headmaster’s room. If Death Prophet succeeds in gathering all the Divine Artifacts, it will revive and cause great calamity to the world. You and fellow wizards would travel from the Room of Requirement into the magical prison known as Azkaban to retrieve “The Holy Grail”. Ready for a magical adventure?

If you’ve missed the real-world nature of non-virtual escape rooms, Xcape’s Azkaban room will certainly scratch that itch, with magical flourishes and quite a bit of space to explore. These physical aspects are possibly the strongest part of this 75-minute room, which may not earn its runtime on the puzzle front (if you’re fairly good at solving puzzles).

Not that the puzzles are bad. They’re varied and generally logical, though one mid-room move might not seem like the most intuitive. It’s just that Azkaban isn’t the sort of room you play for its puzzles — it’s better enjoyed as an adventure. The setting’s production values are good; there are cool moments; the narrative is sustained throughout, and conveyed through more means than just text.

Azkaban is RECOMMENDED as a magical experience for newer teams or Harry Potter fans, and still solidly WORTH A TRY for veteran teams, though it may not challenge your jadedness too much.

Precautions have been taken against Covid-19, including pre- and post-game sanitising, and the provision of disposable gloves. Face masks have to be worn throughout.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3/5

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

Rooms reopening

A quick update on the state of play for escape rooms in Singapore, as several companies prepare to reopen this Saturday (and have started accepting bookings).

Update: As of July 6, all current escape room companies in Singapore have reopened — apart from The Escape Artist, which reopens on July 11! Do show them some support after the tough time they’ve had in the last few months.

Amazing Chambers [overall review] – reopened July 6
Captivate Escape Rooms [overall review] – reopened June 18
Escape Hunt [overall review] – reopened July 6 [overall review] – reopened July 4
LOST SG [overall review] – reopened July 4
The Escape Artist [overall review] – reopening July 11
Trapped [overall review] – reopened June 19
Virtual Room Singapore [reviews] – reopened July 4
Xcape [overall review] – reopened July 4