— Company reviews

Overall review: Amazing Chambers

Amazing Chambers is possibly more interesting as an industry case study than for its rooms themselves. Housed in a heritage building in Kampong Glam, it drew some flak from those who felt that this was a disrespectful use of the historical premises. Its defence: All its rooms are based on historical events or local folktales, with a focus on Malay culture. This is relatively rare in Singapore, with Amazing Chambers being only the second company (after the sadly defunct Unravel) with a complete set of locally-themed rooms.

Its rooms probably do succeed in providing a fun and exciting experience to its apparent main audience of tourists, families, schoolchildren, and general beginners to escape rooms. Experienced teams might not be as impressed, though they probably won’t be too upset either.

In the rooms I’ve played so far, I did learn new things about local folktales. Each room also has a narrative resolution of some sort. It’s a shame, then, that most puzzles weren’t integrated that gracefully into the storyline — and that the rooms include wildly anachronistic tech or setting details. (When it comes to creating a convincing setting, the company is probably constrained by having to respect the heritage building’s original fittings.)

What about the rest of the experience? Amazing Chambers is affiliated with Trapped SG, and it does show. Its rooms have a slightly old-school feel despite the frequent use of high-tech aspects, and most contain an unfortunate flaw or too. Yet there are also standout puzzles, fun moments of discovery, and creative touches.

Overall, there are enough cool aspects that beginner teams should have a fun time. Jaded veterans may be harder to win over. Neither a company to dismiss nor one to rave about, Amazing Chambers is solidly WORTH A VISIT. Keep your expectations in check, and you’ll have more fun.

Staff: Friendly and helpful. They are careful not to reveal too much when you call for help.

Hints: Via intercom phone. Staff will enter the room if needed.

Will your group be combined with strangers? Yes.

Rooms tried: 6 out of 7 current rooms

Recommended team size: 2 to 4 people

Specific room reviews

1603: Changi Naval Battle
Badang the Magnificent
The Invaders (formerly Leftenan Adnan: The Battle of Bukit Chandu)
Princess Radin Mas Ayu
Sang Nila Utama and The Lost Crown
The Curse – Legend of Tanggang (formerly Si Tanggang, The Ungrateful)
Sisters Island

Amazing Chambers

Overall review: Trapped

A confession: I avoided Trapped’s rooms for a long time, partly because their previous rooms were reportedly lacklustre and partly because I’m not a fan of horror. As it turns out, I should have given them a chance earlier.

With a ground-floor location along the exterior of teen mall *Scape, Trapped seems particularly well-placed to receive walk-in customers. Unfortunately, I think the company does itself a disservice by playing up the horror element of its rooms. Creepy props fill the shop window, and their website’s room descriptions suggest that players will have a terrifying time. All of this could dissuade first-time escape room players, or those who (like me) dislike horror.

And that’s a shame, because Trapped’s rooms are beginner-friendly, suitable for small groups, and not actually that scary. Most of their puzzles are logical, fair, and relatively simple. The rooms contain some familiar tropes, providing a good introduction to the escape room genre.

While veterans may breeze through the rooms, they won’t necessarily be bored — there’s at least one particularly satisfying puzzle in each room, and the rooms do repay exploration. It does also appear as though soloing a room might be possible…

Trapped is very much WORTH A VISIT for beginners, or two-player teams who want manageable rooms. Experienced teams are unlikely to feel challenged. But if you’re an experienced player who is running out of rooms to play yet doesn’t want to end up playing bad rooms (like me), rest assured that Trapped’s rooms are worth checking out — even if your visit could be brief.

Staff: Friendly and helpful. They are careful not to reveal too much when you ask for a hint.

Hints: Three hints via intercom phone.

Will your group be combined with strangers? Yes.

Rooms tried: 3 out of 3 current rooms; 1 former room

Recommended team size: 2 to 3 people

Specific room reviews

Current rooms
Escape from Pulau Tekong
The Purge
The Mental Ward

Former rooms
World War 3 (Zombie Edition)

Trapped SG

Overall review: The Escape Artist (Sentosa Gateway)

NOTE: As of mid-2018 (at least), the Sentosa Gateway branch no longer features a Hero Class system.

At The Escape Artist’s newest outlet at Telok Blangah House (just opposite VivoCity), their established strength of logical puzzles is transplanted into larger and more exciting rooms, with a continued judicious use of tech, and a Hero Class system which adds another layer of gameplay considerations.

Let’s deal with each point in turn. The puzzles remain up to the same scrupulously fair standard that is TEA’s hallmark, with some particularly clever or fresh ones in the mix. The puzzles are decently integrated into the storyline, but go further by being integrated into the physical setting as well. You won’t encounter out-of-place text panels, for instance, or things that stick out awkwardly.

The rooms are expansive in a linear way, providing a good sense of progression. They’re also more complex vertically, which literally adds an extra dimension to the sense of adventure. Relatedly, their ‘physicality’ ratings for each room are not for show. There’s quite a bit of physical activity required, making most of their rooms more fun as a result, but sadly also unsuitable for people with mobility issues.

The use of tech and multimedia is extensive without being gratuitous, with various fun ways to unlock things. There are also some small hands-on aspects, which I always appreciate.

The ‘fear factor’ rating on The Escape Artist’s website is kind of irrelevant as even their scariest rooms at this branch are slightly creepy at best. But the ‘physicality’ and ‘lighting’ ratings are certainly helpful — with the latter, in particular, possibly playing a role in your choice of Hero Class.

Speaking of which: the Hero Class system gives players significant control over their escape room experience. Each player in the team gets to choose a special power that will confer an advantage in playing the game. (You also get a free can badge for each power you choose, which is a nice touch.)

You can therefore choose to load up on powers that will make the room a breeze; or, like us, you could try to play on the highest difficulty setting, either by choosing relatively useless powers, or just not using powers at all.

Experienced teams might want to try the latter approach — because the corollary to having a Hero Class system, as a staff member mentioned, is that these rooms are somewhat easier since hints aren’t freely given. This does mean that experienced teams might escape too swiftly, but at least there are fun moments along the way.

RECOMMENDED, especially for beginners, though experienced players will probably enjoy themselves too.

Staff: Friendly and welcoming. They are careful not to reveal too much when you use a power to get a hint, which is appreciated.

Hints: No hints unless you choose one of the Hero Classes that allows you to receive hints. Unlimited hints.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 4 out of 4

Recommended team size: 3 to 5 people

Specific room reviews

Count Dracula
Last Light
Outpost X

The Escape Artist (Sentosa Gateway)

Overall review: Encounter

This review is left here merely as a record.

Note: As of 9 Oct 2017, Encounter has closed its Geylang branch. Its only game, once again, is The Apartment.

My opinion of Encounter is irrevocably shaped by The Apartment, which I still consider the only definite must-play room in Singapore. The Apartment has been around since 2014, yet there’s still no other room here which comes close in its atmosphere, immersion, and dedication to storyline.

But for a long time, it was also Encounter’s only room, which is why I didn’t write an overall review for the company. Now that Encounter has expanded to its second location — and I’ve played all of its rooms — I can make a more general assessment.

Which is: no other rooms live up to The Apartment, but then again, it wouldn’t be fair to expect them to do so.

Taken on their own merits, Encounter’s rooms are still solid experiences, with the attention to setting and storyline making up for the occasional weak puzzle. The rooms are among the priciest here, at $33 per person for a group of five to eight, and $38 per person for smaller groups. But you’re paying for much higher production values. In many other rooms, the use of technology is exciting but also crudely obvious — think blinking lights in an ye-olde setting, or clunky moving parts. Encounter’s rooms feel a lot more seamless, making for a more immersive experience.

Incidentally, if I use the word ‘experience’ a lot when writing about Encounter, that’s because it’s really the best description of their rooms: not mere collections of puzzles to be solved, but stories and settings in which you’re a player.

What about the puzzles, though? They’re certainly not bad — most of them are fair and rigorous, and there are usually a few exciting, clever, or particularly well-integrated puzzles in each room. But you shouldn’t go to Encounter’s rooms in search of purely intellectual challenges. Instead, accept each room on its own terms and let yourself be immersed, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more.

It’s HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you play The Apartment. After that, step back, regard Encounter with fresh eyes — and then try some of their other rooms. As a company in general, they’re still very much RECOMMENDED. Beginners won’t find the puzzles too tough, and veteran teams should find their style different and refreshing.

Staff: Friendly and genuinely interested. Uniquely in Singapore, they never once break character.

Hints: Unlimited hints, and with the least immersion-breaking hint system in Singapore: pick up the nearest phone, and dial. Staff are very good about not giving things away too easily.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 1 out of 1 current room; 3 out of 3 former rooms

Recommended team size: 3 to 5

Specific room reviews

Current rooms
The Apartment

Former rooms
The Hospital
The Cruise
The Boutique


Overall review: Captivate Escape Rooms

Captivate Escape Rooms has changed quite a bit since it first opened, with its newer rooms feeling somewhat different from their original slate. It’s thus hard to generalise about their offerings, but here’s an attempt.

Captivate’s rooms have a handmade feel, which might be endearing or immersion-breaking, depending on your preferences. Still, even if the production values may not be the most polished, these certainly aren’t low-tech rooms — there are lots of technological frills and gadgets in store.

Perhaps what I appreciate most is that each room at Captivate includes some cool and original ahas, providing a breath of fresh air in a market saturated with familiar puzzle types and structures — and making them worthwhile even for veterans. The puzzles also tend to be solidly logical, though running more on escape room logic than narrative motivation.

I also enjoy the fun little surprises that each room contains. And while the puzzles themselves may not be that deeply integrated into the narrative, Captivate’s rooms do maintain a narrative throughout and provide a proper conclusion.

On the whole, I’d say that their rooms are RECOMMENDED for beginners, and still WORTH A VISIT for veterans, if you manage your expectations.

Staff: Friendly and chill. The place doesn’t feel like one of those soulless money-making operations, which is nice.

Hints: Unlimited hints. Just wave at a security camera or use the walkie-talkie, and one of the staff will enter to help you out. If you find this immersion-breaking, well — you can probably get by without hints anyway.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 7 out of 7 current rooms; 3 former rooms

Recommended team size: 2 to 4. A good escape room company for two-player teams.

Specific room reviews

Current rooms
Labyrinth: Dead Men Walking
Zero Hour
Cirque (rebranded as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation)
Murder on the Singapore Express
Alien vs Human
The Prestige
The Hitman
Mythical Beasts (coming soon?)

Former rooms
Black Out
Kellar’s Magic Emporium

Captivate Escape Rooms

Overall review: Unravel

This review is left here merely as a record.

Unravel takes pride in its incorporation of local urban legends and history into its rooms. In practical terms, this means a lot of attention paid to setting and atmosphere, and a general attempt to keep puzzles tied to the storyline — all of which makes for a satisfyingly immersive experience.

These strengths are also combined: details in the setting are often directly relevant to the puzzles, which makes for a better experience than rooms where the puzzles are just lying around on scraps of paper. The corollary is that you’ll really need good observational skills. In some rooms, the setting details also contain red herrings, which could be annoying.

But for the most part, the puzzles themselves are sound and logical, with one or two particularly creative puzzles in each room. There’s also fun technology use and trigger mechanisms — most notably in The Ouija and The Haunting, though all of Unravel’s rooms have at least one or two elements more exciting than simple code-locks.

The emphasis on these rooms’ local flavour might seem a bit gimmicky, but I think it does add to the experience. Given that Singapore’s escape room scene already has several foreign chains, and even the homegrown companies stick to generic or international themes, it’s nice to have an escape company with rooms that belong squarely in Singapore. (The only other example I can think of is Encounter’s The Apartment.)

Though Unravel’s rooms do have the odd weakness or two, each one of them is still well worth playing. Add the friendly staff and customer-friendly policies, and this is an escape company that is definitely RECOMMENDED — whether you’re a beginner to the concept, or an experienced and jaded veteran.

Staff: Very friendly, not overly strict about starting time, and happy to talk about the rooms once you’ve done them. Their enthusiasm for the games is great to see.

Hints: Unlimited hints via walkie-talkie. Even though communication is via walkie-talkie, the staff tend to enter the room when you call for help; if you find that immersion-breaking, you could try asking them not to do so. Staff are very cautious and will simply ask questions and give hints rather than revealing the answer outright, which is great.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 4 out of 4 current rooms; 1 older room

Recommended team size: 4 to 6

Specific room reviews

Current rooms
The Betrayal
The Haunting
The Wish
The Ouija

Former rooms
The Missing


Overall review: LOST SG

LOST SG seems to pride itself on its use of technology, and that’s certainly one big selling point. Its rooms are full of fun mechanisms and triggers. Some of them are genuinely part of a puzzle; others liven up what could otherwise just have been the standard box-with-a-number-lock method of hiding the next clue.

It’s not just all style and no substance, though. The puzzles themselves are fairly solid and sometimes imaginative, with a good mix of puzzle types in each room. There’s the odd red herring, but so far, this hasn’t seemed unfair.

There’s also a short video you’ll have to watch for each room before you try it, which is a nice effort on their part (even if it doesn’t necessarily add much!).

Though each room tends to have one or two annoying flaws, LOST SG is a great addition to Singapore’s busy escape room scene. RECOMMENDED as a good all-round escape room company: fun tech, solid puzzles, decently atmospheric rooms, and friendly staff. It’s just a shame about their policy of combining smaller groups.

Staff: Generally friendly and not overly strict, and happy to talk about other groups’ experiences with the room you’ve tried.

Hints: Three (?) hints, obtained via intercom. Staff seem generally cautious about revealing too much unless you ask for it, which is good.

Will your group be combined with strangers? Yes, unless you book the room for at least 7 players.

Rooms tried: 5 out of 5 current rooms; 1 older room

Recommended team size: 3 to 5

Specific room reviews

Current rooms

Former rooms


Overall review: Freeing SG

NOTE: This review has been edited to reflect changes in Freeing’s branches and policies.

Freeing SG’s rooms are great if you’re looking for fun experiences rather than intellectual stimulation. Even after the games changed from 45- to 60-minute ones, they don’t necessarily contain that many puzzles — but they’re certainly not boring. (The main exception is the excellent Back to the Future room, which provides both a fun experience and real challenges.)

The rooms generally make an effort with setting and storyline, and are filled with exciting mechanisms, special effects, or multimedia aspects, all of which are closely tied to the room theme.

The puzzles themselves are fairly logical, and often go beyond that tired old escape room staple of mere matching. And even if the puzzles are seldom novel in structure, there’s a whole range of methods in which they are conveyed and solved, making for a fun experience nevertheless.

edit, June 2015: Sadly it appears that the Freeing Cathay rooms have gotten a bit tired and worn out from overuse. I still think some rooms are worth a visit, but do adjust your expectations. [13 August 2018 – Freeing’s Cathay branch is now closed.]

edit, July 2017: Freeing have opened a second outlet in Plaza Singapura, with more rooms still being added. Given their maintenance track record in the Cathay, I’d say it’s worth checking out the Plaza Sing rooms ASAP, so you can appreciate all their dramatic frills and flourishes while they still work.

RECOMMENDED if you care about setting and fun mechanisms. Still WORTH A VISIT otherwise.

Staff: Staff are friendly and responsive.

Hints: One (?) hint, via doorbell. Staff used to tell you the answer rather than give you hints, but are now more circumspect. You also get a walkthrough if you fail, which is nice. (June 2017: It seems that you can unofficially get unlimited hints at the Freeing Plaza Singapura branch.)

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 7 out of 7 at Plaza Singapura

Recommended team size: 3 to 5

Specific room reviews

Current rooms – Plaza Singapura
White House
Back to the Future
The Enchanted Wardrobe
Old Changi Hospital

Former rooms
Mission Incredible (Bugis+)
Painter’s Murder (Bugis+)
Rise to the Challenge: Biohazard (pop-up)
Alice in Wonderland (Cathay)
Funeral: The Mourning Widow (Cathay)
Secrets of the Past: From Russia with Love (Cathay)
Ninja: The Secret Disciplines of the Shinobi (Cathay)
Spaceship: Galactic Survival (Cathay)
War: The Battle for Freedom (Cathay)

Freeing SG

Overall review: Exit Plan

NOTE: I haven’t tried the existing rooms at Exit Plan, only two of the old ones.

Exit Plan is an escape room company that I really wanted to like. The staff are friendly and enthusiastic, and their policies are customer-friendly, down to their special ‘lone wolf’ challenge where you get to play for free if you complete a room on your own. But based on my experiences with two of their previous rooms, this just isn’t the escape room company for me.

Their old medium-difficulty room, Mad Scientist, was decent but unremarkable. Some of the puzzles were interesting; others felt rather arbitrary and disconnected from the plot. But the main problem was with their previous hardest room, Dizzy Me. It wasn’t difficult because of ingenious or complex puzzles. Instead, it was full of ‘busy work’, with everything relying upon execution and logistics rather than figuring out how to solve the puzzles. I haven’t been back since, but I’ve heard from friends that at least two of their current rooms rely on such ‘busy work’ elements.

Sometimes, escape rooms can compensate for weak puzzles by having other strong points. But with a peak charge of $18 and an off-peak charge of $15, this is one of the cheapest options in Singapore — and accordingly, the rooms don’t have much in the way of special effects or exciting physical aspects.

Exit Plan’s rooms could be good for beginners, team exercises, or people who like the excitement of an escape room more than actual, rigorous puzzle-solving. But if interesting puzzles are what you are after, then based on my previous experience, Exit Plan is probably not your best bet.

Staff: Friendly and enthusiastic. You can really tell that they enjoy puzzle rooms too.

Hints: Unlimited hints via doorbell. Staff are quick to respond.

Will your group be combined with strangers? No.

Rooms tried: 2 older rooms, none of the current ones.

Recommended team size: N/A as I haven’t played the current rooms.


Exit Plan

Overall review: Xcape Singapore

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!

Xcape Singapore’s rooms are big on special effects, hidden doorways and other exciting physical elements. They can be quite entertaining as a result, but you’ve got to bear with the risk of being combined with another group (though this doesn’t apply during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Puzzles vary significantly across rooms. Some are not that inventive or enjoyable, may involve tedious matching, and can be downright unsatisfying or anticlimactic. Still, better rooms have good multimedia puzzles, which help to make up for it.

In any case, one doesn’t come to Xcape for the puzzles per se. Instead, Xcape is notable for:

  • Scale and a sense of adventure. Xcape’s rooms are usually physically complex, with Tomb Raider in particular featuring the most extensive network of rooms I’ve seen here. Shutter Island has a four-way split start, making it good for larger teams.
  • Tasks and hands-on problem-solving, which make a nice change from regular puzzles.
  • Technological frills and thrills, particularly in its Xcape Funtasy and Xcape Haunted series (as well as Busan Express in Season 3). These later rooms are great at providing a full ~experience, not simply an escape room.

That’s not to say that Xcape is all style and no substance. In fact, the later rooms which focus more on tasks also tend to have fairer puzzles.

Xcape has several different outlets along the same stretch of Bugis Village, but now also has a main ground floor outlet where all teams are meant to report.

The remaining two Season 2 rooms are WORTH A VISIT for their physical complexity and challenging nature, though be warned that the challenges might not always be satisfying.

In contrast, if you’re looking for pure fun rather than a challenge, then their two Xcape Funtasy rooms are RECOMMENDED. And if you’re looking for a thrilling time alongside fair puzzles, the Xcape Haunted rooms are RECOMMENDED too (as is Busan Express, my personal favourite out of their Season 3 rooms — even though I’m not a fan of horror!).

Then there is the stellar Xcape RPG, Shanghai 1943 — not an escape room, but a fun and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED murder mystery roleplaying game that offers a solid plot, complex character roles and a set full of evidence to be discovered.

Staff: Customer service has improved a lot since Xcape’s early days. Staff are friendly and quick to respond to calls for help — as well as proactive when technology malfunctions.

Hints: When I played Season 2 in 2014 and 2015, the policy was for two hints only. You have to find hint cards in the room, and can then use them to get hints via intercom phone or waving at the CCTV (or possibly doorbell in some cases, I’m not sure). At Xcape Funtasy in 2016, you were allowed to simply ask for hints, with a limit of two hints every half-hour. The Xcape Haunted rooms didn’t have a hint limit.

Will your group be combined with strangers? Yes.

Rooms tried: 9 out of 9 current rooms (+ one excellent murder mystery RPG); various former rooms

Recommended team size: 5 to 7 for Season 2. Ideal team sizes for Xcape Funtasy, Xcape Haunted, and Season 3 rooms vary significantly; check the individual reviews.

Specific room reviews

Current rooms

Season 2
Tomb Raider
Resident Evil

Season 3
Shutter Island
Busan Express

Doraemon – A Dream Come True
Kungfu Panda X – The Return of Tai Lung

The Morgue

Not an escape room, but highly recommended
Shanghai 1943

Former rooms

Season 1+
Whisper of The Dead (original version)
Chamber of Secrets (original version)

Season 2
Vampire Diary
Upside Down

Xcape Singapore