— Room reviews

Room review: Freeing SG: Old Changi Hospital

Their description: The infamous Old Changi Hospital, occupied by lingering souls since the Second World War. Legend has it that it was used as a lab for conducting heinous experiments on the prisoners of war. What lies within are research that’s capable of creating super soldiers, said to be invincible in times of war. As terrorism rises around the world, it could spell disaster if landed in the wrong hands. You’re tasked to retrieve research within an hour. Complete the mission before the “residents” lay their hands on you…


Old Changi Hospital is not one of Freeing SG’s strongest offerings. Its main flaw is simply that it’s over too fast (in our case, under 20 minutes), as it has a small number of puzzles and none is particularly challenging.

Still, at least the puzzles are fair and rigorous (apart from one late puzzle which I’m still not 100% sure how we solved). As for non-puzzle aspects, the room gets off to a strong start with a cool moment of discovery, and there’s a sustained effort to create a creepy atmosphere. But the experience is less extensive than I’d have liked, it isn’t actually that scary (could be a plus or a minus, depending on your tastes) and the finale felt slightly random.

That having been said, there’s nothing actively bad about the room, making it WORTH A TRY for beginners or experienced teams who don’t mind a brief experience.

Puzzle difficulty: 1.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
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: 2/5

Their suggested number of players: 6
My suggested number of players: 2 to 3

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Room review: Living Legends: Jeremiah’s Manor

Their description: As psychic investigators of great renown, we often received pleas for help, but none as wretched as the one we received from Jeremiah a week ago.

The poor soul was due to be married to his beloved, but tragedy struck and she was murdered. He reports strange sounds from his Manor, and he suspects something is afoul in his house. The police have come and gone, yet were not able to determine the cause of it all.

The wretched man is haunted by the thought of this and all but begged for our help.


Two things set Jeremiah’s Manor apart: its story-driven nature, and its attention to atmosphere and setting.

There’s a well-woven plot that you’ll have to unravel, with dramatic climaxes and even multiple endings. If you care about escape room narratives, you have to play this room. Simple as that. (The generous 90-minute runtime also allows you to savour the plot rather than rushing through.)

As for the atmosphere and setting, comparisons have been drawn with Encounter’s The Apartment. Unfortunately, this gave me unrealistic expectations. An important difference is verisimilitude: what makes The Apartment so effective is that it faithfully recreates the familiar setting of an HDB flat. Although Jeremiah’s Manor has relatively high production values, it’s much harder to replicate the feel of an old manor — so adjust your expectations accordingly.

What Jeremiah’s Manor might lack in physical realism, it makes up for in atmosphere and special effects. The use of magical investigative ‘equipment’ (you’ll see) to progress through the room is a fun and original touch, contributing to the sense of immersion.

Though eerie at times, this isn’t a horror room. Living Legends offers three modes: Easy (normal experience, easier puzzles), Normal, and Nightmare (more intense experience, normal puzzles). My team played on Nightmare mode, but even the more cowardly of us didn’t find it that scary. If you’re interested in playing but can’t bear horror, you should be fine on Normal mode. But if you can, you really should play on Nightmare mode, as that gives the richest experience…

…which is important because Jeremiah’s Manor shines chiefly as an experience, more than as a collection of puzzles. Granted, the puzzles are well-integrated into the plot and generally rigorous. Some are pleasingly multilayered, particularly near the end. But an early puzzle feels unoriginal, a late one features some ambiguity and red herrings, and in general the puzzles — although solid — are not the highlight.

Treat Jeremiah’s Manor as a real-life adventure rather than a regular escape room, and you’ll get the most out of the experience. RECOMMENDED as a great overall experience; HIGHLY RECOMMENDED if you care about narrative.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2.5/5

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

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 8
My suggested number of players: 2 to 5

Room review: Trapped: The Purge

This room was attempted in collaboration with Escapist X from Singapore Escape Room Reviews.

Their description: It’s Purge Night, and your group is being held captive by a demented torturer…with only 60 minutes before the start of The Annual Purge


As with Trapped’s other rooms, The Purge is advertised as a horror room but isn’t particularly scary, so it’s perfectly playable by cowards such as myself.

There isn’t much immersion, whether in setting or in narrative, but the room manages not to be boring. An early puzzle is tough for arguably the wrong reasons (so do consider asking for help); in contrast, a later puzzle is pleasingly layered, though context-free.

There’s one room aspect that you might either find clever (as I did) or somewhat unfair — either way, it’s a good example of how Trapped’s rooms reward exploration in a way that few other rooms do.

Nothing spectacular, but not a room you need to avoid — in other words, it’s WORTH A TRY if you keep your expectations in check. Though you might want to prioritise Trapped’s other two rooms, which are somewhat more interesting.

Puzzle difficulty: 2/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2.5/5
Storyline integration: 1.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 8
My suggested number of players: 2 to 3. You really don’t need more.

Room review: Trapped: The Mental Ward

Their description: It is your first day as an intern in the Mental Hospital. During your lunch break, you and your colleagues decide to explore the codorned ward. Rumour has it, the most notorious mental patients were in that ward before it was shut down. You have an hour to find out if the rumours you heard about the ward are true, before you have to report back to your superior.


The Mental Ward provides a more comprehensive experience than the room it replaced, and is probably Trapped’s hardest and most engaging room.

First, the usual reassurance: despite the advertising, this is not a scary room — creepy, at most — so it’s perfectly playable even if you’re a coward like me.

The room starts off without much plot, but with some clever use of the space and of technology (for puzzle-solving, not special effects). As you advance, the puzzles remain largely context-free, but the narrative surfaces and there’s an attempt at strengthening the theme. I found one stretch interesting as it had a nice (albeit only initial) sense of world-exploration rather than puzzle-solving.

There’s a risk of technical malfunction midway through, so don’t be afraid to call for help if you think you should be getting something that you’re not. The finale, while underwhelming, is at least somewhat novel.

My reviews for Trapped rooms sound lukewarm even though I generally enjoy them; I suppose they lack stand-out moments that would lead me to recommend them. Nonetheless, when I say The Mental Ward is WORTH A TRY, I don’t mean that in a bad way.

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

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2.5/5
Storyline integration: 2/5

Their suggested number of players: 8
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

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. 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

Room review: Trapped: World War 3 (Zombie Edition)

Their description: The World is at war with the Zombies. As you and your friends seek shelter in an abandoned building, you realized that you are not alone. You have 60mins to solve the mysteries and escape within 60mins before you too join the ranks of the undead.


As with Trapped’s Escape from Pulau Tekong room, World War 3 is nowhere near as scary as the website might have you believe. It’s adequately lit and contains no jump scares; you’ll only really be scared by your own apprehension.

The puzzles are fair and logical. Most are on the easy side, but there are some clever touches and one particular late-stage puzzle that I liked.

The room is WORTH A TRY for beginners. Experienced players who don’t mind a quick game (I attempted this room with one other player and we got out in about 20 minutes) can check it out too — the game may be brief but it’s still fairly satisfying.

Puzzle difficulty: 1.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 1/5

Their suggested number of players: 7
My suggested number of players: 2 to 3

Room review: Trapped: Escape from Pulau Tekong

Their description: You have been sent by your commanding chief to Pulau Tekong to find out why the commanding officer there has not been responding to HQ. Upon reaching the island, you find something odd that the entire island is quiet and creepy. You managed to get to the C.O’s bunk and from there your wildest imaginations started to come alive!


Escape from Pulau Tekong was surprising on several levels, for me: it was surprisingly not scary (which I consider a plus); contained some fun or clever in-game surprises; and was just surprisingly good overall (given that I hadn’t heard much praise for Trapped before).

The room is completely playable even if you’re a coward like me, with adequate lighting and no jump scares. There’s a haphazard but decent attempt at setting the scene, and exploration of the room is well rewarded.

The puzzles are generally straightforward but not too trivial. For me, the room’s highlight was (the bulk of) its central midstage puzzle: logical without being tedious, and conveyed in a manner that fit seamlessly into the story and setting. There’s also a solid narrative pay-off that ends the room on a good note.

For me, the strength of that midstage puzzle alone is enough to make the room WORTH A TRY for both beginners and veterans — and the rest of the room certainly isn’t bad either. The room is not physically taxing, but you will need at least one player without mobility issues.

Puzzle difficulty: 2.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3.5/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 7
My suggested number of players: 2 to 3

Room review: Breakout: The Forgotten Treasure

NOTE: Breakout is closing by the end of 2017 (possibly as early as October), so this room will soon be gone! Play it ASAP while you still have the chance.


Their description: One day, you stumbled upon a note left to you by your late relative. You suspect that he has bequeathed upon you some treasure before his last breath.

You gather your friends to join you in search of the forgotten treasure. Will you complete the mission before you are discovered by his immediate family members?


Although it’s not mentioned on Breakout’s website, The Forgotten Treasure is actually two escape rooms in one. The Escape Artist attempted something similar previously, with their original three Forsaken Vault rooms — but those rooms involved different subsets of chambers. In contrast, Breakout’s two room versions play out within exactly the same spaces.

As a result, the second version of Forgotten Treasure which you play (whichever it is) has fewer surprises in store; it also means that red herrings can be harder to avoid. A happier difference is that, with the Breakout rooms, you can play the second version free if you complete the first version within 30 minutes.

At the start, you’ll get to choose between the Lights or Letters version. We did the Lights one first. I don’t think it makes a big difference which you choose — the Lights version perhaps has more cool moments, but playing the Letters version first could help to eliminate more red herrings.

In any case, both versions have solid, logical puzzles; some nice aha moments and little surprises; and even a mild physical element (but don’t worry, the room is completely playable as long as your team has just one member without mobility issues).

The storyline generally stays in the background, though some puzzle elements fit well into it. The decor is nothing amazing but it gets the job done — and the carpet is a pleasant touch!

Instead of being flashy or high-tech, The Forgotten Treasure is a cosy puzzle-focused experience. For beginners, both the Lights and Letters versions are WORTH A TRY as solid introductions to escape rooms. Experienced teams might get a kick out of challenging themselves to complete each room within half-an-hour. Both rooms are also entirely manageable for two-person teams.

Puzzle difficulty: 2.5/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 1/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 2/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 4 to 8
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4