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JB updates

Amid closures in the Singapore escape room scene, I headed back up to JB instead. Check out updated reviews for four rooms at LOST in JB’s Haunted House branch at Sutera (spoilers: the games there are seriously worth playing, even for cowards like myself!) and the third and final case at LOST in JB’s Crime Scene branch, The Castle.

In unrelated news, Lockdown is holding a rerun of its Battlebox event this June; you can get tickets here. The Escape Artist is holding a new game on the first weekend of June, but sadly I won’t be in the country for it.

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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

‘Room’ review: Crime Scene by LOST in JB: The Tenants Upstairs

Note: I don’t usually post standalone reviews of games in JB, but I thought this Crime Scene case deserved its own post.

Their description: In Fortune Apartment lives a single 48 year old rich man called “Landlord Shi”. He has a strange personality and a bad temper, and all his tenants dislike him. Even weirder is that the 7th floor of Fortune Apartment is a restricted area, none of the tenants are allowed to go up there. However, one day, Landlord Shi was found dead lying in a pool of blood, someone had given him a heavy strike on the head. The 5 tenants in the apartment immediately became the top suspects. Was this an accident or a planned murder? Visit the scene of the crime, it is up to you to find the real killer. A forbidden storeroom, and a bizarre murder mystery. The real killer is among you…


If, like me, you enjoyed Xcape’s Shanghai 1943 roleplaying murder mystery game and wish there were more such cases available, then you absolutely need to visit LOST in JB’s Crime Scene branch to play The Tenants Upstairs.

LOST in JB collaborated with Xcape on the Shanghai 1943 case, and both games draw upon the format of Korean murder mystery reality gameshow Crime Scene (as well as its Chinese adaptation 明星大侦探). [For a description of the game structure, please check out my Shanghai 1943 review; if you’re based in Singapore then you might as well play that game first before going up to JB!]

The only real structural difference in the JB version is that the suspects’ timelines are stated by the gamemaster rather than the suspects themselves; they are also provided in black-and-white to the detective. I found this slightly unsatisfying, as it potentially limits the murderer’s scope for lying, but it’s a minor flaw.

So, the game structure is a huge draw in its own right. What about the case itself? I personally found The Tenants Upstairs even better than Shanghai 1943, due to its clever use of evidence.

Admittedly, given the setting, the costumes are less elaborate and the set more pedestrian than Shanghai 1943. However, the set boasts greater verisimilitude and more of a “lived-in” feel, which also made the evidence feel more naturally integrated into each room.

As for the plot, the character storylines aren’t interwoven as densely as in Shanghai 1943, and some tenants have more satisfying storylines and motives than others — but on the whole, there’s nothing to complain about on this front.

In any case, the greatest strength of The Tenants Upstairs is its use of evidence. Firstly, you have to do more to access some evidence than in Shanghai 1943 (which also makes it truer to the Korean Crime Scene/明星大侦探 experience). Secondly, the evidence is sometimes used very subtly and cleverly; you have to really think about the significance of certain items.

Indeed, for me, the highlight of The Tenants Upstairs was its incredibly clever use of certain decisive pieces of evidence. We didn’t manage to draw those links, so we were completely blown away by the reveal video. Yet rest assured that even without those specific inferences, it’s entirely possible to capture the murderer.

LOST in JB’s The Tenants Upstairs is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and well worth the trip up to Johor Bahru. Not just because it’s the only other game of its kind besides Shanghai 1943, but also because it’s an engaging, well-crafted mystery that keeps surprising you all the way till the full reveal.

If you’ve played Shanghai 1943 and liked it, you have to play The Tenants Upstairs.
If you’ve played Shanghai 1943 and didn’t quite like it, you might still enjoy The Tenants Upstairs.
If you haven’t played Shanghai 1943, go and play it first!!!

While you’re at it, do check out the Korean and Chinese versions of Crime Scene — they’re both well worth a watch.

(Despite the extensive use of Chinese on LOST in JB’s Crime Scene Facebook page, rest assured that the case is presented fluently in both English and Chinese; my English-reliant team faced no issues.)

Case difficulty: 4/5
Case logic: 4/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Storyline integration: 5/5

Their suggested number of players: 6 to 7
My suggested number of players: 6 to 7

coming soon: the RED DOT hunt!

If you enjoy escape room puzzles, but wish they were more interesting;
If you love the intense puzzles that some escape game events offer;
If you want more escape rooms to be like Trapped in My Own Mind;

Then check out the RED DOT hunt!

It’s a free 48-hour online puzzle hunt for teams of one to four players, happening from 10pm on Friday, September 29 till 10pm on Sunday, October 1.

There’s also a 🌟 prize 🌟 for the first Singapore-based team to finish!

Registration’s open now.
Head over to reddothunt.sg to find out more!

Three years on

So this blog turned three on July 19, and while I didn’t have an update planned for then, I did play my 99th and 100th Singapore* escape rooms today — reviews to come soon. This was after having gone for S-capegoats‘ excellent NS-cape event, of which more over on escaped.sg (eventually).

After four years of escaping from rooms and three years of running this blog, I’m glad that the escape event scene continues to expand and improve, and that there are still new rooms here which I haven’t played (Freeing’s ongoing takeover of the former U Escape space; the fourth chapter of The Escape Artist’s Forsaken Vault room; an apparent upcoming Captivate (!) room). Though the industry has seen its share of casualties, here’s hoping that the escape scene in Singapore will stay very much alive.

*I’ve also played a further 26 overseas.

Another year of escaping.sg…

This blog has reached its second birthday! I’m glad there are still new rooms to play and enjoy and that the industry has continued to evolve, three years after I first played an escape room.

To mark this anniversary (okay, not really, it’s just coincidence), here’s a write-up of some rooms in Kuala Lumpur, which Singapore-based fans should definitely check out.

There might also be some thoughts on this year’s recently-concluded Singapore Puzzle Hunt over on escape.sg eventually. In the meantime, check out our updated hunt webpage (especially the puzzles) and join the SG Puzzlers Facebook group if you haven’t done so yet!

Singapore Puzzle Hunt 2016

The Singapore Puzzle Hunt is back for a second year! (And yes, I’m one of the organisers.)

Saturday, 16 July 2016
12pm – 6pm
Lifelong Learning Institute, Event Hall 1-1

If you enjoy escape room puzzles but wish they were more challenging and multi-layered, this is the event for you. Round up a team of four and get your tickets now!

For more information, check out our webpage at www.sgpuzzlehunt.com — in particular, if you’re new to puzzle hunts, our archive of last year’s puzzles will give you a good idea of what to expect (although this year’s puzzles have been calibrated to be more… manageable).

You can also follow us on Facebook for updates, teaser puzzles, and solving tips.

Join our MIT Mystery Hunt team!

Are escape rooms too easy for you? Do you want tougher challenges? The annual MIT Mystery Hunt is coming up, and we’re looking for Singaporean puzzle-solvers to join our team. (It’s free, don’t worry.)

The hunt takes place over one weekend: from 1 am Singapore time on the night of Friday, January 15 (i.e. early on January 16) until around 7am on Monday morning.

If you have any time to spare that weekend, why not join us? We’ll probably do most of the solving online, but might meet up if there’s demand. Just get in touch over on the Singapore Puzzle Hunt FB group, and we’ll add you to the team.

For examples of how puzzle hunts work, check out the Singapore Puzzle Hunt — but be prepared for tougher puzzles.

a year of escaping.sg

The first post on escaping.sg was made exactly a year ago, as it turns out. (And if anyone’s keeping track — well, okay, I am — the first escape room I played was on July 21, 2013, so it seems these anniversaries come close together.)

Sadly, I didn’t have any special plans to mark the occasion, so it’s business as usual — just look out for a new room review (Xcape’s Resident Evil, at last) in the coming week, and eventually some reflections on the recent Singapore Puzzle Hunt over on escape.sg.

Speaking of which, the puzzles and solutions from that July 12 event are now online. Take a look, and perhaps you’ll be tempted to explore the world of puzzle hunts as well…