Virtual Room Singapore

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: Virtual Room: Chapter II

Their description: Earth has once again been threatened! Only a few sources of energy capable of combating this plague have been spotted in different periods of time: you have 45 minutes to find them before it is too late!

After enjoying Virtual Room Singapore’s first adventure, we went back to play their recently-launched second game — which turned out to be even cooler and more expansive.

There are five (!) different environments to explore, up from three in the first room, and there’s some movement around within each environment too. What I enjoyed the most, though, was the use of environmental physics in certain non-standard environments. Like the low-gravity stage in the first game, these non-standard environments allow for effects that simply aren’t possible in a traditional non-virtual game.

The puzzling aspect and difficulty have also been ramped up. In the first game, you tended to be doing similar tasks to your teammates; in this sequel, team members are more often in unique situations. Each individual player has more to do in terms of figuring out what they — specifically — need to do. Some of the intuitive leaps required are greater or more complex, and hence more satisfying, while still remaining completely fair.

There’s also a great conclusion to this chapter, which ties together the whole adventure. To say more would be to reveal spoilers, so I’ll just say that… there is more to say.

The only aspect in which the second game loses out to the first, in my opinion, is that there’s a bit less in terms of interesting haptic feedback, due to the different range of tasks. This very minor complaint is possible only because I really enjoyed the haptic feedback of the first game — so in conclusion, make sure you play both games!

As Singapore’s escape room scene continues shrinking with the closure of former companies and branches, Virtual Room Singapore deserves the attention of escape room enthusiasts all the more. While there’s no escaping the heftier price tag, the experience — unique, high-quality, and simply really fun — is worth it. Play the original mission first, then be sure to try the sequel. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Game difficulty: 3.5/5
Game logic: 4/5
Gameplay variation: 4/5

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

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

Room review: Virtual Room: Omega Team

Their description: The year is 2217.

These are dangerous times. The Alpha team, responsible for time exploration, has disappeared. A temporal rift has been detected in the past, which may cause humanity’s disappearance from the Earth – forever.

Your mission… Choose your Omega team (two to four people) from your most loyal companions and set off into historical periods of time such as ancient Egypt and the medieval ages to solve the puzzles and challenges – and save the future of the world!

Be careful, you have a limited amount of time! You are humanity’s last hope!

Good luck Omega team!

Virtual Room Singapore offers an experience distinct from escape rooms, but with aspects that escape room fans will recognise and enjoy. While there aren’t “puzzles” of the code-solving variety, there’s certainly an element of puzzling out what you’re meant to do. You’ll have to explore your environment, come to intuitive realisations, communicate with teammates and execute fun tasks.

If it were simply the VR version of a regular escape room, though, it wouldn’t be very interesting. Instead, this game shines most in allowing for experiences that are simply impossible even in the best-designed physical rooms, whether it’s seeing the effects of low gravity on the moon, or taking part in certain exciting sequences — to say more would be to spoil the surprise.

I think the Virtual Room works because it gets both the hardware and software right, resulting in a high level of immersion that helps you quickly forget that you’re in an empty room and creates a true sense of adventure.

Firstly, the physical equipment doesn’t get in the way. Despite being bulkier than simple VR goggles, the headset is comfortable (I wear glasses and didn’t have any issues) and doesn’t feel cumbersome. The controllers are easy to use — it’s surprising how quickly you start feeling as if your virtual ‘hands’ are your own. (Which is important, because you’ll be using them a lot.)

Then there’s the digital side of things: smooth graphics, multiple (!!) detailed environments, and appropriate sound effects. Interaction with the environment felt natural, and it was easy to pick up and manipulate objects. Haptic feedback from the controllers was used to great effect, adding to the sense of realism.

All this tech is in service of solid gameplay, with a variety of ‘aha’ moments and tasks. An overarching storyline holds everything together, provides an easy-to-follow game structure, and has a fun narrative payoff. There are also cool moments and surprises — these are triggered by players’ own actions, increasing the sense of immersion and engagement.

The room is pricier than most escape rooms, but for good reason. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, both as a unique experience and as a really fun time — just don’t expect a puzzle-heavy, escape-room-style game. They’re apparently introducing a second, tougher game in early 2018, and I’m already looking forward to it.

My usual rubric doesn’t apply, so here’s a modified version:

Game difficulty: 2.5/5
Game logic: 4/5
Gameplay variation: 3.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4.5/5
Exciting moments, effective use of VR: 4/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 4
My suggested number of players: 3 to 4; due to game structure, it’s more fun with at least 3 players.