Every time I talk about escape rooms to newbies, I generally get “HUH?” or “What’s that?” In a nutshell, it’s a live game where you and your friends/colleagues/etc. are locked in a room and must use puzzles found through the room in order to get out, usually within 60 minutes. Two month ago, I probably would’ve said the same thing. But now that I work for an escape room company, my escape room IQ has gone up significantly.
To do some market research, my company sent me and my colleagues to Singapore to play as many escape games in 2 days.
Game 1: Escape Hunt Singapore – Murder of the 27 Club
Game description from Escape Hunt: The 27 Club is a group of real-life famous musicians like Jimmy Hendrix, Amy Winehouse and Kurt Cobain who have died tragically at the age of 27. You are playing a famous rock star who will turn 27 soon, and an unexplained mystery has occurred in your dressing room. With 60 minutes to midnight, can you solve it or be the next addition to the 27 Club?
Actual game play: 2 hints and out in 50:00. Truthfully, I didn’t really pay attention to the story line. The first room was made to look like a dressing room felt realistic. The second and third rooms were a bit out there. The puzzles were easy enough.
Game master: A cute Singaporean girl dressed in a detective hat, cape and skirt helped us. Her accent was a bit difficult for my colleagues to understand.
Overall: A good escape room for an escape room newbie.
Game 2: Lockdown.sg – Circus of the Dead
Game description from Lockdown.sg: As an aspiring group of performers craving for fame, you have been invited as a back up for a performance and were assigned to an abandoned dressing room due to a lack of facilities. After entering the dressing room, strange things start to happen and your performance is starting in an hour. Will you be trapped and lose your mind like the others before you?
Actual game play: 3 hints and out in 55:00. The entire game took place all in one room. The puzzles didn’t all make sense in terms of story line. The “wow” factor did scare me a bit. Some math problems were involved. The room is dark and eerie.
Game master: A nerdy looking guy, who really wanted to help us out, was pretty attentive and monitored our progress the entire time.
Overall: Recommended. I came out happy with the results.
Game 3: Encounter – The Hospital
Game description from Encounter: What happened to Mrs Fong and her daughters? What will be revealed in The Hospital?
Actual game play: So we arrived 15 minutes late to our game, so we were penalized 15 minutes, unless we wanted to pay extra to get those 15 minutes back. Since my manager refused to do so, we asked for 2 hints and failed to get out in 45:00. We only got through 2 of the rooms, but the mood and decor was pretty top-notch. On the other hand, the puzzles were absolute crap.
Game master: I think the game master in this game made the game play more disappointing. Her greeting to us when we arrived, “Are you the group for The Hospital? You’re late.” She didn’t monitor us at all. And when we left the room, her only concern was how we were going to pay.
Overall: Extremely disappointing. We all left Encounter feeling crappy about the entire experience. And it was also the most expensive of all the games we played. Definitely not worth it.
Game 4: LOST SG – Alcatraz
Game description from LOST SG: Alcatraz Island prison housed the most dangerous felons in America during its operation from 1934 to 1963. Surrounded by hazardous currents of the San Francisco Bay, no inmate was thought to have ever successfully escaped the maximum-security facility. One fine morning, wardens discovered the disappearance of 3 inmates. Did the inmates make it out of Alcatraz Island braving the unforgiving currents or did they perish into the dark waters of San Francisco Bay?
Relive and uncover the last moments of the inmates and take on the journey to escape from Alcatraz using your analytical thinking, logical reasoning and observational skills.
WILL YOU SUCCEED OR WILL YOU SUCCUMB TO THE HANDS OF FATE?
Actual game play: 2 hints and we failed to get out. By our own accounts, we suck at doing math in our heads. We (or meaning two specific people in my team) failed to open their chests while the rest of us did but couldn’t really help because we were still locked.
Game master: He did try his best to help us get things opened, but he wouldn’t let us see the rest of the puzzles we didn’t solve. Courteous and polite.
Overall: Highly recommended. It was one of the better games we played in our trip.
Game 5: Xcape – Annabelle
Game description from Xcape: The paranormal investigator, William had performed exorcism on the infamous Annabelle doll and showcased it in the Paranormal Museum within his home. Unfortunately the demon that possessed Annabelle had returned! As demonologists, can you help William to end the curse on Annabelle once and for all, or die trying?
Actual game play: 3 hints and was 1 minute away from getting out. Granted, the supposed 75 minutes we were given had been reduced to 65 minutes because the introduction was included in our time. In terms of mood and decor, it was pretty good. The puzzles, for the most part, made sense. We just got hung up on one puzzle that didn’t match what we were seeing and that ate up a lot of time.
Game master: A guy named Vincent helped us out. He talked to us via walkie-talkie, which I was forced to handle. He let us complete the final puzzle and allowed us to exit, which was an usual exit out of the room.
Overall: I left this game thinking we were close and had a good feeling. Recommended.
Game 6: Xcape – Tombraider
Game description from Xcape: In the inheritance of the murdered scientist, Glenn, there was a map marking the exact location of an ancient tomb built in the period of the Five Dynasties. What could have triggered the Western scientist’s interest in a tomb in the Far East? Could it be the exotic treasures, the mysterious ba gua and geomancy, or even the legends of the ghosts and spirits? Nothing seems to be able to explain why this tomb would draw the Company’s attention.
Actual game play: When we first started playing the room, the doors had not been properly locked, so we ended up in places without even solving a puzzle. We asked to restart the game again, but by then, it left a sour taste in my mouth. We only got to the third room and were not even close to finishing. 2 hints asked.
Game master: A goofy girl who played dumb when we called her out on not locking the doors beforehand. She made amends for her mistake at the end by letting us see the rest of the game that we didn’t finish.
Overall: With the unlocked doors mishap and personal conflicts within my team, I didn’t really enjoy the room. I could see the potential in this game and if I went in with another group of people, I think my opinion would be very different.