Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Break the Code Plus - Lost Review


My usual fellow escape room buddies and I (4 adults in total) tried this room very late on a Friday night in December.  This was our 23rd room in Sydney (and our 33rd room in Australia) so far…

Having previously tried 3 other rooms at Break the Code Plus, my expectations going in were set pretty low.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Lost room at Break the Code Plus:


1.     Their front of house and assistance when booking were excellent.
2.     The theming was really strong – definitely the best themed room that they have on offer.  The props and “room” are really cool.
3.     We had a really enthusiastic game master, which was great
4.     The puzzles in this room were really clever –a god mix of hunt and seek fun, puzzles that for the most part really suited the theme and the level of difficulty was really challenging for our pretty experienced team.
5.     They have been listening to feedback and now they rely on walkie talkies and unless there is a real problem, the game master does not enter the room;
6.     All of the puzzles worked well and as they were intended.  We saw some puzzle mechanisms in this room that we had never seen before elsewhere.
7.     We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.

If you have read any of my earlier reviews of Break the Code Plus, you will know that I wasn’t a fan of their other rooms (other than Indiana Jones, which was fun).  We had technical issues, rooms not having been reset properly, average theming and some VERY clunky puzzles with poor execution. 

I am pleased to say that this room was MUCH better than all of their other rooms combined.  I really liked the theme and the variety of puzzles. 

It’s a difficult room – in the several months since they opened, only one team had escaped at the time that we tried out the room (and that team escaped with less than one minute to go).  We got pretty lucky and managed to escape with 8 minutes to spare. 

I really liked this room – it wasn’t perfect, and perhaps it’s partly because I went in with such low expectations, but I really enjoyed the room.  I would rate it in my top 10 rooms in Sydney.


And now for what I didn't like:

1.     There was a puzzle that did not fit the theme (laser puzzle in a plane crash theme) – this puzzle was also unclear and I broke it about 30 minutes before I was intended to get the solution a different way.  Thankfully we still had to complete other puzzles before the final door would open, otherwise we would have been out in about 20 minutes tops.  They should ditch this puzzle I think.
2.     There was a logic puzzle in the room that was a little clunky – it made sense when it was explained to us, but it didn’t feel like a satisfactory explanation.  Also, there was another puzzle which was not explained well (and due to this, we had to re-do the puzzle which took ages).  The game master was also not able to explain this puzzle solution, which was a shame.
3.     We had a technical issue with one puzzle that didn’t work the first time (we are all certain we entered in the code correctly the first time – this wasted a couple of minutes).
4.     Their price (without a discount coupon) is $180 for 4 adults.  This makes them the most expensive escape room outfit in Sydney (equal with Mission Sydney's Dr M, which is a far superior room).  Whilst this is a really good room, it is not up there with the likes of Enigma Room, PaniqRoom, Mission Sydney, etc, so this price tag is simply far too much. 

So in conclusion, this is the pick of the rooms at Break the Code Plus, but it is a very difficult room.  Beginners should not bother because they will probably end up frustrated by the puzzles.
I’m glad I went to this room – I had heaps of fun.

Where:                        Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW


Duration:                    60 minutes


Themes:                     6 themes (which will apparently change often)


Cost:                           $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)


Overall Summary:     A strong room but only for experienced players.    

More details:             http://www.breakthecode.com.au/  

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Breakout EDU - Australian launch



Hi everyone

This post will be a little different to my usual posts. 

Last Friday (11/12/2015), I attended the launch of Breakout EDU in Sydney. 

Breakout EDU is a concept that James Sanders, a teacher in the States came up with.  He attended an escape room with his teenage students and was amazed at how engaged they all were while trying to escape – a level of engagement he wanted to replicate in the class room.  So he came up with the idea of Breakout EDU, which is, in essence, an escape room in a box.

The primary purpose was intended for classrooms, but anyone who has tried an escape room will realise pretty quickly that is has much wider appeal.  In a nut shell, you buy a box from Breakout EDU (boxes are currently only available in the US, but they hope to make them available here in the next few months).  The standard box comes with an assortment of items - padlocks, word locks, speed locks, etc, UV lights and pens, smaller combination safes, etc.  It’s effectively a DIY escape room kit. 

Breakout EDU is also all open source.  The idea is that teachers (and others) around the world design their own backstory and puzzles (eg Shakespeare based rooms, Year 10-12 mathematics based rooms, etc).  Those room designs and puzzles are then uploaded and anyone around the world can use them (or adapt them as they see fit), using the list of locks/items in the standard box.  There are already a dozen or more themes on their website, but I expect this number grow exponentially in the next year or two.

For those of you who have never heard of one before (like I hadn’t), the Breakout EDU boxes also come with a hasp.  This is a hasp:



It’s really cool.  You close the hasp over the staple on the Breakout EDU box (ie the locking mechanism on the outside of the box) and this allows you to have up to 6 separate locks on the box. 

The launch was hosted by Google at their very cool Google HQ (their reception has a wall of greenery, a tyre swing and the meeting room I saw had tables and chairs on the ceiling).  It was uber cool.

The leaders on the day, Kim and Nick, explained what Breakout EDU is to the audience of about 25 adults (mainly teachers and a few escape room enthusiasts).  Speaking of which, it was cool to meet Essa from Intervirals (another escape room blogger who told me about Breakout EDU) and the lads from Enigma Room. 

We then had 45 minutes to escape the Time Warp challenge.  I won’t go into details (again, I hate spoilers), other than to say that after having done so many escape rooms, it wasn’t quite at the level of a refined escape room.  For example, at times you were handed the next puzzle after solving one (rather than discovering this yourself in a box or hidden in the room).  There were some red herrings thrown in and over all, the immersion level was relatively low.

But it was fun and I think it gave everyone in the audience a flavour of what an escape room in a class room could be like.  On the negative side, there were definitely too many people in the room to all be fully engaged.  At one point, about half of the audience sat down and seemed to either lose interest (or gave up trying to see past the group of people gathering around the Breakout EDU box or puzzles). 

I think in a class room setting, you would definitely need to limit teams to 8 people max, or have multiple boxes within a room.  However, in an escape room context, I can see the idea of an escape room in a box being really popular.  Who hasn’t gone into an escape room and thought “I could design one better than this!”?  Well, now you can.

I have bought my own box (well, I have compiled my own).  I bought a $19 galvanised metal case from Bunnings, screwed in two separate hasp and staples (so that I can have up to 12 locks on my case, together with the built in keyed lock).  I then bought about half of my locks from Amazon and the other half from Bunnings.  Again, given that Breakout EDU is open source, they have helpfully put a list (and a link to Amazon) of each of the items that come in the box (see their list here).  This is the standard box I got from Bunnings (which I have since decked out):



My Amazon goodies are coming any day, which I am looking forward to.  I’ll post another photo here once I have received everything so you can see the kinds of locks that come with the box.

I have been spending the past fortnight designing my own escape room for my usual group of escape roomers (my wife and 2 friends).  It’s heaps of fun, given that I know the players well and can therefore adapt every puzzle to them.  The part I hadn’t appreciated is how much work it is!  I am probably about 75% done and it has taken more hours than I care to admit – each puzzle is designed from scratch, the back story video, the puzzle sequencing (ie solve puzzle A, which opens Padlock A, etc).  It should be good - not nearly as good as a high tech escape room, but hopefully it will make up for that in the detailed, bespoke puzzles I have designed).  It’s my Christmas gift to them all, so I need to get cracking!

I look forward to trying out a few other standard Breakout EDU games in the future, as well as my friends checking out my own design in the next couple of weeks.  I’ll report back with photos once they have tried my puzzles.

Breakout EDU is a really cool idea that will no doubt help to make kids more engaged in school.  For real escape room enthusiasts, it will also be a cool way to step into the shoes of an escape room owner and designer.

Click here for the link to Breakout EDU's site.  Also, click here for a link to their video which explains what they are all about.

Thanks

Scott

Monday, 30 November 2015

ParaPark Sydney - Crime Scene '95



My group of friends (4 adults) checked out ParaPark Sydney’s Crime Scene ‘95 in November 2015, some 10 months after we had first been to ParaPark to try their Gateway 9A room (which was a truly superb room).  Parapark is a world-wide franchise and is known as the original escape hunt room operator (the original being based in Budapest).

They have a great atmosphere at ParaPark.  When you arrive, you sit down in a waiting room and are given instructions on the room and the background story of the room you are about to embark on.  Noemi and Laszlo, the owners of ParaPark Sydney were our game masters for this room, together with the lovely FiFi (their adorable dog). 

They currently have 2 different themed rooms - Gateway 9A (which also has an identical room Gateway 9B for larger teams of up to 12 people who like to go head to head), and Crime Scene 95, which has only recently opened.

This was out 22nd room in Sydney (and our 32nd room in Australia) so far...

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about ParaPark Sydney’s Crime Scene ‘95:

·         it was really well run - they utilised a combination of TV screens and walkie talkies for communicating while in the room.  This was really effective and it really helped to maintain the immersive nature of the room’s theming;
·         without giving away and spoilers, the back story to this room was awesome - it was truly original and ingeniously simple;
·         the theming was excellent - the puzzles and props in the room were great (they were not too scary and I think they would be suitable for kids from say 10 years of age, with parental supervision);
·         the quality and variety of puzzles and challenges in the room was also excellent - there was a great mixture of low and high tech puzzles and they used some elements that we have never seen used before by other escape room outfits.  I also really liked that they used very different puzzles in Crime Scene ’95 compared to their Gateway 9A room.  The quality of the puzzles was again excellent - clearly many hours of work had been spent in designing and making the home-made puzzles, which we appreciated;
·         we got stuck on one particular puzzle and we all gave ourselves a forehead slap when we realised what we had missed (again, this was an awesome puzzle); and
·         the owners of ParaPark Sydney were really enthusiastic about their business (as they have been for the past year) and as always, they are genuinely receptive to our feedback.

We again had a great time at ParaPark Sydney.  I don’t have anything negative to say about Crime Scene ’95.  When we tried their Gateway 9A room, I made the comment that it was a little on the easier side for our team.  I’m really pleased to say that Crime Scene ’95 is significantly more difficult than Gateway 9A.  Our team managed to escape with about 3 minutes left on the clock – so it is definitely a pretty challenging room.  We also had to ask for a couple of hints.  That being said, I do not think this is the hardest room we have tried in Sydney (personally I think Enigma Room’s Dr Disaster and Escapism’s Forensic for example are much more difficult – but again, this is REALLY subjective).    

We had a heap of fun once again at ParaPark Sydney.  For new players, I would definitely suggest that you try Gateway 9A first before working up to Crime Scene ’95.  ParaPark Sydney has another room scheduled to open at some point in 2016 – we can’t wait to go back and try what will no doubt be a third great room from ParaPark Sydney.

One other thing I thought some of you might find cool.  They have Christmas gift vouchers currently available on their website.  Not only do I think they’d make a great Christmas present, but the gift vouchers themselves have an awesome design, so that you can hang them on your tree (like a cool mini pyramid)!  See below photo.  You can purchase gift vouchers on their website!





Where:                    2 / 119 Wicks Road Macquarie Park

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 
2 themes (one of which has 2 identical rooms)

Cost:                       
$140 per team (4 players)

Overall Rating:       A truly excellent and challenging room!

More details:         
 http://paraparksydney.com.au/

Melbourne reviews all uploaded!


Hi all

I've now (finally) finished writing all of my Melbourne escape room reviews.  

Check them out here.

I also recently tried ParaPark Sydney's new Crime Scene '95 room (which was awesome).  I'll post my review here in the next couple of days.

Thanks!
Scott

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Newcastle gets its own escape room outfit


Hi all

I'm still working my way through preparing my Melbourne escape room reviews - I hope to finish them this weekend (see escaperoommelbourne.blogspot.com.au).

I've just learned (from a Novacastrian cousin) that a new escape room is opening tomorrow in Newcastle.  I happen to be going to Newcastle tomorrow (but sadly, not with my awesome foursome team of escapees, so I will have to head back there soon to check out their rooms).

The outfit is called Unexpected Exit - they are situated in Hunter Street, Newcastle. 

They have 2 rooms opening up tomorrow, summarised as follows:

Deranged Scientist

Professor Skoda has finally been captured, Professor Skoda the mad genius behind the deadly outbreak of virus X, a virus that as you know has in just under 100 days claimed millions of lives across the bloe, with a cure still yet to be found.  With the location of the Professor's lab now known, your team has been selected to search the Professor's lab in order to find the antidote.  You and your team arrive at the location and enter the dimly lit room but as soon as you enter the room, the door closes and locks, the same time a cloud of gas fills the air... You notice a note on the ground....The not reads "enjoy your last 50 minutes on earth"...

The Terror Cell

You and your team has been sent out to a suspected extremist's house in suburban Newcastle to gather enough evidence to make an arrest and stop the terror cell's progress on Australian soil.  On entry to the house, your team was captured and you were knocked out.  You wake u pon the floor of a room - it is dark and there is a sack over your head and you realise your hands are handcuffed....and so the fun begins...

Hopefully I will get up there in the next couple of months to check out their rooms.  In the meantime, if anyone tries their room, let me know what you thought.

Check out their website here.

Thanks
Scott

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

PANIQ Room adds another room!!! SEN3ES



Hi all

I was very excited to read on Facebook today that Paniq Room at The Rocks is about to open a third room!  Due to open in a few weeks, the room, called SEN3ES, is summarised on their website as follows:

You enter the mysterious house of a famous magician, in search of his lost secrets. As you continue through the rooms of the house, the doors close behind you and there doesn't seem to be a way back. Is the magician still around? Don't let yourself be tricked or let him screw with your mind. You need to overcome the magician's tricks and escape using your senses. You may lose your sense of time, but remember that you only have 60 minutes to get out! If you don't, the magician will be stuck in your mind forever.

Can't wait to check it out!


Scott

Discount coupon for Mission Sydney's rooms


Hi all

A reader of my blog (didn't leave their name) recently informed me that Mission Sydney currently has a Groupon for both of their rooms, Vampire Castle and Dr M.

Beware though - you need to read the fine print!  There are only VERY limited times that you can use the Groupon (particularly for Dr M, which can only be used on 2 specified time slots on a Tuesday only (and even the Vampire Castle is only valid for some mid-week days)).

They are great rooms though, so definitely worth it if you can get there mid-week.  If you grab a Groupon, I suggest immediately booking your timeslot to avoid disappointment!

Click here for the Groupon!

Thanks
Scott


More Melbourne escape room reviews


Hi all

My next 3 Melbourne escape room reviews are up on my Melbourne room blog.  They are reviews of an outfit called Xcape at Brunswick and 2 of the Escape Room Melbourne rooms.  

Click below to see the reviews:  
  1. Jurassic Lab at Xcape
  2. Mine Escape at ERM South Melbourne
  3. Magic Kellar's Room at ERM South Melbourne

Enjoy!

Thanks
Scott

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Break the Code Plus - Avatar Review




A bit of a different review this time.  My usual fellow escape room buddies in my usual team did not try this room with me, but instead I tried this room with work colleagues.  We booked a corporate afternoon with 4 teams trying different Break the Code Plus rooms simultaneously (Avatar, Indiana Jones, Mission Stealth and Da Vinci rooms).  This was my twenty-first escape room in Sydney (and my thirty first room in Australia so far!).  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Avatar room at Break the Code Plus:

1.    Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
2.    The theming was ok - not the best, but better than most.       
3.    They had one puzzle mechanism that I hadn't seen before, which is cool.
4.    We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.

And now for what I didn't like:

1.    They have a really bad communication system, which involves players hitting a button and then the game master walking into the room.  This really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game. 
2.    The puzzles are largely very clunky.  There are one or two puzzles that are reasonably well done, but the majority are not well designed.  A couple of the puzzles use cool mechanisms, but the input data used to solve the puzzles is vague, ambiguous or has multiple interpretations.  This was really annoying and unimpressive.
3.    Some of the puzzles are examples of lazy design. Without giving any spoilers, one puzzle involves hunting down a tiny code that has been hand-written in invisible ink in the room.  This is not clever - it's really uncreative and disappointing.
4.    My team this time consisted of myself and 3 other first-timers.  We did not escape within the allowed 60 minutes (I think it took about 65 minutes all up).  We needed help on the final puzzle and when the solution was explained, I rolled my eyes and thought it was pretty poor (and again, ambiguous).
5.    Their price (without a discount coupon) is $180 for 4 adults.  This makes them the most expensive escape room outfit in Sydney (equal with Mission Sydney's Dr M, which is a far superior room).  Their rooms are not good enough to justify this price tag.  

This room was below average in my honest opinion.  Their Indiana Jones room is much better (although not without its faults as well).  This escape room outfit is pretty cheap and cheerful - most aspects of their rooms are average or below average.   
We still have another 2 Groupon vouchers for Break the Code Plus, so we will be back soon to try their Da Vinci and Lost rooms.

One other aspect of their rooms that REALLY annoyed me today was that the staff had not correctly reset one of the other rooms being undertaken by another of our corporate teams.  Without spoilers, one of the doors between rooms in one of the other themed escape rooms was accidentally left open before the escape began, so that team walked straight through the door and then were really confused by the various puzzles in the previous room which didn't seem to do anything.  This is truly inexcusable and is a sign of a poorly run outfit. 


Overall, this is a below average room - don't waste your money.


Where:                        Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW


Duration:                    60 minutes


Themes:                     6 themes (which will apparently change often)


Cost:                           $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)


Overall Summary:     Disappointing and very overpriced.    


More details:             http://www.breakthecode.com.au/  

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Melbourne escape rooms reviews


Hi all

My first 3 Melbourne escape room reviews are up.  They are reviews of each of Rush Escape Game's 3 rooms.  Rush Escape Games is currently ranked No.1 on TripAdvisor.

Click below to see the reviews:  

  1. Da Vinci Down Under
  2. Lost in Paradise
  3. Mission:Possible
Enjoy!

Thanks
Scott

Monday, 9 November 2015

Melbourne escape rooms were awesome :-) :-) :-)


Hi all

If you have read my blog recently, you probably know that I was planning on heading down to Melbourne to try out a few escape rooms.

Well, I went down there this past weekend (actually, it was a 3 day long weekend) in which we tried 9 rooms and beta tested a brand new room.

The rooms were awesome and met (or exceeded) my pretty high expectations.  The room owners/game masters were all great too and provided awesome experiences.

I'm tired now (we only flew back a couple of hours ago), but I'm keen to get cracking on my reviews.  It will probably take me another week or two to write them all, so watch this space.  Or more correctly, watch this space: http://escaperoommelbourne.blogspot.com

I figured it's more logical to set up a separate escape room blog for the Melbourne rooms.  I'll post updates here though to let you know once I've posted each of my Melbourne reviews.

I'm also trying another room at Break the Code Plus later this week (with my colleagues at work, which is a first for me).

Thanks
Scott

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Labyrinth Escape Rooms - Mad Scientist has opened



Hi all

Just a quick update to let you know that Labyrinth Escape Rooms in Parramatta are now taking bookings for their second room, Mad Scientist.  The room summary is as follows:

A crazed scientist is on the run! As watchmen track his path, you and your team are to go back to his lab to find his secret chemical concoction.
Nothing’s for certain; but we’re told this liquid substance has the power to rewind human ageing – for good! The clock is ticking to outsmart the mad scientist before it’s too late!

Their first room, Insane Asylum is a great room so I'm sure Mad Scientist will be of the same quality. 

Go to their website to book:  http://labyrinthescaperooms.com.au/ 

And as always, if you check out the room, post a comment here and let me know what you thought.

Thanks
Scott

Thursday, 15 October 2015

ParaPark Sydney - New Crime Scene '95 room


Hi everyone

I'm VERY happy to let you all know that ParaPark Sydney will be officially opening up their third room on Tuesday 20 October 2015!!  

The new room is called "Crime Scene '95".  I managed to find some information about the new room on an international ParaPark website, which summarises the room as follows:


Welcome to Wicks Road, Macquarie Park! The inquiry team has just arrived on the scene of a terrible crime. The police are helpless and they have stopped the investigation, so it is up to you to find out:
  1. what happened?
  2. who the murderer was?
  3. who the victim was?

Oh no…??? A sudden change is about to happen on the scene… Discover all the traces of evidence and don’t let any evidence disappear – and please, don’t let anything take your mind off the investigation! Come to an exciting crime scene investigation and stop the murderer before he comes back and stops you! 

Tick tock - time is ticking and the evidence is increasing…

Like Gateway 9A, this room has a rating of 5/5 for difficulty.

Gateway 9A is easily one of the best rooms in Sydney.  Check out my earlier review of Gateway 9A here - loads of different hand-made puzzles, brilliantly themed and run by enthusiastic owners who ensure that all teams have have a great time in their rooms.  

My team cannot wait to check out Crime Scene '95!!!

Go here to make a booking!

Scott




Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review of Break the Code Plus Mission Stealth


My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Break the Code Plus' Mission Stealth Biohazard Virus in October 2015, about a month or so after they opened.  This was our twentieth escape room in Sydney (so far!).  

We found the place very easily - they are hidden at the end of a short alley way (take a right before you come to the shop at the end of the alley way and go to level 1 in the lifts).  There is plenty of signage so you shouldn't have any problems.

They currently have 6 rooms (one of which is an outdoors escape).  We did their Indiana Jones room and after a Coke break, we came straight back and tried Mission Stealth.  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Mission Stealth room at Break the Code Plus:
  1. Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
  2. The theming was pretty good - not the best, but better than most.       
  3. All of their puzzles were hand-made and some were really different to others we had seen elsewhere.  Some of the puzzles required an element of skill (so you can't get through on your brain alone), but I really liked this aspect because it was quite different from most other escape rooms in Sydney.  That being said, I can see how it could annoy a lot of players.    
  4. I think they had a good mix of high tech and low tech puzzles.  They didn't rely too much on hunt and seek.
  5. We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.
And now for what I think can be improved:
  1. They need to provide more of a back story upon entering the room to set the scene.
  2. They have a really bad communication system.  Unlike their Indy room, we were given a walkie talkie at the beginning of the room.  However, rather than communicate via the walkie talkie, the game master just came into the room when we asked for a clue - this really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game.  Also, when we used the walkie talkie, we had to wait a few minutes for a response.  In fact, we ended up knocking on the door (which got a quicker response).  Good rooms require dedicated game masters - they seemed to have plenty of staff, but none were actively watching on cameras (and they weren't responsive when we used the walkie talkie).  This was a real shame.
  3. The room design is cool - it reminded me in some respects of Paniq Room's Supercell 117, but it wasn't executed nearly as well.  I won't give away and spoilers, but in the first part of Mission Stealth, the team is split and separated.  It was REALLY hard to communicate with each other though because the rooms were too sound proof - they also had music blaring which got on each of our nerves.  Even after they turned off the annoying music, we still had to scream to be heard.  A few drilled holes in the perspex would improve this no end.
  4. Whilst I love home-made puzzles, one in particular we managed to break (ie solve in a way that it was not intended to be solved).  However, this was just freakish luck actually.  They had a 3 digit lock on a puzzle and we managed to interpret the clue and guess the code.  Unfortunately, the particular lock is not supposed to be opened by players - it was merely how the game master resets the game.  The chances were 1 in 1000 that we would guess the code, which we did.  This meant that we could skip the whole puzzle (being a puzzle that we tried after the game ended and which took us ages to complete - this puzzle that requires a lot of skill and working as a team).  It can be really confusing to have additional locks in a room when they aren't part of the game - they need to make this clear.  It also confused us because once we had used the clues to "solve" this puzzle, we didn't consider the clues again (which were of course needed for a later puzzle).
  5. And now for the biggest problem in this room for us - one of the high tech mechanisms did not work.  This really did ruin our experience.  It was the final mechanism - we flicked a switch and.....nothing happened.  We were later told that the flicking of that switch then opens the exit door, but that was not our experience.  The danger with all high tech rooms is that this kind of thing happens I suppose.  But it was a real shame.  They did let us record an exit time of when we flicked the switch though (44 minutes), which put our team at the second best time so far for this room.  But we were all left disappointed by the anti-climax.
  6. Like the Indy room, there definitely aren't enough puzzles to fill out a full 60 minutes.  They need at least another puzzle or 2.  This room has significantly less puzzles than most other good escape rooms in the market, which was a downside for me in this room.

After having escaped from Indiana Jones an hour before, this room was a huge let down by comparison.  Even ignoring the mechanism failure, none of my team liked this room nearly as much as Indy (and it wasn't just that we preferred the Indy concept over a biohazard concept). 
 
We still have another 2 Groupon vouchers for Break the Code Plus, so we will be back soon.  I'm also trying out this place with my work in about a month, so hopefully they sort out some of these problems before then. 

Overall, this is a middle of the range room compared to others we have tried.

Where:                   Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 
6 themes (which will apparently change often)

Cost:                       $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)

Overall Rating:      3.5 out of 5 stars

More details:          http://www.breakthecode.com.au/ 


Review of Break the Code Plus - Indiana Jones Journey to the Secret Chamber


My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Break the Code Plus' Indiana Jones - Journey to the Secret Chamber in October 2015, about a month or so after they opened.  This was our nineteenth escape room in Sydney (so far!).  In doing this room, my group had now tried at least one room at all 12 escape room outfits in Sydney!!!

We found the place very easily - they are hidden at the end of a short alley way (take a right before you come to the shop at the end of the alley way and go to level 1 in the lifts).  There is plenty of signage so you shouldn't have any problems.

They currently have 6 rooms (one of which is an outdoors escape).  We did a second room there straight after this room (see my separate review on their Mission Stealth room).  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Indiana Jones room at Break the Code Plus:
  1. Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
  2. The theming was great.  I love the Indiana Jones series (well, the first 3 anyway...).  Of all of their rooms, this was the theme that I was most looking forward to and it didn't disappoint.  The theming was up there with the best in Sydney.
  3. All of their puzzles were hand-made and all worked perfectly.  Some of the puzzles required an element of skill (so you can't get through on your brain alone), but I really liked this aspect because it was quite different from most other escape rooms in Sydney.  That being said, it was certainly frustrating for my team at times and I can see how it could annoy a lot of players.  My tip here is to think outside the box...  
  4. The room design is great - some of their mechanisms were unlike any we have seen in Sydney (and they brought a smile to each of our faces).  They definitely had the wow factor.
  5. I think they had a really good mix of high tech and low tech puzzles.  They didn't rely too much on hunt and seek.
  6. There is a heck of a lot of attention to detail in all of the puzzles and props.
  7. We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.
  8. Overall, my team had a lot of fun, which is always the measure of a great room.
And now for what I think can be improved:
  1. They need to provide more of a back story upon entering the room.  We were walked into the room, given a couple of directions and that was it.  I think a 30 second summary of the theme would have helped to set the scene.
  2. They have a really bad communication system.  We were given a token with a button on it and were told that we only get 3 clues per room.  When you hit the button, the game master then enters the room and speaks with you in person.  This really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game.
  3. Whilst I love home-made puzzles, they need to tweak their home-made puzzles (as currently, you can break them).  And by break I don't mean destroy - I instead mean solve the puzzle in a way other than was intended by the game designer (I can't really say any more without spoilers).
  4. Whilst I really liked this room, there definitely aren't enough puzzles to fill out a full 60 minutes.  They need at least 2 or 3 more puzzles (and preferably one more entire room within the Indy experience). We managed to escape in 33 minutes (which incidentally put us in first place on the hall of fame leader board, at least for now).  Apparently we took the top spot from one of the actors in Twilight who had been through recently.  In my view, if people are escaping from your room in half the allocated time, then there aren't enough puzzles in your room.  In fact, this room has significantly less puzzles than most other good escape rooms in the market, which was the major downside for me in this room.
After having read some "not so glowing" comments on this blog from others who had tried out Break the Code, I went into this room with pretty low expectations.  Those expectations were greatly exceeded - I REALLY enjoyed this room.  So much so that if they had 2 or 3 extra puzzles and fixed the other problems outlined above (which are very easy to fix), this room would be in my top 3 rooms in Sydney.  Unfortunately, the lack of puzzles puts it down the list a little further, but I still really enjoyed it.  I should say here that Andy (a frequent commenter here on my blog) had mentioned that the owners give a little too much by way of directions at the start, so I specifically asked for no information at the start - I think this helped a lot. 

I liked this room more than the rest of my team - but hey, I am a sucker for Indy.  Now if only someone would do a Goonies inspired room...


Where:                   Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 
6 themes (which will apparently change often)

Cost:                       $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)

Overall Rating:      4.25 out of 5 stars


More details:          http://www.breakthecode.com.au/