Friday, 5 January 2018

Xcape Sydney - Review of Akame Room



Hi there

Happy New Year everyone!

I recently learned about a new escape room that is opening up in January (2018) called Xcape.  They invited my team to come and try all of their rooms back to back between Christmas and New Year.  The rooms hadn't opened to the public at that stage, so we were beta testing the rooms for them.  They told us that we were the first English-speaking team to go through the rooms.  We tried 5 of their 6 rooms on the day (their Prison Break room wasn't ready for us).

The first room we tried at Xcape was Akame, which was our 66th room in Australia (and our 53rd room in Sydney). 

Akame is a 30 minute room.  It is unlike any escape room that I have tried before.  So different is it in fact that I wouldn't describe it as an escape room, but more of a jump scare room.  These kind of scary rooms are cropping up in Sydney lately - some have heaps of puzzles and some are more about the jump scares.  The purpose of this particular room is simple - it is aimed at scaring the crap out of you. 

The way it works is that in each room within Akame, you are given 2 minutes and 30 seconds to solve a single puzzle, following which the next door opens.  If you solve the puzzle early, you can move on to the next room earlier than the 2 minutes and 30 seconds time allowance, but if you don't solve the puzzle, the door opens anyway and you move on.  

The backstory to Akame is that you are a supernatural investigator trying to help a young girl (whose father sold her organs on the black market and has since died in this house) to move on to the afterlife.

According to their website, this room involves what is known in the industry as "NPCs", or "non-player characters".  So, picture an escape room employee who chases you through the rooms, jumps out at opportune moments, etc. If any of you have been to Halloween Horror Nights at any of the Universal theme parks in the States, then you'll know what I'm talking about.  It's not as scary as that, but in the same vein.   

Akame is a very large room - I think there are eleven different spaces in total to work your way through.  It's probably one of the largest escape rooms I have been to (and each room is really quite intricately themed).  There were many elements of Akame that I liked - some of the jump scares were very cleverly done (with the use of really nice high tech), there was a variety of puzzles (although we had seen all of the puzzle types before, they were varied throughout the rooms) and the quality of the theming was very strong - they have spent a lot of time and attention on the props.

But is Akame an escape room? No, not really.  About 90% of the room is focused on the jump scares and theming, with the remaining 10% focused on puzzles.  The puzzles aren't overly clear in many instances (and you get to move onto the next room whether or not you solve each puzzle within the 2 minutes and 30 seconds anyway, which means it is easy to give up and wait for the door to unlock).  We only solved about a quarter of the puzzles - some due to our not seeing what was in front of us, but most weren't really our fault.  

I would recommend this room more to those looking for a scary experience, rather than a more traditional escape room.

Where:                   18 Queen Street, Chippendale 

Duration:               30 minutes

Themes:                 
6 currently

Cost:                       
$23pp (or $33pp on weekends/evenings) (but we played at the kind invitation of Xcape)

Overall Rating:      A very scary room with a heap of jump scares (but not a true escape room)

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


2 comments:

  1. Hi Scott,
    Having done 3 escape rooms I am still relatively new to the experience.
    I did artificial intelligence last week here in a group of 4 and would like to hear your experienced opinion on it please in comparison to Akame.

    We did not enjoy it all having recently tried the Marlowe Hotel at Cipher Room.

    A.I. did not have the immersion that we were expecting at all. We missed having to find our own clues and the puzzles did not feel like puzzles at all, more memorization at times. The game master was not attentive at all giving us clues to things we had already figured out as well as walking into the room twice when we were stuck. He did not seem to know how some puzzles worked..

    It is a shame because there are still so many rooms here and A.I. has made us very reluctant to even come back to try them.

    Would be interesting to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks
    Chris

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    Replies
    1. Hi Chris

      Thanks for your comments. I'm working on my reviews of the other 4 Xcape rooms that we tried. AI should be up very shortly.

      We had a similar experience to you by the sound of it (although our game master knew all of the puzzles well).

      I'll post the reviews shortly and you can take a read.

      As an aside though, by doing Marlowe, you have tried (in my opinion) the most immersive escape room experience in Sydney (and in Australia, at least based on my 71 rooms to date). So if you go into all rooms comparing it to Marlowe, you have a whole lot of disappointment ahead of you.

      Whilst Marlowe (and The Cabin) are ahead of the pack in relation to level of immersion, there are (thankfully) many other excellent outfits in Sydney that you should check out Send me an email with a summary of your team (how many of you, experience levels, whether you like certain themes or high tech vs low tech, etc and I'll suggest some rooms for you.

      Thanks
      Scott

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