Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Room Eight - Review of Entombed


Hey all


My usual team of 4 went out to Manly in March 2018 to check out the 2 escape rooms at Room Eight.  They are based at the end of The Corso at Manly.  We parked at the nearby Council carpark on Whistler Street (first 2 hours are free).


Room Eight is owned/run by Steve, Rafael and Stephane.  Steve was there on the day and we had a long chat with him about the process of designing their rooms and then constructing them.  


After having escaped from their “Indisposed Escape from the Aussie Dunny” room (the review of which is here), we then tried their “Entombed – The disappearance of Dr. Smith" room.  The theme of the room (from their website) is as follows:


Amidst the dry arid deserts of Egypt a lone building stands. It was once the study of renowned archaeologist Atlanta Smith, who has been missing and presumed dead for several months, in his quest for the treasure of Khufu. Your search for answers has taken a turn for the worst, and you're going to need to draw on all your investigative nous and powers of deduction to solve this mystery, evade an ancient curse and escape this room alive...


Entombed was our 91st room in Australia and our 61st room in Sydney.


Here’s what I liked about Entombed:


a)     much like Indisposed, Entombed is a really fun room.  Whilst the theme of Entombed is not quite as original as Indisposed, it was done well (and who doesn’t like an archaeological mystery)…;
b)     the clue system and room flow are quite unique.  The room is largely linear in design and the clue system matches this.  Rather than compete for the best time, at Room Eight players are competing for the best score.  Players start with 200 points and then points are deducted for each minute that players take to escape (as well as for any hints provided).  The hints are automated – the first hint for each puzzle is free and then players can ask for a second or third hint (but each comes with a higher point penalty).  There is also a dedicated game master watching your team, who will step in and provide guidance where needed;

c)     I am generally not a huge fan of linear rooms, given that they often create bottlenecks (with some players standing around watching because they can’t break up and attach different puzzles at the same time).  However, this room had a good flow and there were a number of puzzles that could be attacked in any order.  At no point did any of us feel like we were just standing around watching;

d)     the theming and props are nicely done – all of the props work well in the space;

e)     there were a couple of puzzles in Entombed that we had not seen anywhere before - this is always such an awesome thing (and after 90+ rooms, it is becoming more and more of a rare occurrence);

f)       there is a nice mix of hunt and seek fun in this room, together with a nice mix of low and high tech puzzle elements throughout;

g)     as with Indisposed, the owners have done a good job of integrating humour into the introductory video;

h)     both Indisposed and Entombed are well suited to families and kids.  I’m often asked to recommend family-friendly rooms and I can now add both of the rooms at Room Eight to that list; and

i)       Room Eight have designed both of their rooms as multi-lingual rooms – Steve mentioned half a dozen or so languages that this room can be run in.  It is quite unusual in Australia to have rooms that are suited to so many languages, but again given their touristy location I think it’s a great idea.


I have two minor criticisms of this room.  The first is that I think my team escaped in about 32 minutes or so (our score was 168 points), which is generally a sign that a room could do with another puzzle or two. That being said, I understand from Steve that given their location, the vast majority of teams are new players and many teams do not escape within 60 minutes.  This is something faced by all escape rooms – the difficulty of designing a room that newer players can escape from and which challenges enthusiasts.


I think both Entombed and Indisposed are “easy to medium” level rooms which are therefore best suited to newer players.  Given the touristy location of The Corso at Manly, I agree with Steve that this difficulty level is well-suited to the bulk of their customers. 


My only other criticism of the room is that it utilises black light (UV torch) in one particular puzzle.  From an escape room enthusiast’s perspective, my view is that  whilst UV light puzzles are very common in escape rooms, they are not strong puzzles (in that they are typically pretty inelegant and are not satisfying to solve).  All of the other puzzles suit the room theme really well (and the theming is great).  


We really enjoyed ourselves in Entombed – the treasure hunt mystery theme was great fun (who seriously didn’t enjoy Indiana Jones (at least the first 3 anyway) or Goonies (which was clearly the best film ever made)….  I’m also happy to report that each room at Room Eight is quite different to each other, which is great (particularly if, like us, you do their rooms back to back).  


As always, the biggest test of a good escape room for me is whether or not we had fun.  Entombed was great fun.  We will be back in the near future to try their third room, Targeted, once it opens.


Where:                                    2B, The Corso, Manly

Duration:                                60 minutes

Themes:                                 2 themes (and 1 more currently under construction)

Cost:                                       $40 per person ($160 paid for our team of four)

Overall Summary:                 Another fun, high quality, family-friendly room from Room Eight

More details:                          https://www.escaperoomeight.com.au/

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Twitter account




Hey all

I have set up a twitter handle (@escaperoomsyd).  Each time I post a new entry here on my blog, I’ll post a link to it there.

So, follow the blog on twitter if you’d like.

Thanks
Scott

Monday, 2 April 2018

Room Eight - Review of Indisposed



Hey all

My usual team of 4 went out to Manly in March 2018 to check out the 2 escape rooms at Room Eight.  They are based at the end of The Corso at Manly.  We parked at the nearby Council carpark on Whistler Street (first 2 hours are free).

Room Eight is owned/run by Steve, Rafael and Stephane.  Steve was there on the day and we had a long chat with him about the process of designing their rooms and then constructing them.  

We started out with their “Indisposed Escape from the Aussie Dunny” room.  The theme of the room (from their website) is as follows:

Trapped in the outhouse of famous, if somewhat deranged Aussie celebrity Huge Axeman, can you free yourself before the Axeman returns. In an Escape Room like no other, you'll need to think and act quickly as a team to solve puzzles and challenges as the clock ticks down. Even if you can escape the Dunny, you'll still need to survive the Australian wild, and contend with an array of deadly Australian fauna.

Indisposed was our 90th room in Australia and our 60th room in Sydney.

Here’s what I liked about Indisposed:

a)     it’s a really fun room.  I always enjoy a unique room theme and escaping from an Aussie outhouse certainly is original;

b)     the clue system and room flow are quite unique.  The room is very linear in design and the clue system matches this.  Rather than compete for the best time, at Room Eight players are competing for the best score.  Players start with 200 points and then points are deducted for each minute that players take to escape (as well as for any hints provided).  The hints are automated – the first hint for each puzzle is free and then players can ask for a second or third hint (but each comes with a higher point penalty).  There is also a dedicated game master watching your team, who will step in and provide guidance where needed;

c)     I am generally not a huge fan of very linear rooms, given that they often create bottlenecks (with some players standing around watching because they can’t break up and attach different puzzles at the same time).  However, this room had a good flow and at no point did any of us feel like we were just standing around watching.  There was also one puzzle that we were able to work on early (and which we solved ahead of time);

d)     the theming and props are nicely done – all of the props work well in the space;

e)     there is a nice mix of hunt and seek fun in this room, together with some primarily low-tech puzzles with little bits of tech throughout;

f)       they have done a good job of integrating humour into the room (and into the introductory video);

g)     Indisposed is one of the few rooms in Sydney that is very well suited to families and kids.  I’m often asked to recommend family-friendly rooms and I can now add Indisposed to that list; and

h)     Room Eight have designed Indisposed as a multi-lingual room – Steve mentioned half a dozen or so languages that this room can be run in.  It is quite unusual in Australia to have rooms that are suited to so many languages, but again given their touristy location I think it’s a great idea.

My only minor criticism of this room is that I think my team escaped in about 37 or 38 minutes (with one non-free hint) - based on that timing, I think the room could probably do with another puzzle or two.  That being said, I understand from Steve that given their location, the vast majority of teams are new players and many teams do not escape within 60 minutes.  This is something faced by all escape rooms – the difficulty of designing a room that newer players can escape from and which challenges enthusiasts.
I think Indisposed is an “easy to medium” level room which is therefore best suited to newer players.  Given the touristy location of The Corso at Manly, I agree with Steve that this difficulty level is well-suited to the bulk of their customers. 
The room theme is really novel, there are some nice laughs throughout and the overall quality of the theming and puzzles is strong.
As always, the biggest test of a good escape room for me is whether or not we had fun.  We certainly had a lot of fun in Indisposed.

Where:                         2B, The Corso, Manly
Duration:                     60 minutes
Themes:                      2 themes (and 1 more currently under construction)
Cost:                            $40 per person (although we played at the invitation of Room Eight)
Overall Summary:       A fun, well executed, family-friendly escape room on the easier side
More details:                https://www.escaperoomeight.com.au/