Escape 60′ Vila Olímpia: Death Row [Review]

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Location: Escape 60‘ Vila Olímpia, São Paulo (SP), Brazil

Date completed: October 2015 (5 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 6; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • Either fluent English, Portuguese or Spanish
  • 4-8 players
  • Basic Maths

12 years ago, you were unfairly imprisoned for a murder you did not commit and have now been sentenced to death. The jailer will be back in an hour and you will be taken to the electric chair. It is your last chance to escape, and at this point you don´t care about the risks. Only one person has ever managed to escape this prison so far, and you hope to follow his trail to escape the Death Row.

Trapspringer was not there to play this room with me (Pá), but I had great company to try my escape to freedom in this Brazilian challenge: my parents (who had played with us before in Valencia), my sister (who is a PhD in Professor Layton and Picross) and my brother in law (IT specialist). We were chained to each other at the beginning and, for the gamemasters’ amusement, 20 minutes into the game we were still walking around in a very close group. Well, we can´t deny we love each other!

Let´s clarify that we could have uncuffed ourselves earlier, but we were just so focused in other puzzles that opening the cuffs was not a big deal. Death Row is a nice medium difficulty Prison Break style room, one of those which reach the perfect balance between fun and challenge. I could recommend it for both beginners and more experienced players.

The briefing for the game was very clear and informative for first-timers: our gamemaster showed us all types of locks we could find and how to use them. The room itself was large and had plenty of space for us to move. Differently from other Escape Rooms, where you are normally put in a room and can’t see if there are more rooms afterwards, in Death Row you see from the start that there is a bathroom (with a very convincing fake toilet, yuck! :D) connected to your cell and the prison warden’s office on the other side of the bars. It gives you the sensation that exit is so close and so far away at the same time…

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The games can be played in Portuguese (the local language), English or Spanish. The puzzles vary from riddles to basic algebra, some hide and seek, some mechanics and pattern association. We had a varied group and it was great, because all of us could contribute to the game. Bookings with Escape 60′ require a minimum of 4 people per room. This is a good number and there is plenty for everyone to do although it could probably be solved with 2 or 3 players.

You are reminded of the storyline along all the puzzles and props were very well used: decoration was nicely done and you would interact with objects in creative ways. There were big pieces and tiny things to deal with, all equally important. The props also did not look cheap or fragile – there’s no Ikea-type stores in Brazil, and a lot of the furniture looked legit.

Our gamemaster was also very attentive: hints would come through the sound system if we got stuck for too long in the same place, first in the form of riddles. Only if you were really lost she’d give you answers. She was also very kind and accommodating: my sister was at early stages of pregnancy at the time and the gamemaster explained to her how to get in and out out of the room if she needed to use the toilet or just have a break, and they also had a chair ready for her to rest outside. I may mention that this place is very family-friendly and my sister has been there again afterwards (this time with an 8-month belly) and they were once more very nice to her.

Escape 60′ was the first Escape Room in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, and the managers said they got inspired to open one after playing in Paris. Their previous business was in the HR field, so thinking of teambuilding activities was not unknown to them. Since opening in 2015, they rapidly expanded to one more store in São Paulo (Moema district), one in Santo Andre and two in Rio de Janeiro (Olympic Park and Copacabana). If any escape-fan is going to be in Rio during the Olympic Games 2016, Escape 60′ could be included in the itinerary.

 

Out of the Room

Service: The staff at Escape 60’was very friendly. They were quite busy when we played, but they had at least one staff taking care of each group. It seemed that there was also at least one gamemaster for each room, which is excellent. They were also very keen to help us include an additional room to our pre-made booking, and explained characteristics of each room for us to choose.

The venue has a medium-sized waiting area with a soft drink machine for purchases. There are lockers for personal belongings outside the rooms.

Communication: Hints are given through a sound system in the room when the gamemaster notices you are stuck.

Surroundings: Vila Olímpia is a business district in São Paulo with a buzzing night life. The venue is very close to some fast-food options and a 5 min drive (15 min walk) from a fancy shopping centre.

 

 

 

 

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