Escape 60′ Vila Olímpia: Dr. Mortare’s Lab [Review]

Location: Escape 60‘ Vila Olímpia, São Paulo (SP), Brazil logo-escape60

Date completed: October 2015 (5 players). Failed!

Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 8.5; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 5

Requirements:

  • Either fluent English, Portuguese or Spanish
  • 4-8 players
  • Very basic Chemistry and Maths

I don´t remember the exact number, but before we were briefed to play the Dr. Mortare’s Lab at Escape 60′, a member of the staff commented it was their hardest room and less than 20% (or was it 15%?) of teams finished it.

It has the typical plot of a ‘mad scientist’ room: Dr. Mortare developed a lethal formula and is threatening to throw it into the water treatment station. Can you imagine how disastrous it can be in São Paulo, a city with 11 million people? You and your team are members of a special division and must find out where the formula is. However, the laboratory if filled with lethal gas that will kill you in 60 minutes.

We had a complicated game, got really close, but did not escape the gas…

Dr. Mortare was way more difficult than the room we played previously at Escape 60′, called Death Row. The puzzles themselves were harder, and the hidden items were better concealed. However, I particularly had the sensation that the puzzles did not flow as well in this room – my team mates and I had a lot of trouble trying to figure out how to deal with some of them. The link between the puzzles and hints was not as intuitive. That certainly adds to the difficulty, but takes some score points off the fun.

We spent too much time in the first part of the room, where most of the decoration is white. It took us a long while to find useful objects, and when we finally got to another area, we had to rush to finish puzzles. The ones ahead were quite hard! If you remember some Chemistry from school, it may save you some time.

Be prepared for a lot of hide and seek and pattern puzzles. There is also an interesting spatial-mechanical puzzle in which you can be very creative in finding a solution. In fact, there are numerous ways to crack this one but none of them are obvious and all of them involve interacting with available items.

Look at everything twice, and maybe a different view will shed a different light over what you are looking for. Also, be aware that in this room specifically, some items may be used more than once and may become necessary later. We left something behind after using it, and could not go on until we were advised by the hints to try again with the abandoned item.

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Check everything! (Image source: Escape 60′ website)

There were some puzzles we only solved thanks to the hints from the sound system. In one case we needed the answer (I’m still a bit in doubt of how that one should be done), because we were completely stuck. None of us within our group of five understood the logic of that puzzle and it’s not like we’re stupid people… No wonder so few people finish this room. Of course, this only applies to our game and it could’ve just been us.

With some stumbles, we got to the final puzzle, but the time ended before we could solve it. Our gamemaster then entered the room and explained how to finish it. Simple and clever, I’d say. You need a minimum of 4 people to book this room, and you probably need that many to go through Dr. Mortare. In Escape 60′, games can be played in Portuguese (the local language), English or Spanish.

We did not want to finish our day with the taste of frustration in our mouths, so we arranged another booking. Our party of five tackled the Rescue Operation room, and yeah, we finished our day on a high.

Out of the Room

Service: The staff at Escape 60’were very friendly. They were quite busy when we played, but there was at least one staff taking care of each group. There was also at least one gamemaster for each room, which is excellent.

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. In Dr. Mortare, because we got stuck many times, many hints came in and we got a bit confused. Also, if you were in the second area, it was a bit hard to hear the sound system.

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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