Date completed: May 2016 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 8.
- Fluent English
- 2-6 players (we recommend 3-4).
You and your friends are in a remote area when it begins to rain. For some reason, your group thinks it’s a good idea to seek shelter in a mysterious dark castle situated on a hill. Night sets in as you enter through the main door, just to find out you entered the lair of a vampire! The door magically locks the door behind you and you soon find yourselves caught in the middle of a full blown vampiric civil war. There’s only one hour to solve the mystery of this ancient conflict and escape.
Since we started playing escape rooms, we heard a lot about Mission Room Escape in Sydney. We finally managed to get rooms on a Saturday, which required booking one month in advance. The place is indeed very popular! We were curious to find out what the fuss was all about and started with their beginner level challenge, Vampire Castle.
The Vampire Castle is a fairly well decorated escape room which uses high tech mechanisms and puzzles to provide the flair of the supernatural. We really enjoyed how the puzzles and the props where connected to story, and how much attention was given to detail. For example, a message you find in the beginning of the game is not written in paper, but engraved in wood to match the scenario.
Even the flashier technological pieces matched the theme of a vampire castle, which wasn’t so much a horror setting (eg. Bram Stoker’s Dracula) as much as a fantasy setting (eg. the Castlevania franchise). The room is actually quite family friendly. There are many sparkly bits, but not the vampires. Sparkly vampires are… odd.
(Weird things can happen in a Vampire Castle!)
The Vampire Castle is also pretty large in size compared to the standard escape room and can easily accommodate up to 4 players, which we found to be a pretty good number. The nature of the puzzles spread through the different sections of the room lend well to teamwork. This is also one of those escape rooms where teams of 2 (which is usually how we play) might actually have a harder time covering everything, as the technology and the puzzles require the interaction of multiple team members at once.
In order to escape the Vampire Castle, players will need to be observant, use some deductive logic and use pattern analysis. Association puzzles also feature prominently. Importantly, players will need to pay attention to what is provided in the game. Audio narrations were particularly hard to hear due to low volume and our team had trouble discerning what was said – this is something Mission Room Escape could definitely improve on to guarantee a better player experience.
We found that Mission Room Escape rooms didn’t have much in the way of distractions and red herrings as almost everything was directly relevant. Moreover, players will have to display at least some level of situation awareness as the rewards for solving puzzles are not always obvious. This is not a negative point as we thought Mission Room Escape managed this quite well to provide a level of surprise for players.
The gamemaster indicated that the completion rate for Vampire Castle is 50% with teams averaging about 3 hints. We managed to complete this room with 2 escape room veterans and 2 second-timers using 2 hints in 39 minutes so the balance is about right for an ‘easy’ room. Although the structure of the game is linear, it does flow very well and contains the right amount of puzzles.
Following a lunch break, we then tackled the ‘hard’ room at Mission Room Escape, Dr. M.
Out of the room
Service: The gamemaster paid a good level of attention to the team in Vampire Castle and answered our questions fairly responsively. However, level of professionalism sharply declined when we played Dr. M after a lunch break. Between the two games, it was very inconsistent.
Personal belongings are stored in lockers provided by Mission Room Escape and there is water and Mentos available for waiting players. Of note, if you are looking to make a booking with Mission Room Escape, do so with at least several weeks in advance. These guys are very popular.
Communication: Hints, questions and other communication were conducted through walkie-talkie.
Surroundings: Mission Room Escape is extremely close to the Queen Victoria Building and Town Hall train station. It’s pretty easy to find food in that area and fellow geeks will be happy to know that this place is pretty close to King’s Comics, Kinokunya and Games Paradise. 😀