Date completed: June 2016 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 8.5
- Fluent English or Portuguese
- 2-6 players
- At least one player with good eyesight
Inverse of the Universe (Inverso do Universo in Portuguese), has a simple but effective premise – in this escape room, everything is upside down! Players have 60 minutes to break through nine planetary gates to restore everything to normal and turn the world back to the right way up.
Looking at puzzles from a different angle is absolutely necessary and literal in this place!
Regardless of the individual, the human brain perceives the world according to the conditioning it has been subjected to. Since no one is really programmed to see the world upside down, it was amusing to see how it became much more difficult in Puzzle Room Brazil’s ‘upside down room’ simply by placing setting it in an unusual and creative perspective.
This escape room truly lives up to its name and players are placed standing on the ‘ceiling’ of a believable apartment living room. Our initial moments in this were quite different from how we would start a game. Normally, Pa and I would quickly and systemically begin searching a room within the first seconds of the game starting. In Inverse of the Universe, our team’s initial reaction was more cautious. Where to begin? Everything is on the ceiling/floor! As an escape room, the Inverse of the Universe would actually be quite easy if it were the right side up. However, the elegant simplicity of setting was enough to throw us off in many instances. A word of advice, take your time thinking through the mechanics of such an environment before digging right in.
The structure of this game is also one of the most non-linear we have seen yet – it’s essentially a ‘flat structure’ and you can start from any of the puzzles in the room. There is a heavy focus on observation / perception tasks along with other types of sensory tasks, association puzzles and teamwork.
We played as a team of four, mostly split into two pairs and found this small escape room strangely spacious. This has to do with the fact that players are actually standing on the ‘ceiling’ and so all the clutter is actually on the ‘floor’ above. Many puzzles require teamwork and at least the joint efforts of a pair of players, especially if one needs glasses like Pa.
Our gamemaster Rodrigo was very attentive and gave “flipped” hints through the walkie-talkie, keeping the crazy atmosphere. Alice thought going through the looking glass was complicated. She has not been to this room!
Inverse of the Universe is a simple concept very well executed. This room is friendly enough to be enjoyable for beginners and groups with kids as well as challenging enough for experienced players. It is also colourful, and Pa likes colourful.
After the game, we got to have a chat with Rodrigo, who is responsible for the Brazilian operation of Puzzle Room Brazil, which is affiliated with Puzzle Room Prague, in the capital of Czech Republic. In Puzzle Room Brazil, most rooms are inspired by local stories, i.e. instead of a simple “prison escape”, they have a room based on the infamous Carandiru Prison in Sao Paulo.
Rodrigo says that the escape room market is blooming in Brazil. – they have two venues in Sao Paulo and are about to open a third one in Curitiba, in the South of the country. In his opinion, having competitors is not a problem, as it improves the market. He also works in the design of the rooms and says inspiration can come from anywhere. The idea for the Inverse of the Universe came to him when Rodrigo visited one of the upside down houses in Germany during a break from an escape room industry conference. You just need to pay attention to the elements around you – like in a escape room.
Out of the Room
Service: Rodrigo was friendly and had no trouble speaking with our team members in Portuguese and English. Puzzle Room has a waiting area with lockers and some puzzles to warm up your brain.
Bookings were easier for foreigners in Puzzle Room than in other Brazilian venues, as you can choose to pay at the venue and not go through the hassle of using a credit card (which, in Brazil, may require the equivalent of a National ID number).
If you manage to escape the room, you go literally to the Wall of Fame: you write your name and time on the wall! As we escaped Inverse of the Universe, we wrote on the ceiling!
Communication: Hints are unlimited, given through a walkie-talkie radio provided to players.
Surroundings: Puzzle Room Brazil is close to Praça da Árvore station, in a commercial district of São Paulo. If you are not familiar with the place, a taxi might be recommended. On the same subway line (Blue Line 1), you can reach Liberdade, the Japanese district in Sao Paulo. The place to be if you like udon, sukiyaki and anime goods!