Escape Hotel: O Templo [Review]

logo-escapehotelLocation: Escape Hotel, Pinheiros district, São Paulo (SP), Brazil

Date completed: June 2016 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • 3-7 players
  • Fluent Portuguese or English (for hints)
  • Basic Math

You and your team of archaeologists found the ruins of an ancient temple. Legends say that uncountable treasures are inside, as well as the bones of many adventurers who tried to retrieve it in the past. A curse will be unleashed in 60 minutes, so you better get that gold out quickly!

The Temple (O Templo in Portuguese) was the second room we played at Escape Hotel, and the setting is impressive. The tall, heavily-decorated room transports you very quickly into the jungle setting. One of the owners of Escape Hotel specialised in cinematography, and the benefits of that are visible in this beautiful and fun game.

temploWith all the bones, plants and ruins available to explore, The Temple requires a lot of work right at the start. The room is not too large, but it is very tall, enhancing the sensation that you are in a jungle with tall trees. Despite the amount of props of all sorts, this escape room did not feel confusing or overwhelming at all – we actually felt like exploring every bit of it! Indiana Jones and Goonies fans will open a smile the moment they step into The Temple. Is that skull part of a puzzle? Should you keep the golden statues? Pay attention to all the little parts and pieces you find. While ‘search’ plays an important part in the game, it is your observation skills that will be tested the most. We found that aspect of the game entertaining and different from many escape rooms.

To enhance the setting, a background soundtrack of jungle noises surrounds you. Although not as impressive as the sound effects in the other rooms, it keeps the players in the exploration mood.

The structure of the first stages of the game is non-linear, allowing everyone in the team to be involved. As you progress, the tasks become more linear, but harder and layered. Keep all your mates thinking with you, and make sure you have someone who is fine with numbers, as basic math will be required. Be prepared to do some mild physical teamwork tasks as well, because exploring an ancient temple is not exactly a walk in the park.

One of the most surprising elements of The Temple was when we realized that some objects could be used for different puzzles, contrary to most escape rooms where each item is ‘single use’. This was not obvious and truth be told, our gamemaster never said that we shouldn’t repeat objects. Not spoiling anything, there is a puzzle that, if looked from another angle, becomes another puzzle, very different! As we said, observation will be very important in this room.

Our team spent some time to solve one of the last puzzles because one of the props felt a bit loose. When we got out, our gamemaster actually told us how the previous group had broken it, and they managed to do a temporary fix for our game. It is a reminder that, if you think a puzzle requires strength to be solved, you are probably doing it wrong!

The Temple would probably be the best room to try in Escape Hotel if you have a beginner in your group. Although the game is not easy, all the puzzles are clear to understand once you can visualize them correctly, making it accessible to all kids of players. The setting is beautiful, family friendly and there are cool “A-HA” moments. The Temple is one of those games that make people get hooked into escape rooms.

Our team of four got out with a few minutes to spare and we only used one of our four hints. In Escape Hotel we also played Cena do Crime (Crime Scene) and A Loira do Banheiro (The Blonde in the Bathroom), which were also very enjoyable (and very atmospheric).

Out of the Room

Service: Vanessa and Patricia were amazing hosts that made their best to cater to our group of mixed Portuguese and English speakers. The reception area was very spacious and properly decorated as a hotel lobby. There are lockers for players belongings and water is free.

Players not from Brazil may have to email Escape Hotel to organise bookings, as direct online credit card payments are tied to the Brazilian National ID numbers (called CPF, which every Brazilian has). Also, it is nice to inform them beforehand if you wish to play in English.

IMG_9084
The owners Vanessa and Patricia guided us at Escape Hotel

Communication: In Escape Hotel, there is a limit of 4 hints per game, so explore all your options before you use them! In The Temple, you talk to the gamemaster via walkie talkie.

Surroundings: Escape Hotel  is 5 minutes from Faria Lima Subway Station, in the middles of one of the busiest commercial district of São Paulo. Right beside the venue, there is an enormous FNAC shop, where you can find books, electronics, appliances and music, and try the delicious “tricolor coffee” (made with sweet condensed milk) at Frans Café.

If you enjoy hearty food (a bit heavy, but delicious), take a cab up to Benedito Calixto Square and try a restaurant called Consulado Mineiro. They have amazing recipes with Brazilian favourites black beans and dried beef.

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