Date completed: July 2016 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 7.5.
- 2-6 players
- Full mobility
- Fluent English
ClockLocked opened in Sydney in 2014 and Da Vinci was among the first escape rooms in the city. A lot of other venues have opened and closed since over the last two years, however, that game remained. We finally had the opportunity to play it some weeks ago and quickly realised why it is lasting: Da Vinci ticks all the basic boxes. Puzzles were well-done, props worked, gamemaster were quick and attentive. We were very glad that it was not a dated game at all!
In Da Vinci, a cardinal grows suspicious of a fellow religious colleague and hired your team of detectives to find any secrets that may affect his relations with the Vatican. You have a one-hour window to enter his office and find the truth.
If you are a fan of Dan Brown-esque stories, you will probably like this room. From the moment you enter, the decoration is good and you notice a mix of art, religion and science in the environment. There are some beautiful props, some commons ones, a fair amount of locks and some hidden things to find, but most are linked to the game.
Before we started, our gamemasters Margo and Laura had advised us that the game was linear and the puzzles should be solved in sequence. I found the advice curious and even got a bit concerned. I thought, “if we do not follow the order, do puzzles stop working?” To my relief, it was nothing like this at all. The puzzles are even numbered. The reason for the advice is that there is so much to do that, if you do not focus and do one thing at a time, there is a big chance you will end up with a lot of props in your hands at once! We did not understand the numbered puzzles at first and lost some time trying to get back into track. “What puzzle are we in, again?”. So, take your time and go step by step!
Make good use of the beautiful brass-copper props and be aware of the red herrings. We advise that if you are one of those people who hate red herrings, think twice before tackling this room. We do not mind them and believe it is all part of the challenge.
Association and basic math will be the main necessary skills in this room. One thing I liked was that many elements in the room would help you with the puzzles (so you would not need external knowledge). However, if you know a bit about Leonardo da Vinci and how he developed his projects, you may have big leaps solving one or two of them. The Renaissance lover inside me was particularly happy with one of the puzzles!
There is not much ‘hide and seek’ in Da Vinci, although when it’s necessary, it is quite vital for the game. Also, make sure that one member of the team has full mobility. Exploring all areas of this room will require some unusual movements.
Our hints would come when we pressed a button on a tablet mounted on the wall. It was simple, easy and Margo and Laura were always ready to give us proper advice. That tablet was actually the only apparent tech piece in the room. You could probably label Da Vinci as a “generation 1” type of room (which uses no tech), however we do not believe that matters for the success of a game. The puzzles in this escape room were well sequenced, had a logical flow, were well designed, and extremely well maintained given the age of the room.
In general, Da Vinci was a good escape room. It was not the flashiest or the most challenging room we’ve played, as much has been developed in the industry since it opened, however, we could see why it is still going strong after more than 2 years.
After playing Da Vinci, we tried Cleopatra at ClockLocked, their newest room. It was evident they incorporated new elements on that one. The result was a level above, and we had a great time!
Out of the room
Service: Margo and Laura were very good gamemasters. Briefing was clear and hints were quick and correct. After the game we had a chat with them and also with Robert, who was very enthusiastic about escape rooms in general.
There are lockers for your personal belongings and you can drink free water. In ClockLocked, you pay your games per room, not per person.
Communication: To contact the gamemasters, press a button on the tablet on the wall. A hint will appear after a few seconds.
Surroundings: ClockLocked is located in Ultimo, a short walk from the iconic Darling Harbour. There is plenty to do in the area: Sea Life Aquarium, Madame Tussauds wax museum, delicious (overpriced) restaurants. It is a lovely area to walk, have fun and take lots of pictures.
Some reviews on the internet say that it was complicated to find ClockLocked. We did not have any issue and found our way there easily. Probably, signaling was improved since older reviews were written.