Expedition Escape Rooms: Mission: Identity [Review]

Location: Expedition Escape Rooms, Civic (Canberra CBD), ACT, Australia

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Date completed:  October 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8 Difficulty: 8.5 (for two players); Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 8.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players

And so we found ourselves again in one of the harder rooms we played in our one year and half of escaping. Mission: Identity at Expedition Escape Rooms is a revamp of Mission: Possible, designed originally by RUSH from Melbourne. The first impression we had when entering the place is that it felt grittier than the original – which was actually a good thing. This one looks more like a bank vault than the original. Less fancy, but more realistic.

The story is slightly different too: you have been a secret agent for years, and now you have realized that your history, your past and everything you knew about yourself was a lie. Your real documents are locked in a vault and you finally found out how to infiltrate it. The challenge is to locate the documents and get out before the breach is discovered.

In Melbourne, we failed. In Canberra, we succeeded – with a lot of time to spare! Not only because we were familiar with some puzzles, but hey, we got a bit better at escaping in the meantime! It was so much fun to break all those puzzles that had once defeated us!

One of the most evident elements of this setting is the presence of many (MANY!) strongboxes in the vault. Your identity will be inside one of them. The large amount of safes, however, does not mean that you will be searching for number combinations all the time. Good puzzle design will actually make you look for different types of codes, and different ways to input them. Do not be discouraged at first sight by the quantity of locked things to open!

Players must gather a decent team to get through Mission: Identity.  Clear communication is a must, because sometimes you will understand what you need to do, but it might require complex explanation to your fellow agents. Playing the room with only two players is achievable, but extremely challenging! As we mentioned in other reviews, “Secret Agent” themed rooms tend to be have many puzzles and tasks – Mission: Identity is no exception.

Business People Walking Through a Safe Door
Who am I? Wait, who are YOU?!?!

The puzzles are not too difficult if you analyse them isolation, however, the decór, the soundtrack and the small space crammed with puzzles and tasks adds to the difficulty . It is sort of a hydra battle: you kill a head just to find another one.

The puzzles and tasks involve a mix of basic deductive logic, pattern identification, observation, association and search. The room also uses basic technology and tools appropriate for the theme. You may have to use some unusual props as well, so try to figure out what they can actually do and what sot of info they give you before jumping into random conclusions.

There is little respite in Mission: Identity and one challenge immediately links to another. Some details in the room can actually cue players to which puzzles they should be solving next. Keep an eye on them and go with the flow, which is actually very smooth and does not require any leaps of logic.

There are at least two ways to start this game and although there was a deliberately obvious puzzle to start the game, we decided to chose a different starting path that kept us (literally) in the dark for a while. Everything ended well though and the more difficult path we chose didn’t affect us much at all. Larger teams can probably tackle at least two paths of puzzles simultaneously, showing that the “puzzle map” was well designed.

Mission: Identity is also completely different from Expedition’s other room, Da Vinci’s Secrets. While in the latter is more Dan Brown-esque, the f0rmer is kinda Jason Bourne. Some venues stick to a style, however Expedition (as well as RUSH) opted for radically different rooms in theme, story, type of puzzles and props.

How does Expedition’s Mission: Identity compare with RUSH’s original Mission: Possible?

Mission: Identity has a similar setup but has different decoration from Mission: Possible. We actually enjoyed the new room more in terms of looks, even though it is not as sparkly as its predecessor.

The puzzles are basically the same. There are some minor changes that made this rooms easier to understand than the original. On the other hand, an extra step was added to one of the final puzzles and it also looks cooler too. We enjoyed those changes, as some tasks became clearer. The changes improve the flow of the game, which we consider very important to have the most enjoyable experience possible.

We would say that both the escape rooms are more than 90% similar. So, check which one is closer to you (Canberra or Melbourne) if you want to give it a go! In our case, as we played them very with over a year between the occasions, it was more fun the second time as we could finally escape the room with a bit of time to spare! 😀

In Expedition, we also played Da Vinci’s Secrets. The review is here.

Out of the room

Service: Damian was professional as host and gamemaster. We had a good long chat with him after our games there and it was awesome to see how he was also very passionate about the business he had started. His workshop for prop-building was also very interesting, and he was doing a lot of the work himself. When we got there, he was actually building the backdrop decoration for the reception desk!

There are lockers for personal items at Expedition Escape Rooms.

Communication: Walkie talkies are used for hints throughout the game. Hints are unlimited.

Surroundings: Expedition Escape Rooms is located in Canberra CBD, directly next to Canberra Centre. The location is also extremely near The Games Capital, which sell board games and RPGs, and Impact Comics – bonus!

There are plenty of restaurants around. If you like dumplings, try the CBD Dumpling House – cheap and yummy! If you are into something more sophisticated (although pricier), walk a few blocks and reach Londsdale Street, in Braddon, where the fancy BlackFire (Mediterranean) and EightySix (fusion) will treat your tastebuds.

For those curious about RUSH’s original Mission: Possible in Melbourne, you can find our review here.

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