Orz Escape: Endless Dream [Review]

orzLocation: Orz Escape, Melbourne CBD, VIC, Australia

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

Creativity: 5; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 4.5; Fun: 5.

Requirements:

  • Intermediate English
  • 2-6 players
  • 1 team member not colourblind
  • 45min room

You and your friends are stuck in the same puzzle-filled dream every night. During one of these episodes, you all decide to solve the puzzles before you wake up to find out what is behind all of this. There is only one hour for the sunrise, so hurry up!

With a premise that had the potential for an Inception style thriller escape room, Endless Dream felt flat. We’ll explain why.

For those who appreciate raw logic puzzles, the Endless Dream could have something to offer. In this 45 minute escape room, we progressed through a fairly linear game which provided a set of puzzles and tasks primarily involving mathematics, association thinking and observation. Within this short time frame, it was challenging to maintain a quick momentum in a dark environment. To balance that, the Endless Dream did not have too many puzzles (although some were reasonably hard). Smaller teams of 2-3 may feel more at ease, as the space is not very large.

Being aware of all elements around you was essential in this room. Check the walls and the objects available. Most solutions rely in your ability to notice patterns and to deduce your next steps once you see the puzzle hidden in front of you.

Despite of having most puzzles inserted in the room environment, a weakness of Endless Dream was the lack of decoration and setting. From what we have seen, the world of dreams and the subconscious is a theme occasionally explored in the escape room industry  (in what we have termed the ‘Dreamscape’ genre). Rooms in this category tend to have a creative bent as they allow the flexibility of the human mind to shift players into wild settings. We were kind of underwhelmed when our Endless Dream trapped us in a bare bones dark office. Playing through the game, the mystery surrounding the weird dreams wasn’t developed too much further and when the reveal at the end came through, it seemed a bit rushed.

enddream1

The atmosphere was not assisted by the hint mechanism, which involves the gamemaster entering the room to communicate with the players directly. In one instance, we  encountered an weird situation when we asked for a hint. Without spoiling anything, the gamemaster turned to me and expectantly asked if I should have known / seen /associated something which was presented to us and which involved elements from an Asian culture. For context, I am ethnically Chinese and Pá is Latin, although she could pass for being a Scot. The question wasn’t addressed to us, only to me. Despite my appearance, I had no idea of what he was asking and he insisted. Ironically, Pá understood a little of what the gamemaster was suggesting given her previous tutelage in a certain Asian language. Suffice to say, the whole thing was just awkward. Gamemasters everywhere, if you are reading this, I implore you to never assume what a customer might know based on their appearances!

All up the Endless Dream was not our cup of tea. It had a layered deductive logic puzzle, some tasks which felt unnecessarily inconvenient, and the room could do with some investment in story or setting. The staff explained that the style of the room was meant to be more difficult. We understand, but that doesn’t mean it was fun. More the shame too because we had a lot of excitement and enjoyment playing The Vanished Carnivale and Secret Invitation.

Out of the room

Service: Briefing was efficient and gamemaster was quick to respond. We had an issue with one of the hints as mentioned above, but in general it was ok. Personal belongings are stored in large chests and you get Polaroid pictures in the end if you escape.

Communication: You press a button to summon the gamemaster into the room if you need a hint. It will add 5 min to your final time if you call him once, 15 min if you call him twice. Of note, it takes time for the gamemaster to come into the room too. All of this stacks up on the final time. Those looking to break records will have a hard time!

Surroundings: Orz Escape is in the middle of Melbourne CBD, so the options to eat and shop around are plenty. Try some of the nice cafes and restaurants on the narrow alleyways – if you are a fan of Asian food, be happy! You are really close to Melbourne’s Chinatown!

Endless Dream has also been reviewed by Escape Room Hunters.

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