Escape One: Bomb! [Review]

logoescapeoneLocation: Escape One, Corrego Grande district, Florianopolis, Brazil

Date completed:  December 2016 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 5.5; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 7.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent Portuguese
  • 3-8 players

Most people who have heard of the paradise city Florianopolis, an island in the South of Brazil, know for its amazing 42 beaches and great seafood. It is a popular destination for Brazilians and other South Americans, who crowd the place during summer. But what to do when it rains? For many years the obvious answer was to go to the shopping centres, but not anymore! “Floripa”, as it is called by the locals, got its own escape rooms in late 2016!

I (Pá) got together with the best escape parents in the world (my own! :D) to tackle the rooms in Escape One. In the first room, we had to enter a historical building closed for decades to disarm a Bomb! installed by the terrorist group F.A.T.O. Our mission followed an unsuccessful attempt by another agent, who perished but managed to leave some clues behind. Floripa is too pretty to explode, so we really had to work hard!

Bomb! had a game structure that surprised me in a good way. When our gamemaster Fabian briefed us, he was very didactic. After inquiring if we were familiar with different types of locks, he said: “You will find two big boxes with locks. Solve the puzzles to find the combination.” I thought that it was going to be a short game with only two locks, right? Nah! We found ourselves racing to solve everything, and managed to get out with four minutes left on the clock! And yet, there are really only two locks in this game!

escapeoneimg-20160708-wa0040Escape One recommends playing Bomb! first if players have never played escape rooms before or they intend to do both games in their venue (the other one is called Reféns – “Hostages”). The reason is because Bomb! is very well laid out and can work as an introduction for those who have never been in a escape room before. You have to search the room to find the clues left by the previous agent. Every time you find a one, it says where you will use it – which is very handy for new players and gamemasters. It does not mean they are easy, though! You will also find more than one clue for the same riddle/puzzle/task, and it will be clear, so you don’t get confused.

Here I thought the gamedesigners did something interesting: some of the clues referenced external knowledge. In general, this is not a good thing in a Escape Room, as you can never assume what people know. However, you did not have to use the external knowledge clue to solve it, because there was always more than one clue related to each puzzle. In a nutshell, if you knew what the “external” clue was about, you could crack the puzzle quicker. If not, it was still perfectly doable with the other pieces of information (all in Portuguese).

To defeat the F.A.T.O. terrorists, the main skill you will need will be search. Finding the pieces to solve the puzzles is crucial, so make sure your team checks every corner of the room. Some clues are very hidden and some we did not find at all (although we were guaranteed they existed)! Some spatial visualization and dexterity will also be required, but in milder levels. The Bomb! is a big treasure hunt. The room is not that large, but there is a lot to look for!

The game is non-linear and there is enough for a team of 8 to be busy during all times. Do not overthink: the elements of the game are very well marked. If something puts you in too much doubt, it is probably not part of a puzzle.

The decoration is compatible with the story, nothing that seems out of place. Experienced players probably will have seen the tasks proposed in this room before, but it was still very fun. Our gamemaster was also very responsive and followed our game attentively through the cameras. According to Escape One, this room has a 10% escape rate. I believe the number will increase when the concept of Escape Rooms becomes more popular in the region. We had a nice chat with Fabian, who is also one of the owners of Escape One. He hopes more escape companies open in Florianopolis, as people always want to play more and good business can indicate each other to customers. He said Escape One is doing well and he plans to open four more rooms in a new venue throughout 2017. I hope so, so I have more to play when I go back to Floripa!

Out of the room

Service: Escape One has lockers for player’s belongings and water at the reception. Fabian, our gamemaster, was extremely friendly (it is a common trait in Floripa, actually), did good briefings, debriefings, took pictures and had a nice chat with us.

A very funny thing is that we had the impression we knew him, from the moment we entered the venue. I was going through the faces and names of people I knew in Florianopolis when it finally clicked! He is a journalist and hosts the local news TV show! We could see his face everyday on TV, no wonder he looked familiar! Escape One is his own business, that he manages with his wife Thais. Bookings are made through Whatsapp.

Communication: You talk to the gamemaster through a walkie talkie, that had clear sound. Hints for solutions are limited, but you can clarify doubts, such as “I have X, Y and Z. Is it everything for puzzle W?”.

Surroundings: The best way to reach Escape One is probably driving, if you are not familiar with the city’s bus lines. Vhe venue is located in Corrego Grande, almost in the division of Lagoa district. Take advantage of the proximity and drive up “Morro da Lagoa” to enjoy the stunning view, then go down to the other side of the mount to enjoy the seafood restaurants.

pousadas-lagoa-da-conceicao-florianopolis
View from mount “Morro da Lagoa”: lagoon, dunes and the ocean (photo by Pousadas de Floripa)
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