Escape One: Reféns [Review]

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

Date completed:  December 2016 (5 players). Succeeded escaping!

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


  • Fluent Portuguese
  • 3-8 players

The situation did not seem good. In the middle of our holidays in Florianopolis, we found ourselves cuffed in the dark. Kidnapped by a serial killer. He was not in the room, but we knew he would come back… with a chainsaw!

We played Reféns (“Hostages“, in Portuguese)  at Escape One in Florianopolis, Brazil, right after me (Pá) and my parents finished their first room, Bomb! As the challenge in Reféns would be bigger, we called on reinforcements and two cousins joined our group. I’m glad we did, because we needed everyone’s skills to escape from captivity!

Despite having a more traditional format than the Bomb!,  Reféns was a harder escape room and was way more creative in terms of the tasks which needed to be done. We all started cuffed and with our heads covered by cloth bags. However, taking them off was not a big help – our room was quite dark and the little light came through the door of a locked bathroom.

tvrefensThe first part of the game is non-linear and you may start trying to do many important things at the same time: unlocking the cuffs, getting some light and finding out more about your kidnapper. You will soon realize he is not a nice person, and certainly a bit off his head. The atmosphere in this room is built not only by the darkness, but by well chosen sounds and props that managed to scare us a few times. Do you know when the whole group is concentrated in one place, and all of a sudden everyone is scared and almost falls like a ripe mango? Yeah, it happened to us.

Horror movies have a heavy influence in this room, The Ring being the most evident. Do not let the creepy elements get to you, and focus! Reféns will require that you think out of the box and be very creative with some props. Mechanical intelligence is very welcome here.  Your observation and deduction will also be put to task, so if you see something that seems out of the ordinary, there is a big chance it will part of the game. Be attentive to the messages the serial killer leaves behind: subtle hints may be hidden in some of them. It is necessary to be fluent in Portuguese to play this game, as many elements are language-related. Last, but not least, search every inch of the room, especially those places that seem unreachable. From mid-game onwards the puzzles become more linear, but there are still many bits and pieces that can be found by team members working in parallel.

Players can ask for a maximum of two hints in this game, which makes it very hard. According to Fabian, our gamemaster, the escape rate in this room is 10%, and no team has yet made it without hints. It is certainly not impossible, but very hard. You will have to have the ultimate team with a great range of skills to do it. We used our 2 hints and also clarified a few doubts through the walkie-talkie. Due to the sounds in the room, usually only one person can listen to the walkie-talkie, so make sure it is someone who can clearly pass messages on to the team!

After jump scares, contortionist manourvres, disturbing images and some (hilarious) spelling errors, our team managed to find freedom in 56 minutes! It was a tough although rewarding task, and a very nice night out with the family – even though it is very strange to say that about a kidnapping! 😀

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 Florianopolis, actually), did good briefings, debriefings, took pictures and had a nice chat with us.

Fabian runs Escape One with his wife Thais while he is not busy presenting the local news on TV (he is a journalist). They plan to open a second venue for Escape One during 2017 and build four more rooms.  Bookings for Escape One’s games are made through Whatsapp.

Communication: You talk to the gamemaster through a walkie talkie, that had clear sound. You can ask for only 2 hints, so try your best!

Surroundings: The best way to reach escape one is driving. The venue is located in Corrego Grande, almost in the division of Lagoa district. If you don´t know Florianopolis well, take the time to drive up “Morro da Lagoa” to enjoy the stunning view. Then go for one of the 42 beautiful beaches in the island – you will not regret! One of the most populars is Jurere International, where celebrities such as soccer player Ronaldo and Victoria Secret’s Angel Alessandra Ambrosio go to relax. Check in the video some nice places around the city.


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