Date completed: Jan 2017 (2 players). Test successful, bomb improved!
Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.
- Fluent English
- 2-6 players
- One team member not colour blind
- Acute senses
- 35min room
- Not recommended for first time players
We may be at the edge of incurable, as escape room enthusiasts. The other day, we were home late at night after a tough day at work, in pajamas, after shower, and saw a little post on Facebook: “Would anyone be able to test an escape room now?” In 5 min we were awake, properly dressed and driving down to Riddle Room in Canberra. Nothing else mattered – there was a bomb to be disarmed!
Bomb Defusal is a 35min game with a straightforward story: you are agents of the bomb squad and a device was located. You must enter the location and use the right tools and techniques to avoid the destruction of the city. This game starts the moment you enter Riddle Room’s venue – locating your defusal kit and the room with the bomb is actually part of your mission!
Unlike the start of most escape rooms, players are advised to to keep a low profile and not speak with the staff on entering the venue – wouldn’t want to panic the general public, you know! Instead, players are advised to go to Riddle Room and to locate the marked locker which will have the starting instructions and a radio. After placing our personal effects inside, the first challenge was to locate our bomb defusal kit somewhere in Riddle Room.
This secret agent entrance approach was a pretty fun way to kick off an escape room. We soon located both the kit and the entrance of where the bomb had been placed. We did this while trying to not make too much noise moving through Riddle Room while other teams of players were getting prepared to enter The Dungeon and Nightmare Room.
The start of Bomb Defusal had a lot of reading, so we would recommend bringing in at least one member who can read quickly and who could pass the relevant information to other team members. Follow instructions carefully so you do not waste time dealing with unimportant information. The initial game briefing normally given by a gamemaster was replaced by an instruction sheet and there was game relevant information about the bomb. For that reason, it is also recommended that players stack at least half the team with people who have played escape rooms before. Any age is welcomed, as the game is family-friendly.
Once into the bomb maker’s hideout, players must work very quickly as a team to communicate, process the information about the bomb, its modules, determine what is relevant, and begin solving puzzles! Communication with the gamemaster also becomes easier at this point through the radio.
Bomb Defusal is extremely fast paced and both Pa and I found ourselves really racing against the clock. While the amount of puzzles and things to search for is relatively low, there isn’t a lot of time to do it and deal with the bomb! The puzzle types are also very mixed. Most will require deductive skills, but the ability to understand instructions and find an answer out of the process is essential. There is not much decoration in the room, so pay attention to what may be relevant and do not break anything!
Playing in a pair, I tackled some puzzles and Pa dealt with others. We switched tasks when we got stuck at any point and Chris was quick to guide us if we needed a hint. While most of the room consist of staged puzzles, they eventually lead to Riddle Room’s excellent set piece which is the bomb itself. We got there with ridiculously little time on the clock, so every second was precious!
The frantic troubleshooting to disarm the thing reminded me of the game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. For those who haven’t played this awesome PC/tablet cooperative game, communication is key! The bomb is really cool and players have to really go hands on to trying to disarm it. Don’t rush in too quickly though! Too many incorrect tries with the bomb mechanism and the bomb will explode.
On the day of the testing, the bomb didn’t work out as planned, however, that is what game testing is for! After the game, we sat down with Chris (who owns Riddle Room with Jesse) to troubleshoot where the game could be improved and where things went wrong technically. It would appear that they tested the room several times with other people as well and when we returned there a few weeks later, everything had been fixed. Riddle Room also improved the way some of the puzzles were integrated into the bomb maker’s hideout setting and one of the puzzles even became a lot more creative by getting in a whole lot more player interaction! We loved how they eliminated the necessity for pen and paper in some puzzles allowing players to “remember” their actions in clever ways.
We were very impressed by Riddle Room’s methodical game testing process and very happy to be a part of it. Totally worth getting out of the pajamas. If you are thinking of taking on this adventure, do it soon as it looks like the room is temporary and would only be around for a couple of months.
Out of the room
Service: Chris was extremely friendly, professional, and provided high quality debriefs for us after we finished.
We did not use the venue’s spacious briefing room, as the game starts at the entrance, but Riddle Room can cater for larger groups (i.e. corporate customers) and the bathrooms are clean.
Communication: We were monitored at all times throughout the game and Chris provided hints through walkie-talkie. As this game is much shorter than the others in Riddle Room, the clues were more direct to the point. You may ask for unlimited clues.
Surroundings: There is a cafe right beside Riddle Room, which we did not have the chance to try as it was very late night. Although driving is probably the easiest way to reach the venue, there is a bus stop (Hoskins St before Dacre St) right in front of the escape room. Board and card game enthusiasts may also check Jolt Games, just across the street, for some fun items.