Unexpected Exit: Blast Radius [Review]

Unexpected-Exit-Escape-RoomsLocation: Unexpected Exit, Newcastle, NSW, Australia

Date completed:   Jan 2017 (2 players). Failed to save the day!

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


  • Fluent English
  • 2-10 players (we highly recommend 3+)
  • 50 minute game

The Zamorian terrorists are planning to strike Newcastle again! They really have a beef with the city! 🙂  After our previous failed attempt to prevent the attack on the city in The Terror Cell,  Pa and I recently returned to Unexpected Exit to confront the terrorists from the fictional state of Zamoria once more.

This time around, we were trapped in another of their hideouts. Pa was kept hostage in a separate room from me and we had 50 minutes to find the bomb, defuse it and get out. It seemed like we were in big trouble!

The game started with one player (me) in one room and Pá handcuffed in another, completely in the dark. This initial stage made both of us work for everything and involved a lot of verbal communication to describe our environments. It was also very search heavy and my inability to find an item stalled us for some time. On Pá’s side she had to rely on her fingertips to locate and understand hints in the very small dark area she could reach.

A couple of tasks later, she was able to finally get some light (literally) and we progressed somewhat. As was the case for The Terror Cell and The Deranged Scientista lot of the challenge from rooms at Unexpected Exit comes from physical elements. In this case, Blast Radius tested search, observation and teamwork a lot more. Effective communication, either through yelling through the wall or talking through a speaker, was the only means we could talk with each other for most of the game and was essential to piecing together some of the early puzzles. The logic behind the puzzles was mostly association based although there were times they combined observation with basic math and other times with observation. Be alert and search carefully.

Damn Zamorians! Again!

Until the players in both rooms are united midway through the game, the structure of Blast Radius was quite linear and straightforward, one puzzle or task at a time. Past that point, however, the game diverges in all directions and players must work quickly to identify the numerous puzzles scattered around both rooms and relate them with the bomb.

The bomb itself was well crafted. It acted more as a focal point for the many puzzles as opposed to something which had to be mechanically disarmed. The final segment of the game was quite intense as we had spent too much time in the initial phase and the number of small puzzles just spiked in number. In hindsight, we wished that we could’ve had one more player in the team and we definitely recommend having at least three players in the room. Having one extra searcher and problem solver aside, a third perspective at the start might have assisted when we were separated at the beginning.

In terms of difficulty, Blast Radius can be paired with The Deranged Scientist. If teams opt for the “dueling mode” at Unexpected Exit, those are the two rooms they are split into. We had more trouble with Blast Radius as we were playing as a pair, but larger teams will be in comparable conditions. Many puzzles in this room are tied with the story – you will eventually see where the game’s title comes from.

Again, the hint mechanism was through sliding pieces of paper to the game master through the main door. This added to the difficulty as this method took time and forced us to choose carefully before we spent time writing requests for hints. Robin, who is also the owner of Unexpected Exit and our gamemaster, answered very quickly and with clear hints.

Despite all our efforts, Pa and I were not able to stop the Zamorians (again).  Robin was kind enough to let us complete the game with some extra time. After playing so many escape rooms, we thought we’d have an easier time in our second bout against the Zamorians. Not so. For some reason, these guys are our Kryptonite!

Out of the room

Service: Robin was an awesome gamemaster who gave excellent service, monitored our progress and provided a comprehensive debrief.

Communication: Unexpected Exit uses written notes passed underneath the doorway as the means of communication. Although you obtain very personalised replies, this actually increases the difficulty as it forces a level of agency and active participation on the players to use up valuable time to write well phrased questions. In a team of 4+, this might not be so punishing, but with only 2, it made us consider very carefully before sending off our queries. After all, it takes the gamemaster time to write back…. (as a silver lining, his handwritting is clear!)

Surroundings: Unexpected Exit is located in Hunter Street, around 10 minutes drive from the beautiful beaches of Newcastle. The same distance will take you to nice restaurants. We had a very nice breakfast at Six Degrees, a stylish bar in front of the sea, that serves great baked beans and very nice coffee!

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