Captivate: Labyrinth Dead Men Walking [Review]

cativatelogoLocation: Captivate, Singapore Shopping Centre (Dhoby Ghaut MRT), Singapore

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

Creativity: 7; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 7.

Requirements:

  • Basic English
  • One player not colour blind
  • 75 minute-room
  • 2-10 players (we recommend 3-6)

You are hired by the Chief of Police to go undercover as an inmate at the Wessex Prison to try to discover why death Row inmates are disappearing from the morgue after their execution. Gruesome stuff, right? It gets worse. Whoever is doing it finds out that you are a snitch, and brings YOUR execution forward. You have one hour to unravel the mystery before all your investigation (and your life!) goes to the bin.

Captivate’s Labyrinth Dead Man Walking is probably the most spacious escape room we’ve been to date and can easily accommodate 10 people, which can be good for parties. The game, however, is not hard and can be solved with two people. Independently of the number of players, you all start the cuffed in a very awkward way, and finding out how to walk around is the first step to your freedom.

After the gamemaster cuffed us and let us to start Labyrinth Dead Man Walking, we found the start of the game rather bumpy. It took us a while to achieve freedom of movement after which we also had some issues with the “labyrinth” part of the game. There’s no maze per se and the labyrinth was fairly straightforward to navigate.

After finding some strange items related to the puzzles, it also took ages to be able to interact with them because… well, basically because our hands were not small enough and we did not want to break anything 😛 We had the impression that although the room is very large, most puzzles (and the best ones) are all concentrated in the same area towards the end. The first half of the game has enough space to fit another escape room but not much is done with it. The size of the escape room also affected our interaction with the gamemaster too. As Captivate uses the bell ring system, we had to walk all the way back to call the GM, who would then have to walk in the room and take a loooong time for them to reach the puzzle in question.

I think all the issues that happened in the first part of our game, which made us spend more than 40 minutes, made me a bit grumpy. When we finally reached a different area, I was gobsmacked by the amount of puzzles that unfolded before us. I actually did not believe we would be able to solve them in time. Grumpiness aside, there were some interesting and creative game design there.

captivate-labdeadThe most interesting puzzles required the players to be able to see props from different point of views. This method was used at least twice in the room, and we thought was really interesting. Search was also very important in this area, and that is  one of the things Captivate does very well: they do not hide stuff in ridiculous places. The required search was at the right balance of difficulty and items were found in curious places.

In this second area, most props were related to the plot and the game becomes more immersive and engaging. I do enjoy when you use real props from a place to solve a puzzle (eg. using a microscope in a lab to see slides – not that they had microscopes in Labyrinth Dead Man Walking). There is also a long, layered puzzle, which chained many creative tasks and it thrilled us while we joined all the pieces. We knew what we were chasing and the culprit’s identity was almost appearing, but the clock was ticking! This was definitely the highlight of the room.

We faced the “size” issue repeatedly though: one of the puzzles would probably have worked better for a person of average Singaporean size. As we were way out of the curve (I’m too small and Trapspringer is too muscly), we had to do some stretching to solve it, mentally and literally. It was one of those moments that we thought “why exactly am I doing this?”

Our escape used almost the entirety of our 75 minutes, leaving us quite tired. In hindsight, this game seemed unbalanced to us, with too little in a large area at the start and too much crammed into a small area at the end. Maybe if we were not stuck for so long, we might have felt better about the experience. Labyrinth Dead Man Walking is worth a try, but FBI: Zero Hour, which we also played at Captivate, was much more to our liking. This is entirely personal and probably there may be groups that have had a lot of fun here.

The venue also licences three very popular rooms from Australian company ERM, which we played in Melbourne: Kellar’s Magic Emporium, Amnesia and Elixir (“Flemington”). We did not have the opportunity to check how similar the Singaporean version is to the Australian one. Maybe in the future!

Out of the room

Service: Captivate has lockers for your belongings and vending machines in case you want a drink. Remember to bring cash if you do not own a Singaporean card! Gamemasters were polite and efficient.

Communication: Captivate  uses the bell hint system, which is very common in Sngapore. You ring a bell on the wall and the gamemaster comes into the room to give you a hint. We are not big fans of this method as the entrance breaks a bit of the game’s atmosphere. In Labyrinth Dead Man Walking, keep in mind that they may take a while to reach you, so time your rings well and in advance!

Surroundings: This venue is located in Singapore Shopping Centre, just beside Dhoby Ghaut MRT station. It is just adjacent to Orchard Road, the famous shopping avenue in Singapore. If you are adept of retail therapy, you will be quite at ease around here!

Labyrinth Dead Man Walking has also been reviewed by Escaping.sg and S-capegoats.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s