Ultimate Roomscape: Kidnapped [Review]

Location: Ultimate Roomscape, Malaga, Perth, WA, Australia

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Date completed:  January 2017 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 8; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 8

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-8 players (we recommend 4-6)

The situation was no good. We were cuffed to the floor of a dark bathroom, kidnapped by a group known as ‘The Clowns’. It seemed like they were trying to use us as exchange for the release of their leader, but negotiations with the authorities went South and we were probably going to be killed on the spot – unless we found a way out.

At least that was the dark story behind Kidnapped on Ultimate Roomscape’s website. As the game developed, the plot changed drastically (we did not find information about the Clowns), but it became way, way creepier…

When we saw ourselves cuffed at the begging of the game, we did not imagined that this game would be so eerie. We had been in similar games before – locked in a basement, followed by serial killers, you know the jist. But the kidnappers were not the scary part of this game. Oh, not at all.

We actually managed, through a lot of deduction and contortionist feats, to open our way out of our cell even before we opened our handcuffs – we actually needed a hint for that! Maybe if we had paid more attention to our surroundings, it would have been different. But there we were, on our way out of that dark bathroom! Where did it lead us? Who lives here? Why does every answer to these questions only makes things worse?

kidnappedIn the beginning, each player is assigned a profession, which will become relevant further ahead. In our case, we were a policeman, a lawyer and a doctor.  But the strongest aspect of Kidnapped is the development of a backstory, quite unrelated to the original plot, that changes the tone from thriller to horror. The setting and the tasks you have to perform build a lot of tension, and some props are located in areas which are especially unnerving. There is very creative physical interaction with the objects, and the dim light makes everything you touch and hear even more evident. One particular sound-related puzzle managed to put me (Pá) and the third member of our group on the edge, to the point we were almost unable to walk alone from that moment on. That area creates a lasting impression that remains during the entire game.

Most puzzles were in the field of association, but they were quite creative in design and execution. The last part of the game can generate mixed responses from players, as it requires external knowledge to be solved. Not just a little bit, but quite a lot! Trapspringer also did not see how they related to the wider game.  While we are usually against the use of blatant external knowledge in a room, much of the information or end results of said puzzles can be deduced, if you communicate well with your team, and that was how we managed to solve our final puzzles. Our advice is to bring in a team from different walks of life.

Due to the last puzzle’s design, there is actually the possibility that one of the  players can escape and leave all others locked behind! Our friend could have done that in our game, but he was loyal and chose to stay with us. Select well your companions for this game!

Billed as Ultimate Roomscape’s most intense room, Kidnapped was actually designed to be best enjoyed by groups of 4+, and the difficulty also increases with more players. It can, however, be adapted for smaller groups – we played with 3 people. The GMs have to change some puzzles, especially in the end part of the game, but it is still extremely challenging. Our team managed to escape with not much more than 3 minutes left on the clock, and hearts beating really quickly.

This room was no doubt our favourite in Ultimate, but the games in this venue are pretty solid. We also played Viral Outbreak, Pipeline – Red vs Blue and The Lost Scepter of Tutankhamun.

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Out of the room

Service: Ultimate Roomscape has lockers for player’s belongings and water available in their colourful reception area. Our gamemaster did a brief and professional introduction. As mentioned, they adapted the game to work for a team of 3 people.

Communication: Ultimate uses the doorbell system. You ring a bell and the GM comes into the room. It does break the atmosphere, however our GM tried to be as quick as possible.

Surroundings: Malaga is 20-minute drive North from Perth CBD. Ultimate is located in the Malaga Markets shopping area, with plenty of fast-food options, such as McDonald’s, Red Rooster and Subway. There is also ATMs and lots of parking spaces.

Kidnapped was also reviewed by the Escape Room Hunters and Escape Room Explorers.

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