Ultimate Roomscape: Viral Outbreak [Review]

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

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Date completed:  January 2017 (5 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 6.5; Fun: 7

Requirements:

  • Intermediate English
  • 2-8 players
  • Acute senses

You and your friends are attending a demonstration by Aerodyne, a world leading medical research facility which has potentially developed a cure for the EBL-01 viral strain. This lethal virus turns its victims into zombies, and Aerodyne claims to be able to revert the syntoms.

As you step into Viral Outbreak, you will probably remember “wait, I’ve never seen a story with zombies that ends well.” That’s right: before the human trials are presented, things get really out of hand – and you find out the trial had more selfish reasons than you expected! You have one hour to make your way out , and there is a dark, complicated path ahead!

The game starts in a lab facility, and for our lack of luck, right in the beginning I did something that made lights go down, leaving us in a very dark place. The main hint for this escape room is “follow the instruction carefully”. There are some things that need to be read and done for you to get out, especially in the first part of the game. However, some of the instructions can also put you in trouble. Check all drawers and files, it can be important!

We played Viral Outbreak with the Escape Room Hunters. There was surely enough challenges for our team of five to work around, but one thing was evident: there were not enough torches! Although we liked most of the puzzles in this room, having only one torch impeded us of doing more than one thing at once, as the others could not see what they were working with. A colour deduction puzzle was particularly frustrating to solve, not because it didn’t make sense nor  was it poorly designed, the problem was that unless the components of the puzzle were exactly under our source of light, it was quite hard to see. Due to the tones of colour used, we also do not believe colour blind people could do it, even in a illuminated room, so bring someone sharp on colours with you! We mentioned this fact to our gamemaster after we escaped, and he seemed attentive to our complaint.

viralViral Outbreak is a relatively fun game which suffers from a slow and linear start consisting of search, deduction and some sensory puzzles. Larger teams need to over this part quickly or some members might be left with little to do.

However, once the second half of the game opens, a very contrasting non-linear area emerges with more light. Puzzles from here on will vary from the most logical to the physical and mechanical ones. It was much more fun and puzzles were not limited to props, but also the area around us as well. The five of us were escape room veterans and this second part had enough to keep us all occupied. We split into different teams to work on separate problems. That said, this room is perfectly solvable with a smaller team as well.

Although Viral Outbreak gives you the impression you may step into a zombie ridden area at any moment, the room is not scary and has no jump scares or gore. The initial laboratory setup was fairly pristine and ‘lab-like’. The second area was not characterised as anything specific and was more a ‘puzzle room’. In any case, we had fun.

At Ultimate, we also played Kidnapped, Pipeline – Red vs Blue and The Lost Scepter of Tutankhamun.

Out of the room

Service: Ultimate has lockers for player’s belongings and water available in their colourful reception area. Our gamemaster did a brief and professional introduction.

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 Mc Donald’s, Red Rooster and Subway. There is also ATMs and lots of parking spaces.

If you are in the city  centre, take some time to stroll around King’s Park & Botanic Gardens, where you can see beautiful flowers and learn a bit of local history with the guided tours.

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