Ultimate Roomscape: Pipeline – Red vs Blue [Review]

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

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

Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 6.5; Fun: 8 (Difficulty and Fun may vary according to opposing team’s performance)

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 4-8 players (we recommend 3-4 per team)
  • Full mobility

If you always wanted to be part of an episode of Crystal Maze, this “escape room” in Perth is probably the closest you can get in Australia. In fact, Pipeline – Red vs Blue at Ultimate is not an escape room per se, but an action race course in which two teams compete to see who finishes first.

We had the great opportunity of playing Pipeline – Red vs Blue with (actually, against) the Escape Room Hunters during our visit to Perth. Two teams, locked in identical rooms, with plenty of puzzles and physical challenges to overcome. What do you think happened?

Our red team of three started the game locked and restrained. Once the briefing was finished, time started ticking and we started working on the first puzzle, which in my opinion, was the weakest task in the entire course. It was long, repetitive and relied on memory. After some time, we heard the GONG sound that indicated the Hunters had finished it their blue room. We were still at it and it took us a while to catch up.

The good thing about starting with the weakest puzzle is that the game improves from there on. An association puzzle followed and people who like to travel (such as ourselves) will solve it in a breeze. Be prepared to crawl around small tunnels, climb stairs, use a lot of your dexterity and some logic in between. Pipline is a very fun environment, just be aware that full mobility is essential to go through this room.

pipeline.jpgThe following areas had challenges which involved some spatial visualisation, logical deduction and a riddle. It was, for me, proof that you need a diverse team. While Trapspringer and our friend solved a logical puzzle, I finished a construction-type thing with an association task. I still do not understand how they solved that puzzle, but the important thing is that they did! Some more moving around and we got an extremely fun item, that matched one of Trapspringers best skills: hand to eye coordination. But GONG! The bell said the Hunters had finished another task… Are they ahead or behind us? With all the movement, we did not pay attention!

The last area of this big game was, for us, the most fun. A huge device required very good teamwork to be completed. Although as it probably can be done with two people, working with three made it easier. When we finalized that task, the final door opened and, to our surprise, we finished the room ahead of the Hunters! Really? Wow! Actually, wait… What happens now?

This is where our main criticism of the room comes in. Although we had a lot of fun crawling, playing and deducing stuff, the moment we opened the final door (at approximately 47 minutes), the game automatically ended for both rooms and the Hunters could not finish the game. There was an entire set of puzzles they could not play (the final ones were the best in our opinion). We suggested to the gamemaster that maybe they should go on as much as they could until the clock reached 60 minutes, because we all payed the price for a 60 minute game. We were then told that “this was how the room was programmed” and once one team exited, the game automatically ended for the other one too. It took off a bit of the fun of “winning”, as we felt disappointed that our friends and fellow enthusiasts could not play the remaining time. We don’t know if Ultimate made any changes in this system since our visit (our review is long due), but it would probably be a good tweak.

Another thing we did not understand was how Ultimate’s hint system applies to this game. You can ask for 2 hints in each game, and each hint after that gives you a time penalty. But if the game stops when the first team opens the final door, wouldn’t it actually be worthy to ask for a lot of hints and get to the door first? Of course we would not do it, but we thought this system did not match this type of game.

In a nutshell, we had a lot of fun, but we believe some adjustments could be made in Pipeline to make it more enjoyable, especially with more clarity about the rules of the game. Maybe even make this game open to some sort of public ticketing (i.e. making it so that you can book red or blue, and play against strangers)?

We asked the Escape Room Hunters for their contribution and this is their take on this room:

Pipeline Red vs Blue was a really fun room, and a great concept. Even better, we think it is one of the first replayable rooms we’ve experienced.

At its heart, Ultimate Roomscape has served up a process-based room. From the bits of the room that we saw, it was pretty clear what you needed to do when you saw each task, and just needed to get it done ahead of the other team. Racing is good fun, but as we found, the pressure can lead to a few mistakes. Our rapid progress was slowed when we hit one task that was so difficult to manipulate that taking one wrong turn meant we lost way too much time trying to get back on track: in the end we had to call for a clue and were just given the answer to progress. Overall, this wouldn’t have been so bad, except for one thing: our time ran out as soon as our competition completed the room. This is probably the most disappointing part of the entire theme, as we had all paid our money for a 60 minute room although not everyone got the chance to experience as much as possible. While we are looking forward to getting back to Ultimate Roomscape to replay Pipeline Red vs Blue, we sincerely hope the room designers have tweaked their game control program so that both teams have the same chance of completing the room.” (Escape Room Hunters)

For us, Pipeline was an interesting experience and the first “versus” game we ever played. We are more on the cooperative side of escaping, but competitive people will probably love the challenge posed in this game.

At Ultimate, we also played Viral Outbreak, Kidnapped 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 was brief and professional. We were divided in two groups and given helmets to wear along the game.

Communication: In Pipeline, Ultimate gives you a walkie talkie to contact the gamemaster.

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.

 

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