Woodbury Escape Rooms: The Curse of Kidd Island [Review]

woodburyescaperooms_logo-inverseLocation: Woodbury Escape Rooms, South Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed: June 2017 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 8.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players (we recommend 3-4)
  • Acute senses
  • One player not colour blind

Straight after performing as abandoned toys in Little Playful Things, we put on our metaphorical fedora hats to venture into ancient ruins and defy The Curse of Kidd Island. As intrepid tomb raiders explorers working for Omicron Industries, we were hired to find and steal retrieve the Eye of Venus, a supernatural artifact which seems to be tied to the Four Horsemen of Apocalypse.

What we were not told is that the team before us disappeared in mysterious conditions. Once we entered the dark cave, we notice the mission would demand some MacGyver-ish skills…

The Curse of Kidd Island is a very hands-on room, which matches the idea of exploring a cave and finding your way out. If you love this type of room, you will have a blast. The starting point if the first chamber of the cave, where you will also find the equipment (or should I say “the remains”?) of the previous team. Search, observation and deduction will get you further into the cave, and things get harder from there.

Although we did not think that the puzzles in this room were much harder individually than others we played at Woodbury, they required more effort and more time to solve. Almost every challenge in the Kidd Island is layered: get parts together to be able to advance, or do a series of mini-tasks to assemble something bigger. Again, Woodbury shows its ability to put together a lot of very uncommon puzzles in situations where many venues would rather chose something obvious. Owners/designers Aaron and Valencia do have an eye for that. The Eye of Venus, apparently…

2 - 20170506_202758It’s not a spoiler to say that you could use some props more than once in The Curse Kidd Island. There are some tasks to be done that players are very free to “build” a solution, and this phrase is quite literal. According to Aaron, very often teams come up with quite unique answers, and he added some items to the rooms to be sure everything can be done – even if some ideas do go horribly wrong. Our team of four made use of some curious items that allowed us to advance, and one in particular was used a few times, until it could not go further… also literally! Besides the common types of players you would bring to a escape room (the searcher, the quick-thinker, etc.), a sailor, a scout and a cricket bowler could also do well in this place. Among other challenges, association, riddles and decryption will be required to find your way to safety. The place is quite large and dark. It is easy to be unsure of what to work on, so pay attention to the convenient numbered stickers that Woodbury Escape Rooms adds to every puzzle! Solve one, then 2, then 3 and be aware of where to go next! Given the linearity of the game, however, we wouldn’t recommend teams be any larger than four players, especially if your players are escape room veterans. Unlike the other games we played at Woodbury, the bonus puzzle doesn’t reveal itself until far later in the game and one of our players was ‘in standby’ until the last quarter.

Most of the puzzles revolve around the Four Horsemen popular interpretation, and these guys are not nice. The room, however, is not scary, sad or disgusting in any way, as one could imagine. It can even be family friendly if the kids are ok playing in the dark – Woodbury requires adult supervision to any player under 16. I thought the Famine puzzle to be particularly clever both in concept and execution. Another one, the Pestilence, was very interesting and hands on, but we had some issues with the results achieved, as they could be easily confounded with other things. In our team of 4, none of us was actually able to reach the exact solution. The designers of Woodbury were very attentive to our observation and said they would try to tweak it a bit.

4 - IMG_20170427_012007_084Another suggestion we gave was to make the ending of the game slightly more “victorious” or evident. That was just because we were going so intensely about solving the puzzles (and there were quite a bit!) that once we found the artifact, we got surprised with our gamemaster Laura coming to greet us at the “entrance” of the cave! Also, if you decide to wear the artifact, remember to give it back to your GM! The same applies to the little portable timer you carry into the room. As it is a cave, there are no clocks on the wall, and you get this little countdown timer to control your minutes. Suffice to say that the timer went to a pizza place with us before we returned it… (*shame*)

Like other rooms in Woodbury, The Curse of Kidd Island had a bonus puzzle which reduces eight minutes of your final time. We solved it, so our team finished the room in “36” minutes (instead of the actual 44min) and earned Gold magnet badges! It was probably the hardest of the three rooms we played on Woodbury on that day, and we are curious to return and play the new one, Leaper!

In Woodbury Escape Rooms, we also played Little Playful Things and Wanted – Bandits.

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Laura was a funny lady that made us welcome and quickly sorted payments when we added a last minute member to the game. As we mentioned we had played escape rooms before, briefing was quick.

There is a box for personal belongings and water at the reception. If a team finishes the room, players receive magnetic badges according to their escape time: Platinum for under 30 min, Gold for 40min, Silver for 50min and Bronze for finishing.

Communication: A walkie-talkie radio is provided to facilitate communications with the GM. You can also listen to the sound system. Every now and then, an expert on the ruins may whisper a hint to your team so pay attention when he talks.

Surroundings: Woodbury Escape Rooms is located in front of a tram stop in South Melbourne (10-15 min from the city), so we would highly recommend using public transport to get there. There is a large variety of restaurants and cafes around for a pre or post-game meal.

 

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