Evolo Room Escape: International Fugitive [Review]

logo-evoloLocation: Evolo Room Escape, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Date completed:  March 2018 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.5.

Requirements:

  • 2-6 players
  • Acute senses
  • Full mobility (mainly to access the room)

There is an international fugitive on the run, and intelligence indicates that he is hiding in Tasmania! Of all places in the world, who would guess he would go to that lovely island on the extreme south of Australia? Maybe it was the food there… or the whisky… But players must be quick and catch him before he departs to his next destination. The mission in this game is to capture the fugitive and to find out where his next hideout would be.

We were invited by the designers of Evolo Room Escape, Lauren and Nick, to try their games during our stop in Hobart earlier this year. Kinda in theme with the game, we were also on the move – but not as fugitives, we swear! The city was a scheduled stop for our cruise ship. Hobart is a great touristic (unfairly underrated) destination, and it just became better with escape rooms!

Our chase started in a room upstairs which looked like a mix of bedroom and office – a ‘loft’, maybe? It would be the perfect place for a fugitive to keep a low profile and still conduct his activities: a bed, a desk, some cabinets, good lighting. Observing our surroundings, we realized we had at least two starting points for this adventure. I went for one and Trapspringer for the other, and very quickly we found out an element that would become an important part of the mission.

We kinda started on the wrong foot though, as both Trapspringer and I took turns in failing one of the initial tasks. It was a very hands-on, and clearly we did not have the dexterity to solve it gracefully. But sometimes it does not have to be pretty, as long as it works: we eventually managed to do what was needed to go on on the chase!

After this initial hiccup, we caught up with the flow of the game and probably restored the faith of gamemaster Lauren in our team. The search for the International Fugitive continued with a series of very diverse puzzles. Lauren and Nick created approximately a dozen varied puzzles for this room, in which no set skill was used more than twice. It felt like one of those rooms where everyone can solve something!

The puzzles required logic, mechanical aptitude, spotting (not exactly searching), basic arithmetic, interpretation, and sensory awareness. Dividing your efforts and communicating everything you find with your team is very important in this room, especially towards the end game. If possible, try to allocate more than one person to each task. We estimate the optimal size for this room to be 3-4 people, and the more diverse they are, the better.

I was surprised by how the puzzles looked, at the same time, so simple and so clever. In this room, most of the puzzles utilize common elements of a small apartment or office – you won’t be dealing with any crazy piece of machinery or arcane devices. One of the tasks was actually a twist on something that I usually do for chores. The difference is that, at Evolo, the task felt really fun and gave me a reward. At home, the same activity… sometimes does not even get done. 😛

In other instance, the use of daily-life objects also resulted in a puzzle that is probably easier for beginners than experienced puzzle solvers. I believe that after playing a handful of rooms, some players start to make lots of automatic associations (hexagons with number six for a code, for example). This puzzle actually made us look at things simply as THINGS, which can be quite refreshing.

fugitive

We thought that one of the puzzles, at first sight, required some external knowledge to be deciphered, but on closer inspection, we realized all elements were there. That said, people who grew up in Australia will probably solve that puzzle quicker than foreigners. To balance the scale for those not born in Australia (like myself), the solution of a later puzzle will be more evident to foreigners, although people from anywhere can solve it.

We escaped International Fugitive with 17 minutes to spare and had a lovely chat with Nick and Lauren about the room. They were keen for feedback and we suggested a minor tweak that they took into consideration. On an interesting sidenote, they indicated that Evolo’s room’s have an approximate 12-18 month lifespan due to the relatively small size of the of the Tasmanian escape room market. The effort those guys put to build a new room every year and half is quite amazing. After we located the International Fugitive’s hideout, we got ready for our second adventure of the day: in Evolo Room Escape, we also played Secrets of the Jungle.

 

Out of the room

Service: Lauren and Nick, the owners and designers of Evolo, are super nice and breathtakingly fun. They have incredible timing for jokes and can probably light up the mood of the grumpiest teams. Briefing was very clear.

evolo-cup

Toilets were clean and the reception area was spacious enough for more than one group, with traditional puzzles on the center coffee table. By the way, Evolo sells their own reusable coffee cups – a type of merchandise we had not seen before in other Australian escape rooms. According to Lauren, they did this as part of a government driven initiative to encourage businesses to be more environmentally friendly. Trapspringer has been using his at work and according to him, the quality of the cup is pretty good and it is easy to clean. And it’s so cute!

Communication: Hints are unlimited via walkie-talkie.

Surroundings: Evolo Room Escape is a short drive/15 min walk from Hobart city center. It is conveniently located in front of a supermarket, in a very nice looking house. The venue is very close to the Old Convict Penitentiary, a historical building that offers a creepy (but very fun) night-time ghost tour.

 

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