Woodbury Escape Rooms: Leaper [Review]

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

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

Creativity: 9; Difficulty: 8.5; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 9.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • Basic knowledge of traditional English children culture
  • Acute senses
  • 2-6 players (we recommend 4-6)

An elite squad of investigators called ‘Leapers’ were trained to ‘leap’ into the minds of suspects and extract memories, in order to solve the most heinous or complicated crimes. Their technique was extremely advanced an infallible… until it wasn’t. A Leaper has been murdered while exploring the mind of a convicted killer called the Architect, whose final victim is believed to be still alive. Your tech team can guarantee safety for 60 minutes while you leap into the Architect’s mind to find out where his final victim is… After that, you may suffer the same fate as the last Leaper who tried.

This very Inception-esque plot is the story behind the excellent Leaper, the hardest and most atmospheric game in Woodbury.  Our team of four had a very intense time going through a very twisted setting. There were moments we were very hesitant in making any step forward…

Our team started the game split into two. Trapspringer and I were trapped into some sort of bare old-style drawing room, with some cabinets and a window that allowed us to see our friends in a very similar environment on the other side. We could not hear each other, though… or could we? Finding a way to get communication going was essential to advance in our investigation, as we soon realized that the information to solve each room’s puzzles was actually spread between both sides.

Leaper has a very strong start that will require team to be efficient in communicating with each other. The initial challenges, while players are still away from each other, will require observation, association, some dexterity and memory. We also had to find creative ways to send items to each other, which got some giggles when we realized the simplicity of the process. There is a chance that half of the team will be able to advance before the other half joins them, but it does not last for long. Although doable with less people, we highly recommend a team of four or more for this game.

leaperIt was actually good that the separation was short, because things started to get creepy quickly inside the mind of the Architect. My friend and myself actually froze in sight of one of the areas that opened ahead of us. It was just odd. We knew something weird would happen. The setting had a lot of random objects, such as glassware, cards, tools and children’s toys. What is it about toys that make them so creepy given the right (or maybe “the wrong”) conditions? One of the most interesting puzzles of the game, in my opinion, was one on the edge of requiring external knowledge – but if you were born or lived for a good while in an English speaking country, you should have no issues. It was a mix of sensory, associative and dexterity tasks, with normal props used in a very creative way. I was actually astounded by the effect the designers of Woodbury achieved. And almost had a heart attack when we succeeded in completing it.

Still on the setting, some players may think that Leaper puts together too many items, with no clear connection. However, remember that this game is set inside the mind of a twisted criminal, so why would anything inside make sense? Besides, the items drew upon different periods of the Architect’s life, from the recent to distant past – it would make sense for him…. We have mentioned in previous reviews that the Magic theme games give a lot of room for designers to be creative, and I would argue that the same can be said about Dreamscape theme games, such as Leaper.

The second half of the game was probably easier than the first half, but most of us were already influenced by fear factors and it definitely affected the way we played – except for Trapspringer, the man with no fear. He just kept playing and opening doors for us (because there was a particular moment we just didn’t want to enter a certain room!). The puzzles required logic and detailed observation, relating the new elements with others we had found previously. We also had to inspect things we didn’t want to approach, but well… Duties of a Leaper, I suppose.

The bonus puzzle for this room appeared mid-game, and we solved it to get eight minutes deducted from our final escape time. We finished the game with 18 minutes to spare, and the bonus knocked it to 26 minutes. We found what happened to the last victim and where the police team should look for her.

Leaper2As in other games from this venue, all the puzzles inside the room were numbered and you solve them in order. It reduced the difficulty of the game a bit, as we knew what we were looking for. Even so, Leaper was the hardest, creepiest and the best game we played in Woodbury. It is a genuinely all-round good game, with nice and varied puzzles in a very atmospheric setting. It requires actual teamwork to be completed and poses challenges for both beginners and experienced players.  In Woodbury we have also played Little Playful ThingsThe Curse of Kidd Island and the two games which share the same room, Wanted-Bandits and Wanted-Warriors.  After the game we had a nice chat with Aaron, designer and owner of Woodbury, who explained to us the long process to build the room and get all his ideas working. He seemed really proud of this game. So he should, it was a lot of fun.

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Aaron was very attentive to our game. His briefing was quick, as we had been briefed for the previous games and did know the gist. In Woodbury, there is a chest 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. We enjoyed putting ours on the fridge door.

Communication: A walkie-talkie radio is provided to facilitate communications with the GM. The sound was slightly muffled, but nothing that affected the playability of the room.

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. We are quite fond of a pizza place around the corner on the other side of the road, which doesn’t even have a name, but has a red window. The pizzas are quite large and tasty!

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