EscapeXperience: Clockworks [Review]

Locatescapexperience-redion: EscapeXperience, Oakleigh, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed:  January 2018 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 6; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 9.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players (we recommend 2-4)
  • Acute senses

 

When we entered the house of Robert Spear, vanished almost a century ago, the only thing we knew is that he was a scientist. He allegedly disappeared a few days before he was meant to present a ground-breaking invention to the public. Not even his family knew what he was doing. Spear’s place was full of notes and pieces about of some sort of device, but we were not sure what it was or what it did. We could only say that the place was not totally strange, it was actually very familiar…

Clockworks is a beautiful game created by EscapeXperience in partnership with Escape Room Melbourne (ERM).  The setting, with touches of vintage and steampunk, is very well thought: the game is meant to be a prequel to Escape Room Flemington, one of the first escape games built in Australia by ERM and a classic in Melbourne. The result was an intricate-looking and fun game, with a great flow and creative ending.

Our adventure started in Robert Spear’s workshop. There were tons of tools, metal pieces and blue prints everywhere. It was surprising at first to see saws, hammers and other sharp tools, but we soon realized they were all glued to the wall, filed or shape-proofed, so it was perfectly safe to deal with any of them. This first area was comprised mainly of observation and dexterity puzzles, all very creative and hands-on. We had to operate some machines, and one of the props was particularly innovative (and beautiful, despite being built out of not-so-pretty pieces).

Despite the fair amount of puzzles to be solved, this first area is quite small, therefore we would not recommend a group bigger than 4 for this room. It may feel a bit too crowded otherwise. Once players open the next area, however, there is plenty of space and our team even managed to spread many props across the floor. The decor and the items of this space do resemble things belonging to an early 1900s house. As in other rooms at EscapeXperience, props were mostly low tech (which made sense given the time period), but well constructed and completely functional.

clockworks2

The puzzles in the second half of the game were more traditional than the ones in the first half. Players who have experienced a number of other escape rooms, particularly those designed by ERM, may find that some tasks and thinking processes are familiar. However, all the puzzles were pretty, in theme and were nonetheless interesting. They were mostly within the association and decryption fields, with a lot of small pieces to deal with. Be organised and do not lose sight of what you have to work with, or you may find yourself overthinking very simple stuff – our team lost some time due to this mistake!  Clockworks is a very linear game, and if you manage to understand the ‘puzzle style’ of the room, you may solve a lot of puzzles quite quickly.

After searching the house and finding more information,  we finally managed to find out what the inventor had been working on,  and what happened to him afterwards. The game was developed in partnership with the ERM team, creators of Flemington, and the  the connection between the games became really evident in the end. But those who have not played Flemington do not have to worry, as it is not necessary to play one game to understand the other. They are more like stories from the same universe.

The detailed and realistic elements in the room helped create a vintage-sci fi look that was very distinct and that I personally enjoyed a lot. Clockworks probably had one of the most interesting endings we’ve seem in an escape room: it is visually beautiful, eventful and really gives you that real sense of achievement.

Our previous games in EscapeXperience had left good impressions on us, and we had been wanting to play Clockworks for a while. We were not disappointed!  It was more on the easy side and our team finished the room in a bit more than 30 minutes, almost beating the record for 4 people (which apparently had been set the day before). The game was quick, but great, and we will surely tell people to give it a go.

In EscapeXperience we previously played the excellent Amnesia and Burlesque, also highly recommended. If you book at EscapeXperience to play more than one room, try Clockworks or Amnesia first, then go for Burlesque, as the difficulty level in the latter is much higher. If you are also curious about Flemington, operated by ERM since 2014, it does not matter which game you play first – however Clockworks is much newer and visually more interesting, so we would suggest playing it last.

clock1

Out of the room

Service: The gamemasters were excellent, enthusiastic and with excellent work ethics. The young lady (I apologize for not writing down their name!) kept a very good eye on the game and responded quickly when we seeme certain things about one of the puzzles. After the game, both GMs had a nice chat with us about the escape room scene in Melbourne and we exchanged recommendations.

Personal belongings are stored in lockers provided by EscapeXperience. You can purchase drinks at the spot.

Communication: Hints, questions and other communication were conducted through walkie-talkie.

Surroundings: It actually takes some time to get to EscapeXperience – about 40 minutes by train from the Melbourne city centre, plus a short walk. However, the area there in Oakleigh has great cafes, restaurants and a shopping centre next to EscapeXperience. We highly recommend making the trip out there.

 

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