Escape Hunt Brisbane: The Jewel Thief [Review]

Logos-for-website_0017_ESCAPE_HUNT_BRISBANE_LOGOLocation: Escape Hunt Brisbane, South Bank, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Date completed:  October 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

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

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-5 players
  • At least two players with full mobility

Your latest theatre play was a huge success, praised for the quality of screenplay, acting and props. Among the latter, a set of jewelry had most stunning pieces – necklace, tiara, earrings made of beautiful precious stones. They were on loan from a famous jeweler and made media headlines. However, this six piece jewelry set is about to be in the newspapers again for a completely reason: they were stolen from the backstage of the Brisbane Arts Theatre! You were sent into the prop maker’s workshop to locate the items (or find out what happened to them) before it is too late!

The Jewel Thief was a game with very detailed props and with an interesting ending – it posed a moral dilemma to us and was our favourite game out of the three we played at Escape Hunt Brisbane. The theatre theme was very enjoyable. As Jaques said, ‘all the world was a stage!’

We soon realized our game could follow two different starting paths, one with more traditional props and one with a huge and fancy contraption in the middle of the room. Playing as a duo, it was physically impossible to tackle both of them at the same time, so Trapspringer and I started with the traditional one, that required more observation and spatial awareness. Thorough search of the area and some time sitting on the floor to put things together were enough for us to clear those tasks.

Then we went for the big, fancy prop. While we were both dealing with it (you will probably need at least two people  handling it in a well-coordinated fashion), we were thinking how long did it take to put that prop together. It was very detailed, and it referred to plays staged by the fictional theatre group we were investigating. It was also quite fun, and reminded me of times when I would go to an arcade with a lot of coins to play. But we do recommend to be very careful when dealing with it, for two reasons: first, being rough will not allow you to solve the puzzle; second, it would be horrible if it broke!

jeweltClearing both paths and a nice ‘invisible tech’ puzzle opened up an area inside the theatre, which looked like some kind of dressing room. Over there, references to famous texts were more evident, and good knowledge of English language was required. One of the puzzles in this area incorporated a famous play very cleverly into a task, giving an innovative and interesting look to a puzzle that otherwise could have been very bland.

The items we dealt with in this area were of all shapes and sizes, so be organized not to lose anything from site. It is quite a busy area – as a dressing room would be-, and it can easily make players feel a bit lost.

It is hard to remember exactly how many puzzles and tasks we solved in the dressing room, but there was a fair amount per square meter, and as in the theatre, moving a few things around would give you brand new elements to work with. We found out more and more on the history of the theatre group, and finally started making sense of what actually happened with the famous jewels. Something was rotten in the state of Brisbane.

The end game was focused in recovering the jewelry set, and observation was the most important skill. As expected, I had a much better eye for jewels than Trapspringer.  Marilyn Monroe once said diamonds are a girl’s best friend… Not that I agree, but they are indeed nice to have around.

To our surprise, the story behind the disappearance of the jewels was much more complex than we expected, and the very end of the game posed us a moral choice. The answer would not affect our escape, but surely made us think, especially about the concept of justice. We exited the room with 18 minutes to spare, and  our gamemaster Guy showed us how previous teams had chosen along the day. Approximately two thirds thought similarly to us and chose the same ending. “Men at some time are masters of their fates”, said Julius Caesar in the Shakespeare play. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

This room had a beautiful setting and very smooth use of tech. It also balanced physical and logical elements. The Jewel Thief was much more creative and interesting than the average Escape Hunt games, and we were told that the local owners at the Brisbane branch had worked really hard to incorporate their own ideas into this game. It surely paid off, as the result was a very enjoyable room. In Escape Hunt Brisbane we also played Bomb at the Government House and Treachery at the Racetrack.

 

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Guy was enthusiastic about the game and talked to us for some time about how teams perform. Escape Hunt Brisbane has a spacious waiting area, with water available. There are lockers for players belongings outside each room and toilets. Drinks other than water can be purchased at the reception desk.

Communication: There was a buzzer to press and talk to the GM in case we needed a hint. Hints are unlimited and there is no time penalty.

Surroundings: Escape Hunt Brisbane is easily accessible by public transport, being close to both South Brisbane and South Bank stations. it is located at walking distance from the real Queensland Performing Arts Centre, one of the inspirations for this room. That is the place to see musicals, great dance companies and the best of Australian theatre.

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