Escape Manor: The Covenant [Review]

manor-logo-navLocation: Escape Manor, Brisbane City,  QLD, Australia

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

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

Requirements:

  • 2-6 players (Public Booking)
  • 45-minute room
  • Intermediate English

That contract was suspicious, but the terms were so good… What did you wanted most? Money? Fame? Love? It was all there. The ‘solicitor’ making the deal was a bit weird, and his hair was so hard and spiky you could expect it to pierce through his hat. For some reason, you felt like trusting him anyway. Silly mistake. Now, how deep must you go to destroy that contract to save your very soul.

The Covenant was a race into the ‘office’ of a very suspicious individual to retrieve and destroy a document you regret having signed. It was also our first experience with public bookings in an Australian escape room venue – we had only seen that in pop-up rooms before. The Brisbane operation of Escape Manor is a franchise of the same-named company in Canada. As far as we know, Escape Manor is the only public-booking venue in the Australia. We found out when we arrived that we had been paired with another couple for this adventure. How do you think it unfolded?

Although we were skeptical of being paired with strangers at first, the four of us got along pretty well. Kudos to Peter, the amazing gamemaster, who broke all the ice between us and did some of the most theatrical introductions and game briefing we’ve ever seen. The guy was a gem! So there we were, Pa and I, with a couple I will call Hansel and Gretel. She had played one room before, while he was seeing a escape room for the first time in his life. The variation in experience didn’t affect us at all though as Peter’s part-creepy, part-hilarious performance helped us bond and got us into the game. Very soon, we began identifying the various start points and future puzzles within the Devil’s private sanctum.

manor-covenant

Another element which helped our team mesh was the use of referential humour in the setting. Which other celebrities and prominent figures have succumbed to the allure of fame and fortune for the measly price of their afterlife? I definitely think that this ‘not so serious’ tone of the room, despite the horror subject matter, worked great. After some jokes, we began to work regularly in pairs, and more often than not, Pa would team up with Gretel while I would do the same with Hansel.

Our quest initiated in some sort of office with some luxurious pieces of furniture that at closer inspection were creepy. Why all the candles and carvings? What was that object in the cabinet? Why was there a picture of Kim Kardashian over the fireplace? The puzzle path of The Covenant was non-linear and had multiple start points, which combined with the large amount of space available, meant that this escape room could comfortably fit the 6 player limit. The large amount of space also allowed Escape Manor to build some impressive set pieces into the room, particularly in the later stages of the game when we uncovered the more diabolical sections of the Devil-solicitor’s hideout.

Most of the puzzles were multi-layered and involved a combination of search, logic and association. They also had a certain physicality to them in that we always found ourselves performing certain actions or moving and handling items. There was one particular puzzle which had verbose instructions and was hard to understand as a result. That was our only negative observation though. All other puzzles tackled varied skill, and guess what? The four of us actually covered them all very well. Pa and I are not very good searchers, but Hansel did a great job in that front, while Gretel and Pa smashed the logical puzzles and I got everything moving (quite literally).

All up, the layout of the room, the the puzzles and the invested nature of the setting, including the gamemaster’s performance, gave us a real adrenaline kick. We saved our souls on a high. So much so that we did not hesitate in inviting Hansel and Gretel to our booking of The Asylum straight afterwardswhich they took up.

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Peter, who happened to be one of the owners, was great through and through. From the moment our booking time started, he entered a character and kept it until we escaped. It surely helped our group of strangers to bond and be prone to working together. His briefing was clear and efficient.

manor-ReceptionArea2_previewPlayer’s belongings were stored in boxes at the reception during the game. Toilets were clean.  Escape Manor’s waiting area was very spacious and stylish, which can be good for corporate bookings.

Communication: A walkie-talkie radio was provided to facilitate communications with the gamemaster. We needed a couple of hints (more of ‘confirmations’, I’d say) for The Covenant. As it sometimes happens with walkie-talkies, the sound wasn’t the best, but we could understand everything.

Surroundings: Escape Manor is located in Brisbane’s city centre, in a very accessible location by bus or ferry, or a short walk from Central station. There are hundreds of places to eat around, and the venue is also close to Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.

The Covenant was also reviewed by Gotta Get a Room.

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