PAX Australia 2017 Panel: Behind the Hidden Door

22179978_127486074575081_5900641369381559922_oLocation: PAX Australia 2017, Melbourne Convention Centre, VIC
When: 28 October 2017
Panel: Jesse and Chris (Riddle Room), Matt (Enigma Room), Rohan (Cubescape), Josh (Mystery Rooms), Pa! (where else?)

I can’t believe its been a full year since we last headed to Melbourne to cover the escape room panel for PAX Australia! Time has passed (too) quickly and many escape rooms have been played. Pa was fortunate enough to be invited this time around to sit Behind the Hidden Door and fly the flag for our blog at this year’s panel. Attending PAX as a panelist? Achievement unlocked.

With so much development in the Australian escape room industry through 2017, it was hard to nail down any single topic to cover. Matt from Enigma Room came up with an ingenious idea to spur discussion this year – the audience would submit their questions by paper plane. They weren’t given much warning this would happen and those who managed to land their question into a box got first dibs at being presented to the panel.

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Xcape Funtasy: Mission X – The Love Confession [Review]

funtasyLocation: Xcape Funtasy, Bugis Village, Singapore

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

Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 3; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 7.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English or Mandarin
  • 2-8 players (we recommend 2-3)

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You remember those moments in your childhood that you had a crush for a friend and never had the courage to tell the person? A version of this common young drama is the story of Mission X – the Love Confession. You decide that today is the great day and you will declare your love for a friend, giving her a flower bouquet!

To assist with your declaration of love, you receive lots of ‘magic items’ and the help of a famous big-headed cat. This room had often been referred to us everytime we looked for ‘cute’ escape rooms, and we had the chance to try it during our last trip to Singapore.

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Porto Exit Games: Lost Memories [Review]

exit_whiteLocation: Porto Exit Games, near the Old City, Porto, Portugal 

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

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 8; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 8.5

Requirements:

  • 2-5 players
  • Acute senses
  • Full mobility

The year is 2147. In the (hopefully) fictional scenario created by Exit Games, any physical contact between humans is prohibited and life is more virtual than real. Leisure, tourism and cultural activities are also prohibited. But there is no online relief either: the internet is controlled by the governments and all information dating before 2028 is unknown by present generations.

You and your friends are trying to find out about secret organizations that still maintain ancient knowledge from times when people could enjoy themselves – and maybe join them. One of their hubs is said to be located in the city of Porto. Can you enter their hideout and not have your brain fried by all the colourful, blinking information about the past?

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Porto Exit Games: Port Wine Sabotage [Review]

exit_whiteLocation: Porto Exit Games, near the Old City, Porto, Portugal 

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

Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 5.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8

Requirements:

  • Basic English or Portuguese
  • 2-8 players
  • Acute senses

How can we talk about the city of Porto without mentioning Port wine (‘vinho do Porto’)? Although produced and exported for longer than history remembers, Port wines started being labeled like that in the 1700s, in recognition and protection of Porto, and the Douro River region, as one of the main exporters of wine in the world at the time. We had the pleasure to try some of the local products, and they were simply fabulous.

It’s no wonder a escape venue would devise a plot involving the city’s most famous export. In Port Wine Sabotage, at Exit Games, the Douro River region was affected by a plague of insects and one fourth of all the wine stock was lost. There is a risk that all the production of the wineries will be damaged, ruining the lives of thousands of people. Your team plays private investigators entering the office of a suspect winery investor who may be linked to the disaster, and you have one hour to find out evidence against him.

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Escape Challenge Porto: The Journalist [Review]

escchallenge-logo_pequenoLocation: Escape Challenge Porto, Lapa, Porto, Portugal 

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

Creativity: 5.5; Difficulty: 5; Atmosphere: 5.5; Fun: 7

Requirements:

  • Basic English or Portuguese
  • 2-6 players
  • Acute senses

In a time when we have to be alert for fake news, Escape Challenge created a plot in which a freelancer journalist loses his credibility when his invented texts are uncovered. Desperate, José Silva snaps and starts kidnapping groups of people and so that he could write real news about their disappearances. You and your friends were some of the unlucky victims of this lunatic and must try to escape as quickly as possible. You suspect that “kidnapping” may not be enough to sell a story to newspapers and José is willing to try something more horrendous.

The Journalist was the first escape game built in Porto city. Although it might not be considered innovative these days, it is still a properly done game, and a good way to introduce new players to escape rooms. Escape Challenge Porto has also been run by the very enthusiastic designer and gamemaster Carlos.

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The Mystery Rooms: Chapter 3 – The Last Stand [Review]

mystery-headerlogoLocation: The Mystery Rooms, Fitzroy (Melbourne), VIC, Australia

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

Creativity: 10Difficulty: 9; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 8.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 4-6 players
  • One player not colour blind

The search for the talisman of Courage is the background story for Mystery Room’s Chapter 3 – The Last Stand, in continuation of the adventures of Chapter 1 and Chapter 2. This room is based on a real character of Australian history: the bushranger Ned Kelly, famous for battling local authorities in an improvised suit of armour. (For readers not from Australia, bushrangers were outlaws of the outback in the 19th century). As mentioned in the company’s website, “whether viewed as a hero or villain, opinion is united that few would have had the courage to walk in his footsteps, fighting for his beliefs all the way towards his ultimate and perhaps inevitable demise.”

The talisman players must find is a green scarf awarded to Ned Kelly when he was 11 years old for saving a younger lad from drowning. This memento would be worn by Ned Kelly during his last stand at Glenrowan, Victoria, in 1880 and it is just prior to this event that players will find themselves transported to. The portal to the past remains open for one hour in which the talisman of Courage must be found!

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The Mystery Rooms: Chapter 2 – The Medieval Quest [Review]

mystery-headerlogoLocation: The Mystery Rooms, Fitzroy (Melbourne), VIC, Australia

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

Creativity: 10Difficulty: 7.5 to 8.5; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 9.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 4-6 players
  • One player not colour blind

In the second part of Mystery Room’s adventure to restore the separation between the real world and fantasy world, players are invited to join the Knights of the Round Table and discover what happened to the legendary sword, Excalibur. Chapter 2 – The Medieval Quest is a huge game set in Camelot,  and players must use Merlin’s magic to help King Arthur and recover Excalibur, a talisman for Strength.

Although it is called Chapter 2, Medieval Quest was the first game we played at Mystery Rooms. The three first chapters can be played in any order and the numbers are more of an indicative of “era” (older history first) and difficulty (easiest first). We ventured through Avalon with a couple of friends who were facing an escape room for the first time, and the four of us had a blast until the last thrilling seconds!

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