In Trapt’s Madhouse, players are accused of a murder and must exonerate themselves within one hour. Sounds like a typical escape room scenario right? What’s not usual is that this escape room is located in a supposedly haunted location – a 19th century homestead in the middle of nowhere in Point Cook, South Melbourne.
Whenever we travel, both Pa and I really enjoy going on tours about ghosts and ‘dark pasts’. If nothing else, they provide a means to understand the lesser known ‘street histories’ of places and give insights into the lives of normal people. Like city walking tours, they’re also really good at giving visitors a feel on how to navigate a city. While were were looking for ghost tours to do in Melbourne, we came across Trapt’s Madhouse. Our interest suitably piqued, we made the booking and drove down with two friends.
There is a serial killer spreading fear in Perth. As a special investigation team, you have been led to an apartment by an anonymous caller, tipping you off with the location of the elusive ‘HCK’, as your target is known. It had been 8 months since you last had a lead about him, so you cannot miss the opportunity. You arrive at the address; the door is slightly open. That’s never a good sign. Is his hostage still inside? Once you go check, the door slams. You are trapped! Now, before even thinking of catching the killer, you have to get out alive.
The Pursuit is recommended for up to four players, and that indication is correct. However, as we were meeting some very special friends (the Escape Room Hunters among them 😀 ), Time’s Up allowed us to play with five . How do you think our game went?
“Yup, many people enter here thinking it is actually a hotel”, said Patricia, one of the owners of Escape Hotel in Sao Paulo. It is easy to see why people get confused: the venue’s entrance resembles a hotel façade and even has a space for drop-off and taxis. Once inside, players talk to the receptionist at a concierge who will take them to the escape room they booked. The entire waiting area looks like the lobby of a legit fancy hotel – except that you book the rooms here per hour, and not to sleep.
This first impression of Escape Hotel was very good and the smooth transition from a hotel lobby area to the escape room helped create the atmosphere for the room we booked: Cena do Crime (“Crime Scene” in English). We almost expected a bellboy to bring our luggage!
A person was murdered inside the hotel and the family hired you to investigate in parallel with the police. But you will only have access to the crime scene for one hour, so hurry up!
You all wake up at the same time and don’t know what is happening. Why are you in a hospital? Why is it chaos outside? How did you get in? And hey, how do you get OUT? This was the situation we found ourselves in EscapeXperience’s Amnesia – a fast paced game where players have 60 minutes to remember who they are and to escape this mysterious predicament.
In this room, you actually know nothing about the story when you start. As you progress, however, you understand more and more about the situation you and your friends are in. You also realize you will have act fast or something bad will occur. However, will you figure out what to do in time?
Wow. Wow! What was this room? We were sent into a club called Burlesque to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. The 60 minutes we had to go undercover and make a break in the case were simply amazing.
The room was co-designed with the crew from Escape Room Melbourne (ERM), so we expected that Burlesque would be an immersive experience given ERM’s track record. However, what did come as a surprise was how sumptuously EscapeXperience decorated the escape room to create the beautiful setting of a decadent and cozy Roaring Twenties clubhouse. The numerous props and the music matched the atmosphere of the era and did not come across as tacky. Furniture, silverware, drinking glassware, gramophone, wigs…. All that jazz!
The beautiful way Burlesque is executed, along with the well blended puzzles and immersion experience gave us no doubt: we scored it 10 for both Creativity and Atmosphere – the first time we’ve rated a room with perfect scores in two categories.
A series of disappearances followed by the kidnapping of a little girl in a dark alley of Milan is the background story to The Tomb, certainly the darkest themed room we’ve played in months. As you progress in the game and investigate the area where she was last seen, the secrets and information that unfold will make the kind-hearted gasp.
Trap Milano created a large, intense and extremely well equipped room in The Tomb. The first area is a recreation of a dark alley with residences to explore, mailboxes, benches, trash bins. There is a lot to do, and playing with only two players, we ran out of time as we reached the final puzzle. So, grab a team of 4 or 5 before entering The Tomb. According to Trap, only 20% of groups manage to reach the end.
ParaPark’s story of Crime Scene ’95, according to their website, is one in which players have to investigate the site of a murder committed by a serial killer. At the briefing, however, we heard a much more interesting story.
We were told that wewere the killers and had to go back to Crime Scene ’95 to retrieve some incriminating evidence before the detectives show up in an hour. This turn of events actually suited the escape room far better!
A major diamond was stolen and players have one hour to find out who is the culprit. To do that, you will need to do some basic CSI forensics, access databases and, of course, solve some puzzles along the way.
As a forensics based game, CSI requires methodical searching. You start your game in an office with simple furniture, shelves and the normal equipment you find in a place like this. Do not rush and look at everything. Make sure a person in the group has eagle eyes, they will come handy!
Families that escape rooms together stays together, and my beautiful family and I (Pá) were ready to face a third challenge at Escape 60′ Vila Olímpia. This time we opted for the medium-difficulty Rescue Operation. The story is interesting: there is a serial killer in the city, and every night he murders someone at midnight. You were calm at home, until you found out that your cousin, who was visiting from out of town, disappeared. You rush to the hotel where she was last seen. It’s 11pm, so you and the police must hurry to find out what happened to her!
Of all the rooms we played at Escape 60′, Rescue Operation was my favourite. The flow of the game was excellent, puzzles were creative and there was enough for the five of us (mom, dad, sister, brother in law and me) to do. Do you think you would go nuts being locked in a room with your parents for one hour? Well, I’m lucky – I was raised by puzzle lovers! 😀
Game can be set to either English, Spanish or Italian. Once set, there is a lot of reading throughout the game.
Murder in the Train places players in a similar situation of a famous novel in which a murder happens in a certain famous train and you must solve it before it reaches the next stop, in one hour.
This room requires players to not only solve puzzles for the sake of getting more clues and opening up new areas, it also requires them solve an actual crime. Where? When? Who? How? Why? There are some very unique elements to this game and it is a good challenge for full teams.