PAX Australia 2016 Panel: The Past, Present and Future of Live Action Escape Games [Commentary]

Location: PAX Australia 2016, Melbourne Convention Centre, VIC
When: 6 November 2016
Panel: Joan (Labyrinth), Jesse (Riddle Room), Matt (Enigma Room), Tom (Cubescape), Robert (Pop Up Playground)

After completing an escape room marathon in Melbourne, we rushed from Xcapade to PAX Australia 2016 to hear about ‘The Past, Present and Future of Live Action Escape Games ‘. There was a solid turnout from the audience and given that this was the very last panel of the event, it was very encouraging to see. Another positive sign was that, different from last year, most of the audience had experience with escape rooms as well. Upwards and onwards for the Australian live escape game industry!

The main areas discussed by the panel mainly revolved around the future of the industry and how technology could affect it in the coming years. We’ve taken the liberty to sum up some of the key points below.

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Labyrinth Escape Rooms: Mexican Cartel [Beta Test Review]

LabyrinthLocation: Labyrinth Escape Room, Parramatta (Sydney), NSW, Australia

Date completed:  July 2016 (3 players). Success! The Boss is safe! We have the drugs and guns!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 9.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-8 players
  • 1 team member with full mobility

Ever fancy yourself a member of an organised criminal syndicate? In this exciting escape room from Labyrinth, players take on the role of hardcore enforcers from a Mexican Cartel.  A deal has gone South and the players make their way to a safehouse with a stash. However, trouble follows and a rival cartel ambushes the players at the location, capturing them there. Players have one hour to break out from captivity, retrieve the passport of the boss and escape before the rival cartel members return to execute them in grisly ways.

We were recently invited by Labyrinth to trial Mexican Cartel. After excellent experiences with Insane Asylum and Mad Scientist, we were very curious as to what Labyrinth had to offer! After all, the Mexican drug war isn’t something you normally see for the setting of an escape room. We have certainly never heard of the setting being used before. Mafia? Criminal heists? Sure. Something that reminded me of the movie Sicario? That’s new. We weren’t disappointed either.

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Labyrinth Escape Rooms: Mad Scientist [Review]

LabyrinthLocation: Labyrinth Escape Roooms, Parramatta (Sydney), NSW, Australia

Date completed:  Apr 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

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

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players.

Mad Scientist has designed a elixir which can bring the dead back to life. The government is on his tracks and wants to claim the elixir for military purposes! We’ve been sent into the Scientist’s lab to retrieve this precious commodity before the government agents arrive in an hour. It would seem that we’re on the side of the Scientist and this led us to think ‘Government gets elixir, weaponised zombies. Mad Scientist gets it back, that’ll probably result in zombies too’. Either way…. Go team zombie!

Having had an excellent time in our previous play through of Labyrinth Escape Rooms’ Insane Asylum,  Pa and I had been planning to return for a while to try Mad Scientist. Luckily, we were able to do so recently and what a room!

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Labyrinth Escape Rooms: Insane Asylum [Review]

LabyrinthLocation: Labyrinth Escape Room, Parramatta (Sydney), NSW, Australia

Date completed:  Nov 2015 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 8.5.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players.

We had not heard about Labyrinth Escape Rooms until another venue in Sydney recommended them as having good quality puzzles. We decided to give it a try and called them. Joan, one of the gamemasters and owners, managed to book us for a spot on the same day. The available room was Insane Asylum, a game where players assist an asylum solve why strange things are happening. It happens to be the eve of the 70th anniversary of a breakout…

Puzzles and setting are great in Insane Asylum. It has a good mix of logic and hands-on activities, well crafted props along with cleverly done simple ones. It also requires many different abilities. Do you have steady hands? Good observation? And most important of all: are you afraid of the dark? Different answers will give you different experiences, probably all good.

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