We never expected that a game emulating a break-in into one of Pablo Escobar‘s stash houses would be simple. For almost 20 years, the narco-terrorist evaded the Colombian police and international authorities, until he was cornered by the Search Bloc and killed in a shootout just after his 44th birthday. Esconderijo de Escobar (‘Escobar’s Hideout’, in Portuguese) hosted a truckload of layered puzzled which we needed to solve in 60 minutes if we were to have any hope of gathering incriminating evidence against this historic villain.
The stash house looked like a normal apartment, at least initially. But hidden places and objects were all around us – time to think like Peña and Murphy (from the Netflix series Narcos) and find out where the ‘products’ were!
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?
No language required; briefing/hints in English, Spanish (Castillian) or Galego
One player not colourblind
The Camino do Santiago, known as the ‘Way of Saint James’ in English, has for centuries been a significant pilgrimage for the Catholic faith. The traditional path (as there are more than one) crosses the entirety of Spain and ends at the huge Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in Galicia. The popularity of the Camino has risen again in recent years, in no small part due to the movie The Way starring Martin Sheen. Now, all manner of people of various faiths (or none) from around the world can be found walking the various treks all year round. Back in April, Pá and I completed 187km of the Portuguese route for the Camino. After having some time to digest the journey, we ventured to a Camino-themed escape room. It was the appropriate thing to do.
Located in a city where the legend of Saint James (Santiago, in Spanish) lives in every corner, Gallaecia Fugit did a great job in creating a room based on the local lore. In Reliquias del Apóstol, the archbishop of Santiago was kidnapped by a group that seeks a precious relic from the apostle St. James. The religious man had time to hide it, and your mission is to retrieve the item before it gets lost forever…
What happens to toys when we do not play with them anymore? When they are in boxes, waiting to be donated, given to someone else, or worse, forgotten in some attic or garage? Toy Story certainly springs to mind. In Little Playful Things, you and your friends are a group of old toys that refuse to retire (or are not allowed to)! Under the command of stage manager Alfie, a very creepy ventriloquist puppet, you have to organise a performance in the toy shed. Willingly or not, you must show your talents, because this show will determine how you will spend the rest of your toy days!
Although it sounds a bit scary (because old toys have that ‘aura’ around them), Little Playful Things is not a scary room and can be played even for those that dislike frightening themes.
If you are a real state agent with paranormal skills, would it be ethical to sell a house that you know is haunted? Trapspringer and I often discuss hypothetical scenarios, and that one once came to the table while we were visiting some allegedly haunted places during ghost tours in Victoria. (Btw, our answer, independent of belief, was “no, try to solve the ghost issue first”).
To our complete surprise – and somewhat amusement – an escape room in Dandenong created a game with the exact same premise! In Time is Key’s Bradshaw Manor, a family wants to sell an old house but are having doubts, as they believe the place may house the ghosts of former owners. You play the paranormal investigators hired to find out if their fears are real or not, before the place goes into auction. Without spoiling the end, I’ll just say I had the biggest jump scare of my escape history within the walls of Bradshaw Manor.
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.
If you have ever been to a big amusement park, such as Universal Studios or Disney World, you have probably been to those rides full of animatronics, sounds, lights and things moving around you. Curse of the Mummy feels like that – as if you had just entered a movie set or one of those “Disney World-esque” places. It is beautiful. The attention to detail is amazing. It was so much fun! Do not be fooled by Realmz’s simple entrance door! Once you step into the tomb, you will probably be surprised by your surroundings.
Then you ask “ok, but what’s the deal?” The deal is that in ancient times, a particular pharaoh was not allowed to complete his transcendence to the other world after death. Those who manage to bring back honour to this pharaoh’s name and complete the trip into the afterlife “shall be granted wealth and power beyond their wildest imaginations”. Sounds good! However, those who fail must perish inside his eternal tomb. Not so good…
With only one hour to find a secret map containing the location of Da Vinci’s never before seen inventions, players are thrust into a race against a nefarious evil power who also seeks to gain this most prestigious and mysterious of prizes.
Da Vinci’s Secrets is Expedition Escape Room’s fast paced adaptation of RUSH’s Da Vinci Down Underfrom Melbourne, albeit with minor alterations.
We recently took advantage of a limited time discount deal with Expedition to revisit this escape room and see how Canberra’s newest escape venue performed. We were not disappointed!
Note: Unravel unfortunately closed it’s doors for the last time in November 2016.
In Unravel, players take on the role of a private detective Kai and his team to tackle mysteries and horrors inspired by Singapore’s history and folklore. Pá and I have always liked the idea of escape rooms based on local stories so this venue piqued our interest.
In The Wish, the grandson of a man named Lim requests Kai’s assistance to locate the family heirloom, which was taken from his grandfather by the invading Japanese forces during World War 2. Word has it that the Japanese stored valuables in a secret chamber of an automotive factory where Lim worked. Players have one hour to locate the heirloom and get it to the grandson in time for Lim’s 91st birthday.
We found ourselves applying for a position with an old fashioned toyshop named Mr. Keller’s Magic Emporium, where Mr. Keller had left us with a series of tasks and puzzles to solve in one hour. The door locked behind us and we were treated to a shopfront that was odd and looked like it belonged to the turn of the 20th century.
If the description for this room sounds somewhat familiar for readers who have been following this blog for some time, it should. Escape Room Melbourne (ERM) have licensed one of their more successful games out to Escape Room Canberra (ERC), a new escape room venue which opened the start of this month in Australia’s capital. This adaption from Escape Rooms Canberra is as enjoyable as the original, with some special flavour. Read on to find out how!