Red Bull Mind Gamers – Escape Room World Championship

redbullThe Red Bull Escape Room World Championship in Budapest ended after weeks in full swing! Readers from Essa’s Intervirals  probably knew that the finals were going t happen this weekend, when 24 teams from all around the world competed for the title.

If you missed it (maybe because the transmissions were at 6am of a Sunday!), Red Bull has uploaded the finals here. It was a crazy dispute between Ukraine and Slovenia – we won´t say more than that! You can find more details on what happened on Red Bull TV’s Facebook page.

Do you think you could have done it? Then test yourself with the Red Bull puzzle games used during the wildcard entrant selection phase here. Wanna try the puzzles from the final? Here is the online version. Some of them do not seem the hardest thing in the world if you are playing from the comfort of your room… But we cannot imagine how it felt for the teams to do it live to the world!

Now that this is all over, head over here to hear what the UK team had to say about their experiences.


The GCHQ Puzzle Book [Review]

logo-4Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Cryptic puzzles, decryption.
Year released: 2016
Difficulty: 7 to 10.

The British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is UK’s signals intelligence agency. They are also the proud inheritors of a legacy spanning all the way back to World War 2 when their predecessors from the Government Code & Cypher School, then located in Bletchley Park, spearheaded Allied efforts to break German military encryption enabled by Enigma machines.

img_9309The people in this field, as exemplified by those such as Alan Turing, were intelligent, driven, determined and sometimes considered misfits of their time. They certainly provided a juxtaposed archetype of the British Spy, who is normally stereotyped as a suave action hero (martinis shaken not stirred). It should perhaps be no surprise then that GCHQ would launch a puzzle book. Apparently their workforce loves solving puzzles. Who would’ve thought?

Last Christmas, Pa and I bought a copy to try out and see just how the brains of these people tick.

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BreakOut: Trapped in My Own Mind [Review]

logo-bigLocation: BreakOut, near Chinatown, Singapore

Date completed:  September 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping (with extra time).

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 8 (for two people, less with more); Atmosphere: 4.5; Fun: 8.5.


  • Very basic English
  • 2-8 players (we recommend 4-5)

Imagine how tiring it would be if every night you had the same dreams, filled with puzzles that do not let your mind rest. To break this cycle of being Trapped in My Own Mind, we took a more proactive approach to the problem by deciding to solve all the puzzles so they wont spin my brain anymore!

This scenario for an escape room is the result of a partnership between Singaporean companies BreakOut and Nomis Piy. Although Trapped in My Own Mind does not have a strong plot, it is a great puzzle room. The game is filled with a myriad of challenges to solve that range from the cute and easy to the mind-boggling, so there is something for everyone!

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Orz Escape: Secret Invitation [Review]

orzLocation: Orz Escape, Melbourne CBD, VIC, Australia

Date completed:  April 2016 (5 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 9.5; Atmosphere: 5; Fun: 7.5.


  • Intermediate English
  • Good numeracy and mathematics
  • 3-6 players
  • 45min room

A Secret Invitation has been given for your investigation team to an abandoned laboratory connected with a serial killer. The team moves in quickly and somewhere along the way, things go awry. There are 45 minutes to escape the predicament.

After confronting evil clowns in the Vanished Carnivale and an odd Endless Dream at Orz Escape, we took up the Secret Invitation to find out more about this serial killer.

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Escape Room 51: Escape Room 51 [Review]

logo51Location: Escape Room 51, Penrith (Sydney), NSW, Australia

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

Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 6; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 7.5.


  • Intermediate English
  • 2-6 players

It was just another day at the Mystic Hotel, until a bomb threat was unveiled. You are part of the bomb squad and have one hour to disarm the bomb. The big problem is: where is it? Your wits will be your best ally in this mission!

Escape Room 51 is located in Penrith, approximately 1 hour’s drive from Sydney city centre, but near other radical adventures: sky dive simulators, go kart races and jet skis. It was just a matter of time until the first escape room popped up in the area – and the mind behind it is surprisingly young!

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Stranger Things: Kotaku Australia online puzzle hunt

logoEdit note: This post has been edited as the puzzle competition ended on 11 Aug.

Location: Kotaku Australia
Launch date: 19 July 2016
Ended: 11 August 2016

One of our friends recently alerted us to a team up between Kotaku Australia  and Enigma Room from Sydney where they released six puzzles from 19 July to 6 August to promote Netflix’s new series Stranger Things. People who solved the ‘final boss’ metapuzzle had a chance to win $6000 worth of prizes from Netflix.

This was an interesting series of puzzles which included a mixture of basic encryption, observation and knowledge of computer games, particularly those from Nintendo, to break through the layers. The third puzzle was particularly punishing. All of them combined reminded me more of ‘easy’ level puzzles found in hacker challenges like those from DEFCON rather than the sort you see in an escape room.

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Puzzle Room Brazil: Upside Down Room [Review]

puzzleroomLocation: Puzzle Room Brazil, Praça da Árvore district, São Paulo (SP), Brazil

Date completed: June 2016 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 8.5


  • Fluent English or Portuguese
  • 2-6 players
  • At least one player with good eyesight


Called Inverso do Universo (Inverse of the Universe) in Portuguese, the Upside Down Room has a simple but effective premise – in this escape room, everything is upside down! Players have 60 minutes to break through nine planetary gates to restore everything to normal and turn the world back to the right way up.

Looking at puzzles from a different angle is absolutely necessary and literal in this place!

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