Riddle Room: The Bomb Defusal [Beta Test Review]

Location: Riddle Room, Mitchell (North side Canberra), ACT, Australiariddleroomlogo

Date completed: Jan 2017 (2 players). Test successful, bomb improved!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.


  • Fluent English
  • 2-6 players
  • One team member not colour blind
  • Acute senses
  • 35min room
  • Not recommended for first time players

We may be at the edge of incurable, as escape room enthusiasts. The other day, we were home late at night after a tough day at work, in pajamas, after shower, and saw a little post on Facebook: “Would anyone be able to test an escape room now?” In 5 min we were awake, properly dressed and driving down to Riddle Room in Canberra. Nothing else mattered – there was a bomb to be disarmed!

Bomb Defusal is a 35min game with a straightforward story: you are agents of the bomb squad and a device was located. You must enter the location and use the right tools and techniques to avoid the destruction of the city. This game starts the moment you enter Riddle Room’s venue – locating your defusal kit and the room with the bomb is actually part of your mission!

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Xcapade: Project Indigo [Review]

xcapade_logoLocation: Xcapade, Fairfield, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed:  November 2016 (2 players). Uncovered the mystery, but failed to escape!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 8.5 ; Atmosphere: 8.5; Fun: 8.5


  • Intermediate English
  • 2-6 players

In the third part of Xcapade’s escape room trilogy, the story concludes by tying together the mystery surrounding the missing journalist Sherlock from Apartment 73 and the morbid experiments of Dr. Frank from Laboratorium

The search for Sherlock continued and finally lead us to an old office belonging to Project Indigo, a covert ‘X-Files’ arm of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). For our overseas readers, ASIO is the equivalent of MI-5 (UK), DGSE (France), BND (Germany) and kinda like the FBI combined with the Department of Homeland Security (US).

Unfortunately for us, the office was rigged with a self destruct mechanism and we had only one hour to find uncover the mystery once and for all.

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Xcapade: Apartment 73 [Review]

xcapade_logoLocation: Xcapade, Fairfield, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

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

Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 6; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 8.5.


  • Intermediate English
  • One team member not colour blind
  • 2-6 players

As avid readers, old-school nerds and RPG players, Trapspringer and I really appreciate a good story. This fact is no exception for escape rooms: we tend to prefer those that make you feel like part of a narrative. When we found out about how all of Xcapade’s rooms are part of a larger plot, we had to try it!

We started by playing their easy-level game, Apartment 73. A journalist friend of yours, called Sherlock, has not been in touch for a while. He was busy investigating something for his newspaper, The Argus, and so you decide to stop by his place to see how he’s doing. Getting there, the door to Apartment 73 is open, as if he was waiting for you… but no! The door slams behind you! The race is on to find out what happened to Sherlock and to get out, because something weird is going on!

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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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Escape One: Bomb! [Review]

logoescapeoneLocation: Escape One, Corrego Grande district, Florianopolis, Brazil

Date completed:  December 2016 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 5.5; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 7; Fun: 7.5.


  • Fluent Portuguese
  • 3-8 players

Most people who have heard of the paradise city Florianopolis, an island in the South of Brazil, know for its amazing 42 beaches and great seafood. It is a popular destination for Brazilians and other South Americans, who crowd the place during summer. But what to do when it rains? For many years the obvious answer was to go to the shopping centres, but not anymore! “Floripa”, as it is called by the locals, got its own escape rooms in late 2016!

I (Pá) got together with the best escape parents in the world (my own! :D) to tackle the rooms in Escape One. In the first room, we had to enter a historical building closed for decades to disarm a Bomb! installed by the terrorist group F.A.T.O. Our mission followed an unsuccessful attempt by another agent, who perished but managed to leave some clues behind. Floripa is too pretty to explode, so we really had to work hard!

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BreakOut: The French Connection [Review]

logo-bigLocation: BreakOut, near Chinatown, Singapore

Date completed:  September 2016 (2 players). Failed to stop the bombing!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 9.5; Atmosphere: 4; Fun: 5.


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

Following a series of what appear to be terrorist attacks on major cities around the world, the source of the mayhem has been tracked to a Paris-based organisation called the ‘White Society’. To investigate The French Connection, Pa and I infiltrated their hideout and had one hour to find out evidence of any wrongdoing and uncover where there next attack may be.

As escape rooms go, BreakOut certainly does a good job of developing hard puzzles and French Connection has a respectable sequence of intricate ones. At the same time, its intricacy highlighted how setting and game design have to be well balanced to maintain player engagement.

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Pop Up Playground: Small Time Criminals [Review]

stcLocation: Small Time Criminals, Preston, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Date completed:  November 2016 (5 players). Raided $1.5 million worth of loot!

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


  • 2-6 players
  • Fluent English

Ever want to rob a bank? This is the very simple premise behind Pop Up Playground‘s massively immersive heist game, Small Time Criminals. Having wanted to play this for ages, we recently kickstarted an escape room marathon by taking in a team of five to raid the very questionable firm Eureka Futures. Think Ocean’s Eleven and the Italian Job.

Is this game actually a escape room? Not really. But labels are not important here. It has a story, puzzles, tasks to perform and a lot to explore. Let your raider side take flight and avoid the security guard!

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