In the bustling streets of Sydney, Australia, a legendary team was born amidst laughter, camaraderie, and the thrill of adventure. For over 15 years, Josh, Kyle, Simon, and Luke had been inseparable friends, their bond forged through shared experiences and a mutual love for the unknown.

Sunday 14 April 2024

Room #29 Scram Escape Rooms: Motel of Madness


Date:
14/04/2024

Company Name:
Scram Escape Rooms

Room:
Motel of Madness

Cost:
$60 per person (Team of 3)

Time Allowed: 60 Minutes

Website Link: 
https://www.scramescaperooms.com.au/macquariepark

Location: 
2/119 Wicks Rd, Macquarie Park NSW 2113

Best Parking:
On-site parking

Succeeded:
Yes with approximately 8 minutes remaining

Rating: 

  • Hospitality/Gamesmaster: 7
  • Room Quality: 6
  • Immersion: 6
  • Puzzle Design: 6 
  • Fun Factor: 6
Overall: 6.20/10

Room Description: 
You and your team are on a road trip when a terrible storm hits. You decide to find accommodation for the night, but only one bed and breakfast is available in the area.
It is an unusual venue and the host makes it very clear that you're not to go exploring past any red doors.

But what do you do... you go exploring... And this bed and breakfast makes it very hard to go back.


Comments:
Motel of Madness was the second and final room our usual team, minus one member, tackled at the Scram Venue in Macquarie Park. This also marked the team's 29th room and my 33rd overall. As previously mentioned in our review of Murder in the Mob, this room notably deviated from the typical Scram-style rooms that we have grown to appreciate.

Throughout our experience in Motel of Madness, we found a noticeable absence of a strong, cohesive story. We were simply advised, "Don't go through the red door," with little consequence attached. The puzzles felt somewhat disjointed, requiring us to backtrack through rooms we had already explored, but they definitely pushed us to think more deeply than usual. While the set design was aesthetically pleasing and captured the desired vibe, the lack of a consistent narrative made it challenging to fully immerse ourselves in the experience.

Fortunately, we had the same Gamesmaster as earlier in the day, ensuring we were in capable hands. However, we did encounter a slight hiccup towards the end. Despite completing the majority of puzzles, we found ourselves missing one crucial item needed to escape. Our Gamesmaster handled the situation professionally, offering assistance and even providing us with a 10% discount voucher for our next Scram visit.

Overall, Motel of Madness ranked as our least favourite of the three rooms at the Macquarie venue. Nevertheless, our group still appreciated the enjoyable time and hospitality provided by Scram.

Room #28 Scram Escape Rooms: Murder in the Mob


Date:
14/04/2024

Company: Scram Escape Rooms

Room: Murder in the Mob

Cost:
$60 per person (Team of 3)

Time Allowed: 60 Minutes

Website Link: https://www.scramescaperooms.com.au/macquariepark

Location: 2/119 Wicks Rd, Macquarie Park NSW 2113

Best Parking:
On-Site parking available

Succeeded:
Yes with approximately 8 minutes remaining

Rating: 

  • Hospitality/Gamesmaster: 7
  • Room Quality: 7
  • Immersion: 8
  • Puzzle Design: 6 
  • Fun Factor: 8
Overall: 7.20/10

Room Description: 
In an attempt to gain power over the city's underworld, you and your fellow gang members have broken into the hideout of the Castello gang and executed a hit on several key mobsters.

After your escape, you realise that you've dropped your glove, which could lead police straight to you! Go back, get the evidence, get out.


Comments:
Our team, minus one member, lined up for our remaining two rooms at Scram's Macquarie Branch. After being thoroughly impressed with our earlier encounter of The Witching Hour and considering Scram's solid reputation for providing high-quality rooms, we were beyond excited.

Our understanding was that Murder in the Mob was a room inherited from the previously owned Parapark and had undergone some tweaking. Nevertheless, it proved to be a solid room. The theming was spot on, maintaining a clear story as we progressed through the room, and the puzzles mostly aligned with the overarching theme. There was one particular puzzle that posed a challenge, requiring someone fairly tall or flexible on the team to navigate effectively. With Josh's contortion skills, we eventually managed to crack it. This puzzle was the only one we needed a hint for, but with the three of us working together, we successfully escaped with about 8 minutes left on the clock.

Despite the enjoyable experience, there was a subtle feeling that Murder in the Mob didn't quite have the distinctive "Scram-like" essence, which may be difficult to articulate but could be understood by those who have completed numerous rooms across Scram's venues, particularly at Church Street and Penrith. Our Gamesmaster added to the fun and welcoming atmosphere, and the pre-room lobby provided ample space and comfort. All in all, Murder in the Mob proved to be another enjoyable addition to Scram's repertoire.

Sunday 7 April 2024

Room #27 Expedition Escape Rooms: Mission: Identity


Date:
07/04/2024

Company Name: Expedition Escape Rooms

Room: Mission: Identity

Cost: $55 per person (Team of 4)

Time Allowed: 60 Minutes

Website Link: https://www.expeditionsydney.com.au/gladesville

Location: U23b/33-37 College St, Gladesville NSW 2111

Best Parking: On-site parking available

Succeeded: Yes with approx 10 mins remaining

Rating: 
  • Hospitality/Gamesmaster: 7
  • Room Quality: 6
  • Immersion: 5
  • Puzzle Design: 6
  • Fun Factor: 7
Overall: 6.20/10

Room Description: 
You have realised that your whole life and purpose as elite Section 9 agents has been a lie. To uncover your true identities and Section 9's darkest secrets you have evaded all security to Section 9's top secret underground facility. There lay the answers you seek. However.. Section 9 agents are searching for you. It is only a matter of time. This is your last chance. 

Can you expose the lies and escape with your lives?


Comments:
Our team spontaneously decided to tackle an Escape Room on short notice. With two of our four members having previously enjoyed Sabotage the Enigma from Expedition Escape, we opted for Mission: Identity. Upon entering the lobby, we were impressed by its charming antique vibe and ambient lighting. Our Gamesmaster was courteous and allowed us to begin early, as the previous team had just finished and we were eager to dive in.

While the room boasted a variety of puzzles and locks that seemed to align with the theme, I found the story to be somewhat lacking. We received a brief debriefing upon entering the room, but from there, it felt like a series of puzzle-solving tasks without much narrative depth. Towards the end, the experience began to feel somewhat repetitive. Despite this, the room was packed with content for a single room, and our team remained fully engaged throughout, staying busy with the multitude of challenges presented to us.

Overall, we had an enjoyable time, and given our positive experiences with Sabotage, we're eager to explore more offerings from the Expedition Escape outfit.

Friday 22 March 2024

Room #26 Next Level Escape: The Artefact


Date: 
22/03/2024

Company Name: Next Level Escape

Room: The Artefact

Cost: $55 per person (Team of 4)

Time Allowed: 75 Minutes

Website Link: https://www.nextlevelescape.com.au/rooms/artefact/

Location: Lower Ground, 23 O'Connell St, Sydney, NSW 2000

Best Parking: Wilson Parking - 2 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW 2000 (On the corner of Kent St. just before turning onto Phillip Lane)

Succeeded: Yes with about 16 minutes remaining.

Rating: 
  • Hospitality/Gamesmaster: 9
  • Room Quality: 8
  • Immersion: 8
  • Puzzle Design: 8 
  • Fun Factor: 9
Overall: 8.40/10

Room Description: 
Your team of investigators has been conscripted by the CIA to investigate an alien artefact they’ve discovered. Sure, the artefact is doing strange things, but you’ll have a non-malevolent, smart-ass AI to help you out. What could possibly go wrong?


Comments:
The Artefact was the second room our team of four tackled that night, and the 187 Escape Artists were still buzzing from our recent completion of End of the Road. After grabbing a satisfying meal at Stacked (just around the corner), we were fuelled up and ready to dive in. Our Gamesmaster, Stuart, took on the persona of the cheeky AI Bot HAL, leading us on our next adventure.

We started off a bit sluggish—I blame the hearty dinner we indulged in—but around 10-15 minutes in, we found our momentum and began making significant progress. While the room initially felt a bit bottlenecked, once we hit our stride, we surged ahead and finished with a strong flourish, escaping with about 16 minutes left on the clock.

As always, the Gamesmaster played a crucial role in our experience, and in The Artefact, Stuart was no exception. We had a blast, sharing moments of pure hilarity as we danced, sang, celebrated, and laughed together. The theming was top-notch, and the puzzles posed a satisfying challenge, even for a semi-experienced team. The high-tech elements in this particular theme at Next Level were executed brilliantly, but they also cleverly incorporated some low-tech puzzles that seamlessly fit the theme.

Next Level consistently delivers immersive and well-designed experiences, and we're already looking forward to our next visit to this exceptional establishment.

Room #25 Next Level Escape: End of the Road


Date:
22/03/2024

Company Name: Next Level Escape

Room: End of the Road

Cost: $55 per person (Team of 4)

Time Allowed: 75 Minutes

Website Link: https://www.nextlevelescape.com.au/rooms/end-of-the-road/

Location: Lower Ground, 23 O'Connell St, Sydney, NSW 2000

Best Parking: Wilson Parking - 2 Chifley Square, Sydney NSW 2000 (On the corner of Kent St. just before turning onto Phillip Lane)

Succeeded: Yes with about 26 minutes remaining.

Rating: 
  • Hospitality/Gamesmaster: 9
  • Room Quality: 8
  • Immersion: 8
  • Puzzle Design: 7 
  • Fun Factor: 10
Overall: 8.40/10

Room Description: 
You’re the new recruits the guys plucked from the city, to accompany the transport containing a cure for the zombie outbreak, right?

…right?

Well, it’s fine if you’re not competent. Your one job is to guard the ingredients and the cure synthesiser with your life like the cannon fodder… uh, brave survivors, that you are! It should be an easy first mission, all you need to do is hop into the transport and ensure everything gets to the outpost. You’ll probably be in the 0.05% of rookies who return. Just don’t get infected along the way, and you should be just fine*.
*The team makes zero promises about this.


Comments:
End of the Road is Next Level Escapes' newest room, and true to form, they never fail to impress. On a beautiful Friday night, it was our team's first of two rooms at Next Level, marking the 25th for the team and the 28th for me personally. Our Gamesmaster, Zac or Simon (one of whom was in training), set the stage before we entered the room, picking us up from the elevator already in character. His performance was absolutely fantastic, and we thoroughly enjoyed how well he embodied his role.

At Next Level, we've come to expect that the Gamesmaster isn't just there to observe and guide; they're integral to enhancing the entire experience. Despite being their first day on the job, our Gamesmaster was phenomenal, exceeding our expectations with their performance.

The room made excellent use of the available space. Despite being designated as a 75-minute experience, our team was exceptionally sharp tonight, managing to complete it in just 48 minutes. There was a wealth of activities to keep us engaged from start to finish. The theming was outstanding, with every puzzle and lock seamlessly fitting into the environment, ensuring a fully immersive experience. It's important to highlight that while the room may cater to newer escape room enthusiasts, it certainly shouldn't deter those with more experience. There was always a task or challenge available for each team member, maintaining engagement throughout. Once again, Next Level has proven itself with another top-notch, high-quality room.