Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Review of ClockLocked - Da Vinci Theme

My group of friends (2 guys and 2 ladies in our mid 30s) checked out ClockLocked in November, not long after it had opened.  We found a scoopon for $15 per person, so it was too good to pass up (in fact I bought 2 vouchers for everyone in my group, so we will be going back to to try their Dexter room).

The atmosphere there is pretty cool.  When you arrive, you sit down in a waiting room and are given instructions on the rooms.  

Our group did the Da Vinci theme.  This was the third escape room that my group had done (although my wife and I have done others overseas).  First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about ClockLocked's Da Vinci theme:

  • it was well run - they utilised an iPad for the delivery of hints throughout the escape, which was really useful (and the best system I have seen so far across all of the escape outfits in Sydney);
  • the theming was really well done;
  • the atmosphere in the warm up room was really good (although at times it was really hot and stifling in the escape room itself); and
  • the quality of most of the puzzles and challenges in the room was really good and were the right level of difficulty.

Now, for what could be improved:
  • it is tricky to find (and get into).  We were the first group of the day and when we arrived, we couldn't access the building.  However, the owner did however come down and let us in so all was well - I think they definitely need signage downstairs though;
  • one of the puzzles in particular contained an error (in my humble opinion).  I have thought about this afterwards (and have tried to be objective about it) and have discussed it with our group.  We all genuinely think that one of the elements of the puzzle is wrong (I won't go into this too much so as not to spoil it, but if towards the end of the escape you find yourself scratching your head, then ask for lots of clues because without them, it's pretty tricky).  This particular puzzle could be clarified very simply and this would remove the ambiguity;
  • we gave some feedback immediately after our escape about this puzzle and were told that we weren't the first people to raise our issues about that particular puzzle.  This confirmed for me that the puzzle should be changed to remove this issue - a very simple tweak would make all of the difference); and
  • this particular puzzle was made more difficult by the fact that it was linked to a safe that had a code that had to be entered.  What we didn't know was that if you enter the wrong code 3 times, the safe jams for 5 minutes and won't let you try any more codes during that time.  I think it would have been better if players are warned about this before trying codes (or better yet, if a different safe were used which doesn't lock you out after 3 incorrect guesses); and
  • there were also some accessibility issues in the escape room.  Again I won't spoil anything, but different access points in the room were way smaller than they needed to be (and I honestly think this would mean that many people (larger people, older people and disabled people) wouldn't be able to play this room, which is a real shame (and completely unnecessary).

Over all, for $15 per person, we definitely got our money's worth (although if I'm being completely honest, this particular puzzle put a downer on our over all experience).  It's a real shame too because otherwise, I would have scored this room probably a 4 out of 5 because everything else was done very well.  

We will be back in January to try out Dexter, which we are really looking forward to. 

[I note that we did this room when ClockLocked had just opened, so some of the above issues that we had might have been rectified by now].

Where:                    Suite 101, Level 5, 330 Wattle Street, Ultimo 

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 2 themes (although I understand a third "Cleopatra room is planned)

Cost:                       $30 each (4 players) (But watch out for coupons - we got 50% off )

Overall Rating:      3.5 out of 5 stars

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