Monday, 19 January 2015

Review of The Mystery Puzzle - The Pirate Adventure

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out The Mystery Puzzle's 'The Pirate Adventure' room in January 2015. This was our seventh escape room in Sydney over all.

The building is easy to find but there is no access without a security pass.  So I had to call a mobile number and they then came down and took us up to their reception room.  We were then given a briefing and we took some photos wearing some lovely pirate outfits.

They currently have two rooms, The Pirate Adventure and The Casino Revenge Thriller.  I understand that they have 2 identical Pirate Adventure rooms (which cater for larger corporate groups), although I'm not sure if they have more than one Casino Revenge Thriller room.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about The Pirate Adventure at The Mystery Puzzle:
  • it was fun!  The dress ups before the escape was fun and the guys running this place seemed to really enjoy what they are doing;
  • they describe themselves on their website as "Sydney's Biggest Real Life Escape Room".  I'm not sure if this is quite correct, but The Pirate Adventure is big (plenty big enough to accommodate groups of 6 or more people);
  • the theming was pretty good -  the props were good and generally suited the theming; and
  • the puzzles all worked well, which is always nice.

As for some of the negatives with The Pirate Adventure at The Mystery Puzzle, whilst we had fun, my honest feedback is that:

  • the room is too easy over all.  We escaped with 22 minutes left on the clock and we were told that this was the average escape time for all players.  We also got stuck on not finding some items (which was completely our fault!).  But if we had found those items straight away, we would have escaped in around 25 to 30 minutes in total. This is too short and there should definitely be at least another 3 or 4 puzzles (so that everyone gets full value for the money they have paid).  The record for this room is 20 minutes, which also confirms that the room is not challenging enough (at least in my opinion);
  • whilst there is plenty of space in The Pirate Adventure, there are not enough puzzles and things to do to fill the space.  They could easily fit the current puzzles and props in space about one-third of the size currently used;
  • there were too many books!  Without giving anything away, there were probably 80+ books used as props, with very few being relevant to the game.  I actually got frustrated/annoyed by the number of books that we had to thumb through (several times each).  I like red herrings in an escape room, but 80+ books is just annoying (in my opinion), particularly when they were also irrelevant to the theme;
  • I have learned from my escape room experience that escape rooms usually require a combination of "hunt and seek" fun with an element of puzzle solving.  The hunt and seek part (which I love) involves you running around crazily in a room to find items that you need to solve puzzles or open locks, etc.  I found that with The Pirate Adventure, there was too much "hunt and seek" and not enough puzzles.  I think this could be easily rectified by adding a few more detailed puzzles which require some time to think through and solve.  The few puzzles in the room were easy and very quick to solve - most of our time was spent hunting for things (and thumbing through books!); 
  • there wasn't a clear way to communicate with those running The Pirate Adventure while we were in the room.  Most outfits use walkie talkies or iPads.  This room relied on us waving at the camera and then the owners trying to guess what we needed help with and giving hints via the television screen in the room - this could be easily improved; and
  • with such a wonderful theme as pirates (which is one my all time favourite themes), I think they could have done so much more (I had dreams of One Eyed Willie from Goonies and booby traps, etc).  Perhaps I was being unrealistic...

All 4 people in our group enjoyed ourselves in The Pirate Adventure.   We have already bought scoopons for their second room, so we will be back there to check out The Casino Revenge Thriller in February (which I understand is a little harder than The Pirate Adventure).

Where:                    Level 1, 37 Bligh Street, Sydney

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 2 themes 

Cost:                       $36 each (4 players) (But watch out for coupons - we got 50% off )

Overall Rating:      3.5 out of 5 stars

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