Thursday, 12 November 2015

Break the Code Plus - Avatar Review

A bit of a different review this time.  My usual fellow escape room buddies in my usual team did not try this room with me, but instead I tried this room with work colleagues.  We booked a corporate afternoon with 4 teams trying different Break the Code Plus rooms simultaneously (Avatar, Indiana Jones, Mission Stealth and Da Vinci rooms).  This was my twenty-first escape room in Sydney (and my thirty first room in Australia so far!).  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Avatar room at Break the Code Plus:

1.    Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
2.    The theming was ok - not the best, but better than most.       
3.    They had one puzzle mechanism that I hadn't seen before, which is cool.
4.    We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.

And now for what I didn't like:

1.    They have a really bad communication system, which involves players hitting a button and then the game master walking into the room.  This really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game. 
2.    The puzzles are largely very clunky.  There are one or two puzzles that are reasonably well done, but the majority are not well designed.  A couple of the puzzles use cool mechanisms, but the input data used to solve the puzzles is vague, ambiguous or has multiple interpretations.  This was really annoying and unimpressive.
3.    Some of the puzzles are examples of lazy design. Without giving any spoilers, one puzzle involves hunting down a tiny code that has been hand-written in invisible ink in the room.  This is not clever - it's really uncreative and disappointing.
4.    My team this time consisted of myself and 3 other first-timers.  We did not escape within the allowed 60 minutes (I think it took about 65 minutes all up).  We needed help on the final puzzle and when the solution was explained, I rolled my eyes and thought it was pretty poor (and again, ambiguous).
5.    Their price (without a discount coupon) is $180 for 4 adults.  This makes them the most expensive escape room outfit in Sydney (equal with Mission Sydney's Dr M, which is a far superior room).  Their rooms are not good enough to justify this price tag.  

This room was below average in my honest opinion.  Their Indiana Jones room is much better (although not without its faults as well).  This escape room outfit is pretty cheap and cheerful - most aspects of their rooms are average or below average.   
We still have another 2 Groupon vouchers for Break the Code Plus, so we will be back soon to try their Da Vinci and Lost rooms.

One other aspect of their rooms that REALLY annoyed me today was that the staff had not correctly reset one of the other rooms being undertaken by another of our corporate teams.  Without spoilers, one of the doors between rooms in one of the other themed escape rooms was accidentally left open before the escape began, so that team walked straight through the door and then were really confused by the various puzzles in the previous room which didn't seem to do anything.  This is truly inexcusable and is a sign of a poorly run outfit. 

Overall, this is a below average room - don't waste your money.

Where:                        Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW

Duration:                    60 minutes

Themes:                     6 themes (which will apparently change often)

Cost:                           $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)

Overall Summary:     Disappointing and very overpriced.    

More details:     


  1. Decent and fair review. I think clunky is a very apt word to describe this room/outfit in general!
    I experienced the same problem re the room being reset properly but in the Indiana room. Fortunately they came rushing in to remedy it quickly but the fact it happens at all & still after months of opening is nothing short of shoddy.

    I hope your team wasn't too big. I did Avatar with 7 people & this just compounded matters even more. Awful. Recommending 8 people for all their rooms is really short sighted & money grabbing imo.

    It's such a shame because this place has the nucleus of being something really good & has the added bonus of multiple rooms, in a great location but they fail dreadfully on so many basics.

    Best course of action is to get everyone to review them on TripAdvisor... Also because I find all their 5* reviews highly suspicious!

  2. Hi Andy

    I've submitted my Tripadvisor review already, so it should be published in a day or two. Yes, I also thought that the existing Tripadvisor reviews sounded overly favourable. That being said, if this is the only room you have tried, you would probably like it (ignorance is bliss)...


  3. Not just favourable but submitted on the same day & all are their first review, hmmm...suspect!
    I still have one voucher left for BTC but rather reluctant...

  4. I've been waiting for your review on this room... just so I can confirm the same sentiments I had for this room. We felt the same way about everything you wrote about, especially the tiny code (which was half faded and barely discernible) and the final puzzle (which we rolled our eyes on too and gave them suggestions on how to better improve, but they clearly ignored our advice).

    Like Andy, we have one more voucher left (which we have to use in Da Vinci) and we are reluctant to go again.

  5. Hey Andy and K

    Thanks for your comments. I'm considering bring my 3 year old along with me to the last 2 rooms (Da Vinci and Lost). Have you guys done either/both of these rooms? If so, do you think a 3 year old would be ok in them?


  6. Hey Scott,

    I have not done Da Vinci, it's my final room left to attempt at BTC. As for Lost, personally I would not recommend it because it can be a little cosy & probably not ideal for a 3yr old. Curious at how you will find it though.

    K - I have given BTC plenty of feedback after each room & never heard a whisper back. Really poor management imo.

  7. Thanks Andy. I'm less concerned about the cosy factor (she did The Garden room at Escapism with us and she was fine). It's more about whether it is too scary for a 3 year old? I thought the theming of Lost and Da Vinci would probably be pretty tame?

  8. Lost is really not scary, although it does get considerably darker later on if that's a factor. Otherwise it sounds like it could be ok for you.
    Perhaps give them a buzz? It's unlikely but some places might be apprensive due to H&S.

  9. Da Vinci has sufficient room for a child,the first room is pretty roomy