Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Adventure Rooms Adelaide - Gaol Break Review

Hi everyone!

This particular review doesn't really fit here on my Sydney-based blog, but I'm not going to bother setting up an "escaperoomsadelaide" blog for just 2 room reviews.

I recently had a week's trip in Adelaide, so while down there I arranged to check out a couple of escape rooms.  There are only 2 escape room outfits in Adelaide - Escape Hunt Adelaide and Adventure Rooms Adelaide.  I have tried one room at Escape Hunt Sydney (the same franchise chain as the equivalent Escape Hunt Adelaide) and I thought they were very average, so Adventure Rooms Adelaide was the clear choice.

We did 2 rooms back to back.  The first was their Gaol Break room and the second was their Black Queen room.  

My usual escape room team didn't all come to Adelaide - it was just my wife and I from our usual team, but we also brought along two first-timers, my cousin and my mother in law.  They both knew about this addiction, er hobby, of ours and were keen to see first-hand what all the fuss is about.

Gaol Break was our 39th room in Australia and our first room in Adelaide.

As usual, I’ll start with a summary of all of the things that I liked in Adventure Rooms Adelaide's Gaol Break:
  • having never been to this outfit before, I was a little worried that it might be just an average room and not a great one (particularly given that we were bringing first-timers with us and I really wanted them to have a great first experience with escape rooms).  I need not have worried - it was a great room;
  • this was the second best jail escape room that I have been to (the best being Paniq Room’s Supercell 117 at The Rocks in Sydney).  This room was a pretty close second though;
  • all of the puzzles worked flawlessly.  The room set up is fun and challenging;
  • the puzzles were really varied and well-designed.  There were a couple of puzzles we have never seen anywhere in Australia before and they rank up there with some of the very best in the country.  Again, I can’t go into any more details without giving spoilers, but trust me when I say they have some low-tech but very creative puzzles;
  • we found that everyone in our team was fully engaged for the whole experience.  There is a good amount of puzzles of varying difficulties.  We obviously have an advantage over most teams because we have been to so many escape rooms and therefore many of the puzzles are of a type we have seen before, but the first-timers in our team really enjoyed the experience too;
  • we broke the record for this room, getting out in about 30 minutes without any clues.  Usually I would say that a room where we get out so quickly should have an extra puzzle or two, but this room had a heap of puzzles – we got lucky with a few of them and a couple we had seen elsewhere so we breezed through them;
  • it’s hard to describe this aspect, but this room had a good mix of light and shade.  By that, I mean that it had very different spaces that had very different feels to them, but all of them worked really well with the theme.  The theming in Gaol Break was great;
  • the price here was about right for the quality of the room;
  • there was a really good mix of hunt and seek fun and puzzle solving;
  • the location is excellent – there is an almost hidden lift on one side of Rundle Mall between the shops.  If you weren’t looking for it, you would easily miss it;
  • the game masters were really enthusiastic, which I always appreciate.  They were engaged and were watching us the whole time; and
  • we didn’t need to communicate with the game masters, but their comms system seemed like it would be useful.   They watch and listen to teams and then apparently provide messages on screens within the room – it sounds pretty effective to us.

And as for what I think could be improved:
  • whilst the puzzles were all really good, I think a couple could have been a little tighter (they were still easily decipherable, but could have been tweaked a little) - I can't go into much more without giving spoilers, so I'll leave it there;
  • I think the immersion aspect would have been strengthened if we were given a better back story.  Instead we were given a very brief back story and found ourselves in gaol cells.  It would have been nice to understand how we could escape (eg there was someone on the inside within the prison trying to help us to escape and they left clues/puzzles to that end).  A bit more of a back story would really tie the puzzles together better; and
  • their website says that they take up to 8 people in Gaol Break.  This is far too many – 4 people is the maximum team size that would allow everyone to be comfortable and fully engaged.  The game master was telling us that they also offer teams duels, where half of the escapees will work on one or two rooms within the Gaol Break escape and the other escapees will work on the other rooms, and then they will swap.  I don’t like this idea at all – it would ruin the flow of the story of the rooms.  Stick with 4 people (or maybe 4 adults and 2 kids) at most here.

We really enjoyed this room.  Our first-timers also really enjoyed the experience and I think one of them in particular is hooked!  The game master was also kind enough to stick around afterwards and chat with us about how we did in the room and what we thought of the puzzles, which was great.

Where:                        Level 1, 51-53 Rundle Mall, Adelaide, SA

Duration:                    60 minutes

Themes:                     3 themes

Cost:                           $128 for 4 adults

Overall Summary:      A great room with some really creative puzzles

More details:              http://www.adventurerooms.com.au/

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