Sunday 30 October 2016

Next Level Escape - Review of Blitz Room

Hi everyone!

A few weeks back, my team and I tried out Next Level Escape’s Blitz Room.  In fact, we tried 2 of their rooms back to back – both Blitz Room and Ex Libris.  Keep an eye out here for my separate review of Ex Libris which I hope to post shortly. 

We had the “lite” version of our usual team this time, in that we were a team of 3 instead of our usual 4.  I think this was the first time that I have ever tried a room with a team of 3.  This was our 32nd room in Sydney and our 44th room in Australia.

Blitz Room is very novel to the Australian market in that it is only a 15 minute room (rather than the more usual 60 minutes).  But rather than being a warm up room, it is a really cool room in its own right.  It’s a really innovative concept to cram a heap of puzzles into just 15 minutes.  It’s also a good option for escape room players who might not have a full 60-90 minutes free that it would take to try a longer, more typical room. 

As always, I’ll start off with what I liked about the room:

  • the location is really convenient – they are on the corner of Hunter Street and Bligh Street in a low rise commercial office tower.  The owners greeted us at the door on the ground level, but you might need to call them when you arrive if it is after hours (as I suspect the front door might be locked of an evening).  The absolute best aspect of the location is that it is only a few doors down from the best laksa in Sydney at Malay - (try their king prawn laksa or their skinless chicken laksa).  Frankie’s Pizza, which is next door to Malay is also a good option;

  • I think the current theme choice is very clever and very well-timed, given the incredible popularity of Game of Thrones.  I understand from the owners that they are planning on changing the theme of Blitz Room relatively regularly (every few months), which is cool;

  • the theming of this room is really well done – I won’t go into much detail on this other than to say that any GOT fan will really enjoy the level of detail and the way that they have weaved so many elements from the series into the various puzzles;

  • there is a nice mix of high tech puzzles and low tech puzzles in this room.  Come to think of it, there is a really nice variety of puzzles in this room (in fact, more variety than many 60 minute rooms).  I think they also have just the right level of ‘hide and seek’ fun for the 15 minute duration of the room;

  • all of the puzzles worked perfectly for us the first time.  There were a few novel props that we had never seen before, which is always nice;

  • there are 11 puzzles in total to solve in just 15 minutes.  You score a different number of points for each puzzle, depending on its difficulty.  I think they have put in just the right number of puzzles for this room – it is possible to solve all 11 puzzles if you are quick enough, but I think the average team probably gets through about half of the puzzles in the allowed time;

  • my team found this room really challenging and a whole lot of fun.  I wasn’t sure that a 15 minute room would work in the real world, but it truly does.  Think of this room as kind of like the last 15 minutes of a typical 60 minute room with the odds stacked up against you - the adrenalin really flows from the second you enter the room; and

  • the game masters are watching and listening to your every move (via cameras and microphones), which is the way all escape rooms should be run.

I really don’t have anything to report on the negative side.  The owners are very passionate about their business and they have managed to create a truly immersive and very challenging experience in just 15 minutes, each of which is something that many Sydney rooms fail to achieve with 60 minute rooms.

As always, the main test of a great room for me is the fun factor and this room was off the charts fun.

Location:                    Lower Ground, 23 O'Connell Street, Sydney

Duration:                    15 minutes

Themes:                     2 so far (but 1 other planned)

Cost:                           $60 for 4 adults (but we played at the kind invitation of the owners)

Overall Summary:      A lot of fun that really gets the adrenalin pumping!

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