Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Social Escape Rooms Sydney - Paris Review (as a player)

Hi all

My team and I finally managed to get around to checking out Social Escape Rooms in early January 2017.  I had been trying for a few months to get there and was really pleased to be able to find a time that suited my team over the summer break.

Mark Anton is the owner of Social Escape Rooms Sydney, a software developer turned escape room owner.  He was an awesome host and game master for the morning while the "lite" version of my usual team (just the 3 of us) tried out his rooms.  He was also kind enough to let me try out Paris by myself as a solo player and then allowed me to sit beside him as game master as the rest of my team tried Paris. 

Paris was my 35th room in Sydney and my 47th room in Australia so far.  As always, I'll start off with what I liked most about Paris:

·        what struck me first off with Paris is what a novel room theme it is.  No doubt many of you have tried at least a few escape rooms where you are trying to solve a mystery, or trying to escape before a vicious murderer is coming back for you, etc.  And those room themes are certainly fun, but Paris is a little different – instead, you are holidaying in Paris and have lost your airline tickets and passport somewhere in your hotel room and only have one hour until your flight;

·        something else that was a first for me was that I was genuinely nervous going into this room.  In all 46 previous escape rooms I have tried, I have been excited but never nervous.  When Mark first contacted me about his rooms, he mentioned that Paris has been designed so that it can be played by solo players.  This is also very novel, as I’m not aware of any other rooms in Australia that have been designed specifically for solo players;

·        the solo element was awesome.  Normally, when I play escape rooms with my team, we each know each other’s strengths (eg who is good at maths and logic puzzles, who is good at visual puzzles, etc) and therefore typically I will pass puzzles onto the best person to solve them.  That wasn’t an option in my solo game in Paris, so I was forced to solve them all myself.  And I found that incredibly rewarding, although it did make me nervous going in;

·        the theming of this room is really well done – there is a high level of detail that has been applied to the room theme.  All of the props make sense in the space and they are of a high quality.  All of the puzzles worked first time and there was no ambiguity at all as to their solutions;

·        there is a nice mix of high tech puzzles and low tech puzzles in this room, with many of the high tech elements completely hidden (as they should be).  There is also a really good mix of hunt and seek fun;

·        I would describe Paris as an easy to medium difficulty room.  It is one of the very few rooms in Sydney that I can (and will) recommend to first timers and experienced players alike.  It also has the major benefit of being kid friendly – not only is the theme appropriate for younger children, kids could definitely join in and help solve each of the puzzles in the room;

·        Mark was an excellent game master.  He watched my every move and was available when I needed a nudge in the right direction.  His hint system is among the best I have seen – you simply speak and the God-like voice responds over a speaker.  Mark tracks your every move and at any given point in time, he knows how you are tracking and whether you need a hint to ensure you escape on time; and

·        at the end of the escape, I was given a photograph as a souvenir and a really detailed graph which showed how quickly I had solved every single puzzle in the room compared to the average time of all teams to date. This was really cool and it’s something that no other escape room owners provide (that I am aware of).


On the negative side, I really have nothing to report.  There are a few minor tweaks I have suggested to Mark of ways to slightly improve this puzzle or that, but Paris is a really fantastic room with a unique theme.

As always, the main determining factor in how I review a room is the enjoyment factor.  I had a heap of fun with this room (and so did my friends when they tried this room after me – look out for my separate review as to what it was like watching my friends play this room). 

I’d recommend this room to all group types, particularly families and newer players.  That being said, I think this room is still pretty challenging for teams of 2 (there are a heap of puzzles to solve in this room).  I can also personally recommend this room to more experienced players as a solo player.

Where:                   Level 1, 62 Wyndham Street, Alexandria

Duration:               60 minutes

Themes:                 
2 different themes (but 8 rooms planned in total)

Cost:                       
$31 to $36 each (for 4 players, depending on time of week) (I played at the kind invitation of the owner)

Overall Rating:      Awesome, family friendly fun suited to all group types

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

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