Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Cipher Room - The Cabin Review

Hi everyone!

Back in early January, I checked out The Cipher Room’s second room, The Cabin.  My usual team of 4 play-tested their Espionage room back in August 2016 just before they opened to the public.  You can read my review of Espionage here.  After having tried and loved Espionage (which I described as the best themed room in Sydney), we went into The Cabin with very high expectations. 

My team this time was the “lite” version of our team, in that we were just a team of 3 (my wife was really bummed not to be able to join us).  This was our 37th room in Sydney and our 49th room in Australia.

The Cabin is a thriller room, where your team play the roles of LAPD officers who get a tip off that a serial killer is hiding out in a cabin in the woods of California.  Armed with your search warrant, you arrive at the cabin in the middle of the night and try to track down the killer and bring him/her to justice.

As always, I’ll start off with what I liked about the room:
  • their website is first rate, as is their location and their style in general.  They have a really cool, curiosity-inducing window display that sets the scene beautifully for what’s to follow.  Their front of house is equally mysterious, old-worldly and charming, as is their hallway that seems to go on forever;
  • the theming in their Espionage room is truly awesome.  But the theming in The Cabin is just off the charts – as escape room enthusiasts, we spent a considerable amount of our time in the room simply admiring the theming and the props.  Within minutes of entering The Cabin, we felt like we were transported to a cabin in the woods and were a million miles away from King Street in Newtown.  The sounds, the lighting, the set decoration and props were all so well-considered and clearly SO much work had gone into not only their design, but the craftsmanship of all of the aspects of this room.  All of these aspects were hand-made by Marise and David themselves, which is incredible.  The Cabin is the best themed room in Sydney hands down in my humble opinion (narrowly beating The Cipher Room's other room, Espionage, which takes second place).  Clearly these guys know what they’re doing);
  • the theming was so good in fact that at one point, we were enjoying the theming so much that we were distracted from the story of the game (and some of my team missed a vital part of the story line);
  • there is a truly great mix of puzzles in this room.  They are all hand-made and there were many puzzles throughout the room that were of a type that we had never seen before (and after 50 rooms, that is getting pretty rare these days).  There is also a really nice mix of low and high-tech puzzles and really cool mechanisms within the room;
  • this is not a children-friendly room – if you are after a great family-friendly room, definitely check out Espionage rather than The Cabin.  The Cabin is definitely eerie and creepy, but there are no “jump scares” at all.  I think we escaped in about 40 minutes or so (and I don’t think we asked for any hints by memory), which puts it towards the more challenging end of the spectrum.  It’s definitely not impossible, but there are certainly some challenging puzzles in this room;
  • owners Marise and David are truly enthusiastic about their business, which shows from the amount of work they have put into it.  They have set out to create a truly immersive experience and this is certainly again the case with The Cabin. 

There's nothing at all to report on the negative side.  

I would describe this room as a pretty challenging room - I suspect most teams might need a hint or two to escape within 60 minutes.  The game masters at The Cipher Room are always at hand to help guide players, so don’t be put off on trying this room if you’re an escape room newb. 

As always, the number one factor that I consider when reviewing a room is how much fun we had.  This room was incredibly fun, but it was more than that – it was a work of art.  There is so much attention to detail in this room – the flow is just right, the variety of puzzles is just right and the craftsmanship is better than any other room we have been to in Australia.  It’s an utterly charming room (which sounds weird for a serial killer themed room, but it’s totally true).

I have no hesitations at all in recommending this room.  I suggest doing both of their rooms back to back – start off with Espionage, maybe grab lunch or dinner in between and then hit The Cabin.  You are going to love them both.   

Where:                        640 King Street, Newtown

Duration:                    60 minutes

Themes:                     2 so far (but 1 other planned)

Cost:                           $152 for 4 adults (but we played at the kind invitation of the owners)

Overall Summary:      Wow.

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