Monday, 21 May 2018

Labyrinth Escape Rooms - Mexican Cartel Review

Hey all

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Labyrinth Escape Rooms’ Mexican Cartel room in April 2018.  After not having been to Labyrinth since September 2015, soon after they opened, we came back to do Japanese Horror and Mexican Cartel back to back.  You can read my reviews of Insane Asylum and Japanese Horror here and here.

The summary of Mexican Cartel is below (taken from their website):

You’re a high ranking member of the powerful Mexican Cartel but when a deal goes south, the rival Cartel starts kidnapping your men.  Your boss sends you back to his house to get his passports to move his family and all flee the country.
As you arrive, you get ambushed and locked inside. You over hear their leader will get there in an hour to execute you, so you need to break free from the handcuffs, find your way around the house to get the passports and escape without getting caught!
Will you outsmart the rival Cartels before it’s too late?

Labyrinth has now been open for more than two and a half years.  They previously had a Mad Scientist room, which we didn’t manage to check out before they replaced the room.  They currently have three rooms open – Insane Asylum, Japanese Horror and Mexican Cartel. 

Mexican Cartel was our 93rd room in Australia and our 63rd room in Sydney.

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about Mexican Cartel at Labyrinth Escape Rooms:

a)     we had a lot of fun.  There were some parts that had us running around like crazy people, and others where we had to be quite dexterous - all aspects were a lot of fun;
b)     the theming is pretty strong – the props look really good.  There are some dark spaces in this room and some aspects which aren’t suitable for young kids (I personally wouldn’t bring my 5 year old to this room).  But I think this room would suit older kids (say 10+) who are mature, with supervision;
c)     as with all Labyrinth rooms, there is a great mix of high tech and low tech puzzles.  Some are fiendishly simple – the type that make you want to give yourself a forehead slap when you figure out the solution.  Others require more than one step and are certainly more detailed;
d)     all 3 rooms that I have tried at Labyrinth have elements that remind me of more traditional Hungarian escape room style puzzles – these typically involve lower tech puzzles that are quite manual and visual.  There are two puzzles in Mexican Cartel in particular that require players to be quite dexterous.  This kind of puzzle might not suit all teams, but I personally enjoyed them a lot;
e)     there were two aspects in Mexican Cartel that I had never seen used before in an escape room.  It’s hard to talk about them in detail without giving any spoilers, but one related to a method of finding drugs and another involved using a common kitchen appliance as a puzzle.  The second was a real stand out for me in this room;
f)       Labyrinth use the voice of God system for communications between players and the game master.  We asked for one hint for the final puzzle and the voice of God system worked very well for us.  I think this system is the best form of communications in escape rooms (except perhaps for those few rooms where the game master is an actor inside the room with you, but these are currently very rare).
As for some of the improvements that could be made to Mexican Cartel, there isn’t much to report here.  There are a couple of puzzles, which although being really cool, don’t 100% fit the theme of the room for me.  Although they look great and are a lot of fun, these puzzles really are just puzzles for the sake of puzzles that could have been used in any room theme (rather than one specifically relating to a cartel).  Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoyed these puzzles, but they weren't a perfect fit for the room.

I also had feedback from one of my team members that she felt like there were a couple of bottlenecks in the room design.  There are a couple of manual tasks in the room that require only 1 or 2 players to complete.  This particular player felt like she was standing around watching others complete those tasks and this detracted from her enjoyment of the room. 

We managed to escape in around 35 minutes and 55 seconds, which was 3 minutes off the record.  Based on this time, I think the room could afford to have an extra puzzle or two (or perhaps a more in depth final puzzle).    

Mexican Cartel is a fun room.  It is a little dark for young kids but the quality of the theming and puzzles is very strong.

Where:                    Suite 3/85-93 Victoria Road, Parramatta

Duration:                60 minutes

3 themes

$38pp (or $152 for a team of 4)

Overall Rating:       A very strong room with fun, dexterous puzzles (but not suitable for young kids)

More details: 

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