Friday, 14 December 2018

Unexpected Exit - Deranged Scientist Review

Hi all

I recently found myself in Newcastle with some of my extended family members (who I haven't seen for years in some cases).  It was all very last minute, but I thought I would try and get into Unexpected Exit, an escape room outfit I had been trying to get to for over a year without success.

I called and the very kind game master offered to stay open after their closing hours to accommodate my team.  

We were a team of 4 - me, my sister (who had tried 3 rooms), my cousin (2 rooms) and my older cousin, who had never been to an escape room before.  

Given that our team was largely full of newbs, I asked to try Unexpected Exit's simplest room, The Deranged Scientist.  Here is a summary of the room from their website:

Professor Skoda has finally been captured – the mad genius behind the deadly outbreak of Virus X. In just under 100 days the virus has claimed millions of lives across the globe, with a cure still yet to be found. With the location of the Professor’s lab now known, your team has been selected to search the lab for the antidote. When your team arrives and enters the dimly lit room, the door closes and locks behind you. A plume of gas fills the air and a taunting note from the professor reads – “Enjoy your last 50 minutes on Earth…” This room is an excellent starting point for those new to escape rooms or an enjoyable challenge for the more experienced.

This was my 101st room in Australia and my 71st room in (or around) Sydney. 

Here are my thoughts on The Deranged Scientist:

·         the room is a big space and immediately upon entering, there is a lot to see and do;
·         as far as the quality of theming goes, I think this room was about on par with the average room in Sydney.  It was clearly a commercial office space that had been reused for a science-themed room (but which could have just as easily been any other themed room).  The theming was left mainly to the props rather than to the wall treatments, etc;
·         the room theme of a deranged scientist, whilst not an entirely novel room theme (a similar theme has probably made up about 10% of the 100+ rooms I have tried to date), was fun.  The newbs in my team enjoyed the room theme and puzzles;
·         speaking of puzzles, there was a nice mix.  Some were a little “inelegant” (in that they were a little rustic and not 100% perfect), other puzzles were really strong.  There was one puzzle in particular that I can think of that was unlike anything I had seen elsewhere, which was great;
·         the room uses black light in a couple of puzzles.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am not a fan of black light UV torches in rooms (because they almost never suit the room theme – I generally find it lazy puzzle design).  That being said, the new players in my team didn’t care the slightest and they enjoyed the puzzles like any other (maybe I should get over my issues with black lights (although at this stage, it seems doubtful…));
·         there is a nice mix of hunt and seek as well as puzzle solving.  I was surprised that this room was pretty tricky – our team only just made it out in the 50 minute time limit.  Whilst this was largely due to our team not finding one particular hunt and seek piece, I do think that this room should have a 60 minute time limit rather than 50 minutes.  This room is clearly aimed at a beginner level (and given it is the only current escape room outfit in Newcastle, I think they are right to aim for the new player market with at least one of their rooms).  The extra 10 minutes would greatly increase the escape (and reduce the number of hints required for newer players);
·         the clue delivery system isn’t great in this room – you ask for hints and a piece of paper is passed under the door with the hint scrawled on it.  This kind of thing breaks the immersion of a room and whilst this was more common when escape rooms first came out in Sydney, most now utilise the voice of God system (or other methods that are even better suited to the theme).  By memory, teams are entitled to 3 hints in The Deranged Scientist;
·         the most interesting props in the room were unfortunately not really used (and were more window dressings).  This was a little disappointing; and
·         this room is child friendly – there are no scary aspects at all.  There is also a lot of space in this room, so although I would recommend a team of 4 players, you could probably go as many as 6 players given the space.

Overall, my team enjoyed our experience at The Deranged Scientist.  I would describe this room as a solid beginner room, suited more to new or younger players.  The quality of the theming is not on par with some of the magical rooms that we have here in Sydney (and many in Melbourne), but this is something that newer players are unlikely to care too much about.

A nice touch is that at the end of the experience, you get a small polaroid photo of your team which you then get to stick anywhere in the premises that you like.

As always, the main test of a room is whether my team had fun and the answer was that yes, we definitely had fun.  I look forward to taking my more experienced team back to try Unexpected Exit’s other three rooms, which I understand are much more difficult.

Where:                                    Level 1 Suite 1/810-820 Hunter Street Newcastle

Duration:                                50 minutes

Themes:                                 4 themes

Cost:                                       $30 per person

Overall Summary:                 A solid room suited to beginners.

More details:                

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