Sunday, 11 October 2015

Review of Break the Code Plus Mission Stealth

My group of friends (4 adults) checked out Break the Code Plus' Mission Stealth Biohazard Virus in October 2015, about a month or so after they opened.  This was our twentieth escape room in Sydney (so far!).  

We found the place very easily - they are hidden at the end of a short alley way (take a right before you come to the shop at the end of the alley way and go to level 1 in the lifts).  There is plenty of signage so you shouldn't have any problems.

They currently have 6 rooms (one of which is an outdoors escape).  We did their Indiana Jones room and after a Coke break, we came straight back and tried Mission Stealth.  

First off, I'll say what I enjoyed most about the Mission Stealth room at Break the Code Plus:
  1. Their front of house and online booking system were excellent.
  2. The theming was pretty good - not the best, but better than most.       
  3. All of their puzzles were hand-made and some were really different to others we had seen elsewhere.  Some of the puzzles required an element of skill (so you can't get through on your brain alone), but I really liked this aspect because it was quite different from most other escape rooms in Sydney.  That being said, I can see how it could annoy a lot of players.    
  4. I think they had a good mix of high tech and low tech puzzles.  They didn't rely too much on hunt and seek.
  5. We were handed a photo of our team after our escape - this is a nice touch and by memory, Mission Sydney is the only other room that hands out photos after the escape.
And now for what I think can be improved:
  1. They need to provide more of a back story upon entering the room to set the scene.
  2. They have a really bad communication system.  Unlike their Indy room, we were given a walkie talkie at the beginning of the room.  However, rather than communicate via the walkie talkie, the game master just came into the room when we asked for a clue - this really ruins the immersion aspect and detracts from the flow of the game.  Also, when we used the walkie talkie, we had to wait a few minutes for a response.  In fact, we ended up knocking on the door (which got a quicker response).  Good rooms require dedicated game masters - they seemed to have plenty of staff, but none were actively watching on cameras (and they weren't responsive when we used the walkie talkie).  This was a real shame.
  3. The room design is cool - it reminded me in some respects of Paniq Room's Supercell 117, but it wasn't executed nearly as well.  I won't give away and spoilers, but in the first part of Mission Stealth, the team is split and separated.  It was REALLY hard to communicate with each other though because the rooms were too sound proof - they also had music blaring which got on each of our nerves.  Even after they turned off the annoying music, we still had to scream to be heard.  A few drilled holes in the perspex would improve this no end.
  4. Whilst I love home-made puzzles, one in particular we managed to break (ie solve in a way that it was not intended to be solved).  However, this was just freakish luck actually.  They had a 3 digit lock on a puzzle and we managed to interpret the clue and guess the code.  Unfortunately, the particular lock is not supposed to be opened by players - it was merely how the game master resets the game.  The chances were 1 in 1000 that we would guess the code, which we did.  This meant that we could skip the whole puzzle (being a puzzle that we tried after the game ended and which took us ages to complete - this puzzle that requires a lot of skill and working as a team).  It can be really confusing to have additional locks in a room when they aren't part of the game - they need to make this clear.  It also confused us because once we had used the clues to "solve" this puzzle, we didn't consider the clues again (which were of course needed for a later puzzle).
  5. And now for the biggest problem in this room for us - one of the high tech mechanisms did not work.  This really did ruin our experience.  It was the final mechanism - we flicked a switch and.....nothing happened.  We were later told that the flicking of that switch then opens the exit door, but that was not our experience.  The danger with all high tech rooms is that this kind of thing happens I suppose.  But it was a real shame.  They did let us record an exit time of when we flicked the switch though (44 minutes), which put our team at the second best time so far for this room.  But we were all left disappointed by the anti-climax.
  6. Like the Indy room, there definitely aren't enough puzzles to fill out a full 60 minutes.  They need at least another puzzle or 2.  This room has significantly less puzzles than most other good escape rooms in the market, which was a downside for me in this room.

After having escaped from Indiana Jones an hour before, this room was a huge let down by comparison.  Even ignoring the mechanism failure, none of my team liked this room nearly as much as Indy (and it wasn't just that we preferred the Indy concept over a biohazard concept). 
We still have another 2 Groupon vouchers for Break the Code Plus, so we will be back soon.  I'm also trying out this place with my work in about a month, so hopefully they sort out some of these problems before then. 

Overall, this is a middle of the range room compared to others we have tried.

Where:                   Level 1, 741 George Street, Haymarket, NSW

Duration:                60 minutes

6 themes (which will apparently change often)

Cost:                       $180 (for a team of 4) (although we had a Groupon for $80)

Overall Rating:      3.5 out of 5 stars

More details: 


  1. Agree with the middle of the range comment

  2. Agree with all of the comments regarding this room - some of the puzzles were simply too physical and fiddly to be successful.

    The puzzle you're referring to, we viewed as almost impossible to complete, and at one stage assumed that we were actually meant to use the combination lock and the other method as a distraction.

    When we called for help, the host told us to complete it in a way which was quite dangerous and obviously not the correct way.

    In addition - our walkie talkie also didn't work at first, and only received help when we banged on the door loudly.

    We've completed multiple escape rooms so we do understand how they work quite well, and we usually manage to escape. This was our poorest attempt yet, simply due the puzzles being quite obvious to figure out HOW to do it, however actually completing them just took up way too much time.

    Even the hosts struggled to help us when we asked them for assistance.

  3. Hm, we didn't get a walkie talkie; instead got a button to press. They were quite prompt to answer said button presses, but yeah, they walked right in and showed us how to do what we were stuck on. ^^" One of my friends doing it did mention that it ruined the immersion and was 'a little odd'.

    Also had similar problems with tech for the Avatar room, though it was game-breaking when we were there..