Monday, 5 February 2018

Xcape Sydney - Review of Ching Chiu Palace

Hi there

Ching Chiu Palace was the fifth and final room we tried at Xcape during a single day when we tried 5 of their rooms back to back in December 2017.

The room summary for Ching Chiu Palace is as follows, taken from Xcape's website:

Hidden deep within the holy mountains of Qingqiu, hides the ancient tombs of those who ruled over the Qingqiu palace over more than 5000 years ago in ancient China. Partake in the role of a tomb raider to unravel the secrets within the ancient tombs. Be wary though as the ghosts of those who failed before you shall stalk your every movement. Raid the tomb before others get to it first, a race against time. Only those who dare will reap the profits and escape triumphant.

We were a 3 person team.  Ching Chiu Palace was our 70th room in Australia (and our 57th room in Sydney). 

So, here's what I liked about Ching Chiu Palace at Xcape:
  • again, like most of their rooms, the production value of Ching Chiu Palace was very high.  Some parts of this room are like a movie set;
  • there are some aspects of this room that we had never seen in an escape room before;
  • as with all of their other rooms, there is a lot of tech in this room (and it all suits the theme pretty well);
  • there is one particular puzzle in this room that from a design point of view, I really liked.  It was truly novel and very well done.

Unfortunately, there were a a lot of things in Xcape's Magic Painting room that I did not enjoy:
  • there are some real safety concerns in this room.  There is one particular section that is really cool but my friend nearly lost a finger.  There are also sections of concrete (both above your head and below your knees) that need to be covered in something soft to protect players' heads/knees.  And as a general comment, there are sections of Ching Chiu Palace that I have concerns about from an evacuation point of view - in the event of a fire, I'm not sure how players could easily (and quickly) escape;
  • a pretty major concern I have with this room is that I think it is really only suited to Chinese players (rather than English players).  English players are provided with a scroll which is supposed to help players with deciphering chinese characters throughout the room.  However, many of the Chinese characters in the room are "old" or traditional characters, which are not exactly the same as the new Chinese characters in the scroll.  In my view, this made it impossible to decipher.  It wasn't helped by the fact that there are props with Chinese characters on them that are very poorly lit;
  • we had a number of technical issues in this room.  There were 3 different puzzles that did not work as they were intended to work (and we needed the game master to enter the room to help us).  Part of the problem related to the Chinese characters, but other issues were technical issues.  I know we were beta testing this room, but there was one puzzle that contained a pretty major error (which the owner said he would get fixed);
  • this room is very expensive at up to $60pp.  It is also an 80 minute room, but despite having a number of technical issues and other problems deciphering Chinese characters, we still escaped with a lot of time left over.  

Overall, this was my least favourite room at Xcape.  Many puzzles were just frustrating because we couldn't decipher Chinese characters.  Some of the tech was cool but at times pretty illogical.  The production value was high - many aspects were like a movie set, but this wasn't enough to overcome the various other issues.

Where:                   18 Queen Street, Chippendale 

Duration:               80 minutes

6 currently

$50pp (or $60pp on weekends/evenings) (but we played at the kind invitation of Xcape)

Overall Rating:       High tech but only suited to players who can read Chinese characters

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