Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Room Eight - Review of Entombed

Hey all

My usual team of 4 went out to Manly in March 2018 to check out the 2 escape rooms at Room Eight.  They are based at the end of The Corso at Manly.  We parked at the nearby Council carpark on Whistler Street (first 2 hours are free).

Room Eight is owned/run by Steve, Rafael and Stephane.  Steve was there on the day and we had a long chat with him about the process of designing their rooms and then constructing them.  

After having escaped from their “Indisposed Escape from the Aussie Dunny” room (the review of which is here), we then tried their “Entombed – The disappearance of Dr. Smith" room.  The theme of the room (from their website) is as follows:

Amidst the dry arid deserts of Egypt a lone building stands. It was once the study of renowned archaeologist Atlanta Smith, who has been missing and presumed dead for several months, in his quest for the treasure of Khufu. Your search for answers has taken a turn for the worst, and you're going to need to draw on all your investigative nous and powers of deduction to solve this mystery, evade an ancient curse and escape this room alive...

Entombed was our 91st room in Australia and our 61st room in Sydney.

Here’s what I liked about Entombed:

a)     much like Indisposed, Entombed is a really fun room.  Whilst the theme of Entombed is not quite as original as Indisposed, it was done well (and who doesn’t like an archaeological mystery)…;
b)     the clue system and room flow are quite unique.  The room is largely linear in design and the clue system matches this.  Rather than compete for the best time, at Room Eight players are competing for the best score.  Players start with 200 points and then points are deducted for each minute that players take to escape (as well as for any hints provided).  The hints are automated – the first hint for each puzzle is free and then players can ask for a second or third hint (but each comes with a higher point penalty).  There is also a dedicated game master watching your team, who will step in and provide guidance where needed;

c)     I am generally not a huge fan of linear rooms, given that they often create bottlenecks (with some players standing around watching because they can’t break up and attach different puzzles at the same time).  However, this room had a good flow and there were a number of puzzles that could be attacked in any order.  At no point did any of us feel like we were just standing around watching;

d)     the theming and props are nicely done – all of the props work well in the space;

e)     there were a couple of puzzles in Entombed that we had not seen anywhere before - this is always such an awesome thing (and after 90+ rooms, it is becoming more and more of a rare occurrence);

f)       there is a nice mix of hunt and seek fun in this room, together with a nice mix of low and high tech puzzle elements throughout;

g)     as with Indisposed, the owners have done a good job of integrating humour into the introductory video;

h)     both Indisposed and Entombed are well suited to families and kids.  I’m often asked to recommend family-friendly rooms and I can now add both of the rooms at Room Eight to that list; and

i)       Room Eight have designed both of their rooms as multi-lingual rooms – Steve mentioned half a dozen or so languages that this room can be run in.  It is quite unusual in Australia to have rooms that are suited to so many languages, but again given their touristy location I think it’s a great idea.

I have two minor criticisms of this room.  The first is that I think my team escaped in about 32 minutes or so (our score was 168 points), which is generally a sign that a room could do with another puzzle or two. That being said, I understand from Steve that given their location, the vast majority of teams are new players and many teams do not escape within 60 minutes.  This is something faced by all escape rooms – the difficulty of designing a room that newer players can escape from and which challenges enthusiasts.

I think both Entombed and Indisposed are “easy to medium” level rooms which are therefore best suited to newer players.  Given the touristy location of The Corso at Manly, I agree with Steve that this difficulty level is well-suited to the bulk of their customers. 

My only other criticism of the room is that it utilises black light (UV torch) in one particular puzzle.  From an escape room enthusiast’s perspective, my view is that  whilst UV light puzzles are very common in escape rooms, they are not strong puzzles (in that they are typically pretty inelegant and are not satisfying to solve).  All of the other puzzles suit the room theme really well (and the theming is great).  

We really enjoyed ourselves in Entombed – the treasure hunt mystery theme was great fun (who seriously didn’t enjoy Indiana Jones (at least the first 3 anyway) or Goonies (which was clearly the best film ever made)….  I’m also happy to report that each room at Room Eight is quite different to each other, which is great (particularly if, like us, you do their rooms back to back).  

As always, the biggest test of a good escape room for me is whether or not we had fun.  Entombed was great fun.  We will be back in the near future to try their third room, Targeted, once it opens.

Where:                                    2B, The Corso, Manly

Duration:                                60 minutes

Themes:                                 2 themes (and 1 more currently under construction)

Cost:                                       $40 per person ($160 paid for our team of four)

Overall Summary:                 Another fun, high quality, family-friendly room from Room Eight

More details:                

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