Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Expedition Escape Rooms - The Forgotten Son Review

Hi all

I was contacted by LeeOnn and Damien, the owners of Expedition Escape Rooms with an invitation to come and check out their new room in Redfern. 

This is Expedition’s second location, as they already operate rooms in Canberra.  Whilst the Canberra rooms are largely based on rooms designed by Rush Escape Rooms in Melbourne, the Redfern rooms will be designed by LeeOnn and Damien.

We checked out Expedition Escape Rooms’ room, entitled The Forgotten Son, on my birthday, having tried out Mission Sydney’s Unstoppable room beforehand with a quick dinner in between the rooms. 

We were our usual 4 team of players.  The Forgotten Son was out 107th room in Australian and our 77th room in Sydney. Here's the summary of The Forgotten Son from their website:

The sun is low on the horizon on your return trek in the High Country. As the cold starts to bite you notice a faint smell of wood fire lingering in the air and a flickering flame can be seen between the haze in the distance.

Seeking shelter you make way towards the light where you come upon an old wooden, rusty, tin house. The sounds of a sobbing child emanate from within. In sensing its distress and unable to leave the child you look for a way in.

Here’s what I thought:
  • owners LeeOnn and Damien are fellow escape room enthusiasts – they have escaped from over 100 rooms together.  I think I can pretty much always tell when owners are true enthusiasts – it generally shows;
  • the theming was really strong in The Forgotten Son.  The storyline is well-considered and continues throughout the experience (with some twists and turns).  I always appreciate attention to detail in the backstory (and this is something that many escape rooms don’t invest much time in);
  • the quality of the props was fantastic.  For much of the experience, we all felt like we were in the middle of the bush and 1,000 miles aware from suburbia.  This is not easy to achieve in a commercial building on a busy road – the owners have cleverly utilised lighting and sound to great effect;
  • the room flow is really well-designed.  There is a natural flow to the experience;
  • The Forgotten Son is one of those rooms that does high tech very well. Many rooms in Sydney have targeted the “high tech” segment of the escape room market, with much of their high tech very much on display.  The problem I have with this is that the majority of room themes don’t suit showy high tech.  The better rooms know how to utilise high tech elements in a seamless fashion.  The Forgotten Son contains several high tech puzzle and other elements, but the tech is all well-concealed;
  • in addition to the very strong theming, I think the greatest strength of The Forgotten Son is its puzzles.  There is a really nice mix of high-tech puzzle elements, together with some more traditional puzzle elements (what I perhaps incorrectly refer to as “traditional Hungarian” style puzzles, that are typically hand-made, low tech and quite visual in nature (often utilising special awareness skills).  I was really impressed with the puzzles in The Forgotten Son – they worked really well, both individually and on the whole;
  • there were a couple of puzzles in The Forgotten Son that were of a type that we have not seen before.  After 100+ rooms, this is becoming rarer and rarer; and
  • the voice of God system is utilised for communication between players and the game master in this room.  It is among the best methods of communication and for delivering hints and it worked well on the day.
We had a long chat both before and after we escaped from The Forgotten Son with Damien, one of the owners and our game master for the evening.  He took us through each of the puzzles and was very interested in receiving our feedback.

I am not sure now of our exact time, but I think we escaped in about 45-50 minutes, which indicates that this was a pretty difficult room.  We did get stuck on one particular puzzle, but we managed to get through the balance of the experience pretty quickly.  I would describe this room as a reasonably challenging room.

As always, the best measure of a great room was whether my team enjoyed it.  We very much enjoyed The Forgotten Son. 

Where:                   11A Cope Street, Redfern

Duration:                60 minutes

Themes:                 1 theme (but more on the way)

Cost:                       $46pp (but we played at the invitation of the owners)

Overall Rating:        An immersive, well themed experience with great puzzles

More details: