Thursday 26 October 2023

Mission Sydney - Intruders Review (Sydney)

Hi all

In October 2023, my usual team of 4 returned to Mission Sydney to check out their latest room, Intruders.  They kindly invited us to return some months before, but it took us that long to sort ourselves out (as this was certainly not a room that we could bring our daughters to).

Intruders was the only Mission Sydney game to date that I hadn’t yet played.  In fact, our second ever game way back in September 2014 was Mission Sydney's Vampire Castle.  You can see my review of that room,  here (and the room is still available to play today).

Some 226 rooms later, Intruders was our 228th escape room. The summary of the room from their website is as follows:

A hospital outside a town was mysteriously abandoned a few years ago and the local council has ordered the hospital to be demolished in the early hours of this morning. There have been reports of alarms sounding at night from inside the hospital and the initial investigation team disappeared for an unknown reason.  You have heard that a YouTube director who investigates paranormal activities has organised an urban exploration before the hospital is demolished. For your own personal reasons, you asked if you could join as part of his film crew.  You only have 90 minutes to sneak into the hospital to discover why the hospital was abandoned before the demolition crew arrives.

Here is what I thought of Intruders (apologies if it’s a case of TLDR…):

·        Intruders was genuinely fantastic.  Before we started, our game master said that she really hoped that we would like the room, but noted that it was different to a typical escape room. And she was right – Intruders is not your typical escape room.  There are probably only half a dozen traditional style escape room puzzles in Intruders, but that’s not the main drawcard here;

·        Intruders is described as “escape room theatre”, which is exactly what it is.  Some of my favourite experiences over the past 9 years have been immersive theatre experiences set in an escape room (or adjacent) world, such as Monroe & Associates (a superb spy-themed experience set in a caravan) and Art Heist (a brilliant art heist-themed room set in an art gallery).  But these were temporary, pop-up offerings only. Whilst a few permanent escape rooms have included a game master NPC actor inside the space, I wouldn’t describe any of those as true immersive theatre;

·        I am genuinely happy to confirm that with Intruders, Sydney-siders have a permanent immersive theatre offering.  The experience begins standing outside of an abandoned hospital. You are part of a YouTube crew looking to get some footage of some paranormal activities going on inside the hospital;

·        our YouTube director was “George”, a young up and coming director with high hopes for his future career (which hadn’t quite taken off yet).  George’s performance throughout was brilliant – he ensured that all 4 of us were engaged and involved, pushed us all at different times out of our comfort zone, cracked jokes, made weird music references and gave us nudges in the right direction where needed (without spoiling anything at all).  Immersive theatre experiences like these are only as good as the actor that players get to interact with and George was as good as they come;

·        the theming throughout this experience was of the incredibly high quality that we have come to expect from Mission Sydney rooms.  Despite being in an escape room on George Street, we felt like we were really inching our way through an abandoned hospital in the middle of nowhere.  Lighting and cool strobe effects, music, and other audio were used to really ramp up the level of immersion;

·        a question I suspect many of you are asking is well, just how scary is Intruders?  At the time of writing this review, I have played probably 10 or so scary rooms around the country (and some in LA).  Usually in scary rooms I am the member of my team who is pushed into dark corridors or cupboards, etc because it doesn’t usually phase me to any great extent.  I enjoy jump scares too, so they don’t normally bother me too much.  However, I was f*%&ing horrified in Intruders;

·        after having thought about it for almost a week after playing, I think there are a number of elements that resulted in me being petrified.  Intruders f*&@s with your mind – it’s not just a matter of there being 100 jump scares, but it’s more of an art of selecting when to scare you.  The room design is also incredibly clever – by assigning players different roles, players are then forced to perform certain tasks that they need to do (so there is no avoiding getting involved).  As far as room flow goes, there are also clever moments where players are funnelled into certain spaces which require them to be brave.  You would also think that having George with you the whole time might make you feel a little safer, but you would be wrong;

·        I have never been so scared in an escape room, period. I have also never sworn at an actor as much as I did in Intruders – George was great, but I lost count of the things I called him by the end of the experience ;-)

·        as with all immersive experiences I have played before, the greatest fun for me is derived from making actors break character.  I consider it my personal challenge.  I am pleased to report that on at least 2 occasions, I secured a decent laugh from George :-)

Intruders is pretty expensive compared to some other rooms, but please take my word for it when I say it is 100% worth the money.  Not only is it a 90 minute experience, part of the fee includes paying for multiple live actors.  If you don't want to take my word for it - check out Mission Sydney's reviews (particularly of Intruders) on TripAdvisor - so many 5 star reviews and for good reason.

This room, as well as Mission Sydney's various other rooms, shows just how far they have come over the past 9 years since their Vampire Castle room. Despite being well known for their high tech and visually spectacular rooms, Mission Sydney do not just make the same type of room – their rooms are really quite different and varied.  This is certainly the case with Intruders, given that it is much more of an immersive theatre experience than it is an escape room.  It was so good, I wish I could go back and play it again (but honestIy, I’m too f(#*ing scared to).

After the experience, my daughters asked my wife what we thought of Intruders.  Her response was “your father almost pooped his pants”.  Truer words were never uttered.

Where:                        Mission Sydney (George St)

Duration:                    90 minutes

Themes:                      8

Cost:                           $87 per person (assuming team of 4)

Overall Rating:           Brilliantly immersive and horrifyingly scary

More details:    


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