Xcape – Chamber of Secrets

Till date this is still one of the best all-rounded escape room experiences, with varied logical puzzles as well as nice flashes of realisation throughout.

Although the storyline didn’t make sense to me (it was kind of absent right after the room started) I was still impressed with the room as a whole, due to its rather creative layout. This room managed to bring out the inner child in me as I was constantly being amused by several interesting props as well as various surprises that lay in store.

The puzzles are not difficult, but there are enough of them such that you would be entertained for the most part of the hour, especially if your team is small. That would mean that this escape room is not linear, with multiple things that can be solved at the same time, making it just that bit more challenging for experienced teams. You are required to put two and two together and draw some rather clever connections at multiple points throughout your journey, which is what makes this room feel really satisfying.

Although this isn’t as high tech and decked out as many other Xcape rooms are (forgive it for being really old), it does contain a couple of interesting props which I wouldn’t comment more about. By nature of the room layout, at least one person in your team should be physically able to clear this room.

All that being said, this room does contain abit of everything ranging from cool puzzles to physicality to hidden surprises and interesting props. It is rare that a room does not have something for me to nitpick at (I generally don’t mind the lack of storyline as long as the puzzles are strong) and I feel that beginners and experienced players will be able to enjoy this room alike. My team of 6 wasted some time and still cleared it with over 10 minutes left, so a good number would be 4 players. Any less and it might be difficult.

Difficulty: 6.5/10

Atmosphere: 6.5/10

Technology: 5/10

Logic: 9/10

Overall enjoyment: 8.5/10

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Xcape – Shanghai 1943

For starters, this is not your typical escape room game. It is a who-is-the-murderer type of mystery solving game where you and your friends role play as various characters to find out who amongst your group is the secret murderer. For those who are familiar with the Korean game show “Crime Scene”, this room plays by the same rules as the game show, giving fans of the show a chance to experience what it is like first person.

Just like in the original game show, searching is probably the most important skill here, with various key pieces of incriminating evidence hidden among numerous red herrings. It does take abit of thought to piece together the entire story, with several fun realisations along the way. This is more true with regards to discovering each character’s own backstory, which might not be closely related to the main plot but still provides a rather satisfying experience.

It is definitely not easy to design a game like this, due to the various details needed for everything to make sense when viewed by each of the characters independently, but xcape does a pretty good job here. The character files originally presented to each player may have a couple of annoying flaws here and there (contradicting pieces of information) and they could have definitely been improved, but I feel that it is nitpicking to say any more.

There is also a rather cool “escape room moment” in the game, which I personally really loved. Other than that the sets are pretty well done up, and your team dresses up before the game starts to fit your character roles, which is a fun touch too.

This isn’t a game for beginners as the case is far from straightforward. Also, the secret murderer would have to play relatively well, too, though the locations of the key pieces of evidence somewhat helps out with that (yes, I’m terrible at searching). It is rather pricey but I think it is worth it to try something unique like this at least once; and although I was completely off in my guess of the true culprit, I did enjoy myself.

As this is not an escape room per se, I will not rate it according to the usual rubric.

Xcape – Kung Fu Panda X – The Revenge of Tai Lung

This was my first xcape funtasy room, and it did live up to my expectations rather well. One word to describe it: fun. If you come here expecting anything else then you’ll be disappointed.

The puzzles are really easy, to the extent of following instructions and completing tasks to move on from one stage to the next. The physical puzzles at the start do encourage some creative thinking and are pretty cool in their own right, and those near the end reflect well on the nature of this room and its storyline.

Just like most xcape rooms, this room is full of tech and dramatic effects. Nearly every step we took towards escaping amused me in some way and will certainly please those kung fu panda lovers out there. The last stage encompasses one of the coolest finales of an escape room I’ve seen. Do note that this room requires you to be mobile and dexterous to some extent ar various points, especially if your group is small.

From what I’ve heard from others, the staff would blindfold you before leading you into the starting room, and this makes perfect sense due to the layout of everything. However, at the time of playing, my team just got brought in without the blindfolds and this did spoil some of the surprises later on. Not sure if this was a permanent change or it somehow just happened to my team.

This is the room to pick if you’re looking for a fun adventure that’s easy on the puzzle side. A good team size would be 4 players.

Difficulty: 2/10

Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Technology: 9.5/10

Logic: 7/10

Overall enjoyment: 8.5/10

Freeing SG – Twilight

This room is a classic freeing room with several technological flairs, as well as relatively simple and fewer puzzles, therefore making it a good pick for beginners.

The puzzles here are pretty easy, to the extent you may escape within less than half an hour if you’re experienced. I have a minor gripe with a mid game puzzle, but I guess it was still reasonable to figure it out on a whole. Nevertheless, there are a couple of interesting ones that feel pretty realistic, and are well-woven into the storyline more literally than I expected, which is nice.

Technology here is typical of what you can expect of freeing: A couple of cool mechanisms that spice up regular code locks. Though not as extensive as in some of their other rooms like the enchanted wardrobe and poseidon, I would say the mechanisms here are well utilised to add to the thrill factor of escaping.

This room is creepy but not overly so, and would be good for 2 players due to its scale and linearity.

Difficulty: 2/10

Atmosphere: 6/10

Technology: 7/10

Logic: 7/10

Overall enjoyment: 7/10

Living Legends SG – Jeremiah’s Manor

From the get-go, I got the feeling that this room would be something special. The effective introduction got us into the right frame of mind, and the hint system is in theme with the room, something which I haven’t really seen elsewhere in Singapore. There is a nice little twist that the staff introduced to us before the start of the game, and was essential to progress in the room.

Technology is top notch, and used to great effect. The room is a little reminiscent of the apartment, with several well-timed triggers throughout the game. More importantly, everything is there for a purpose and the tech is seamlessly integrated into the storyline. More and more things that originally seemed decorative became involved in the adventure as we moved along, and we really felt like investigators in a mystery. Technology is also used to develop the paranormal aspect of the story, which led to a stunning moment in the game. The best part is that everything worked, which isn’t even close to a certainty in most high tech rooms around here.

The puzzles are logical and flow along with the storyline. Everything you do has a purpose in advancing the storyline, to quite an extent you don’t get elsewhere. Instead of being almost purely executional like most other high tech creepy rooms, the puzzles presented here are varied and pose a decent intellectual challenge.

To add on, this room has multiple endings, depending on the actions you take throughout the game! This is the first time I’ve seen such a thing in an escape room, which added to the wow factor. It doesn’t seem like an obvious choice would be made during the game, but it exists, and to varying degrees as well. The room isn’t replayable, unfortunately. Also, the owners have introduced a nightmare mode (extra special effects) and easy mode (for beginners), which is also something new and very thoughtful of the owners. Our team played the nightmare mode, which is really atmospheric and impressive, but overall not too scary. This room has a generous 90 minute time limit, and appropriately features enough content.

The staff are extremely friendly and are willing to discuss your experience after the game, which is always nice. This room is good for 4-5 players, and is really spacious. You could even accommodate up to 8 if you like (the puzzles aren’t entirely linear, which is a good thing).

To sum it up, this is one of the best escape rooms I’ve ever played. Nearly nothing comes close, especially in terms of immersion and overall cohesiveness. It is a must play! I’m looking forward to their upcoming two rooms.

Difficulty: 6/10

Atmosphere: 10/10

Technology: 10/10

Logic: 9/10

Overall enjoyment: 10/10

Roomraider SG – The Crypt

Roomraider closed down its first outlet a couple of months ago before I had the chance to try a second room there, which is kinda sad. Nevertheless, as the escape room scene evolves and other companies like the escape artist and escape hunt come up with new rooms which are pretty well done, I was excited to try one of the new roomraider rooms.

The crypt was an Egyptian tomb raiding game, and I wanted to experience another room of this sort after having played Lost SG’s Exodus last year. However, even after lowering my expectations, I didn’t have a good impression the moment I stepped into the room. The room was half-decorated, with wallpaper covering only half the walls. To add to that, there were several electrical contraptions such as radios, chargers and number pads that made me wonder if I was actually in an ancient tomb.

There are very few ‘puzzles’ in this room, and some of them require unfair intuitive leaps to solve. Often you might find yourself at a loss of what to do next thanks to the numerous unfair red herrings around. Honestly without these red herrings you would be able to escape within 15 minutes. I kept telling myself that the room would get better as we progressed along but it was quite the opposite. There weren’t any satisfying moments that arose from solving clever puzzles.

There is little tech employed, mostly in the form number pads. The fact that there were wires and cables and the like lying around only served to lower immersion levels. The room is so bare yet it is rather searchy, which isn’t a good place to be in. There is no physicality involved in this room as well.

I feel that this room is bad, and if you really want to try it you can fit up to 3 people inside. But don’t. There are many other better rooms out there which deserve your attention. This room feels like something so half-baked (yes I have a big gripe about the wall papers) and so raw and… I don’t know what else to say. Maybe I’m being extremely harsh in this review, but it is really what it is.

Difficulty: 6/10

Atmosphere: 2/10

Technology: 2/10

Logic: 1.5/10

Overall enjoyment: 0/10

Captivate Escape Rooms – Cirque

I’ve always enjoyed captivate rooms due to their creative and original puzzles, and I came back to play their newest room with that expectation. To keep a long story short: this room didn’t disappoint, and delivered on other fronts as well.

Quite surprisingly for captivate, there is a little technology incorporated into this room. Sometimes it is just used to provide an alternative to the regular locks that you commonly find in captivate rooms, and at other times it is part of a creative puzzle. This adds some variation to the room.

The puzzles in this room are rigorous and logically strong. There are also a great variety of them, and of varying difficulty levels as well. As you might come to expect of captivate, they have interesting props that feature hands-on problem solving at more than one point, and this added to the fun factor of the room. Atypically for a captivate room, this room feels tougher than usual, with several cool moments of realisation to be made, which is always nice. Also unusually for captivate, this room actually engages the storyline midway through, which makes the entire experience feel more cohesive and well-rounded.

Amongst captivate’s collection, this room is a nice, tough one. It may seem rather bare at times, but you’ll be surprised that good searchers would be important at points. Also note that this room isn’t completely linear, so do be organised when sorting out clues. There is a reasonable amount of space, and therefore I would recommend 3-5 players.

On a side note, I attempted this room with the author of escapingsg.wordpress.com. Do check out her review here!

Difficulty: 8/10

Atmosphere: 7.5/10

Technology: 5/10

Logic: 9/10

Overall enjoyment: 8.5/10

Xcape – Vampire Diaries

This room feels like a buck in the trend of high-tech Xcape rooms, with numerous code locks around. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the surprise factor is still kept up by other factors (more on that below).

The puzzles are fairly logical in nature, and are unlikely to pose challenges to any experiences players as the formats aren’t anything particularly special or new. Still, the number of steps needed to escape this room is on the high end, such that experienced players won’t escape too quickly. This also means that beginners might find it tough to progress far enough for this room to make it worth playing. Some puzzles may feel tedious, especially when it is difficult to input the answer even when you know you’ve got it right.

Technology is used sparingly, and doesn’t really add much to the overall experience when it is employed. However, there are two stunning moments in this room due to its physical layout, and I think that this room is worth playing just to experience them. The seemingly disconnected storyline did become more relevant as the room approached the critical moment, and you have to play it to experience it.

This room is good for 4-5 players, to help with the more tedious puzzles as well as some searching on the way. Do ask for hints when you are stuck as there is quite a lot to be done, or else you will never get to experience the room’s highlights before time runs out. Beginners might feel more frustrated than anything, as progress will likely be slow, so I wouldn’t recommend this room to them. Other than that, this is a pretty good room as a whole.

Difficulty: 8/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Technology: 4/10

Logic: 7.5/10

Overall enjoyment: 8/10

Freeing SG – Poseidon

This is a very adventurous room, on multiple fronts, with dramatic flourishes and other special effects going on. I won’t say that it’s difficult by any measure, but it certainly contains more to do than the average freeing room, which is definitely a good thing. The atmosphere is well done up, especially in the first half of the room, and makes the setting feel rather realistic.

The puzzles are nothing really special, and are quite reliant on matching. However, the formats they take on are creative and rather novel at times, so I’ll give the room credit for that. There is also an obvious effort made to make the puzzles storyline-relevant, though I felt that this only partially succeeded.

This room shines on the tech front, with multiple cool moments that will impress even seasoned players. The start of the room is also particularly inspired and relates well to the entire theme and backstory. If anything, you have to play this room just for its beginning, and that’s not saying the rest of the room has nothing to offer. Technology-infused surprises continue to present themselves right till the very end, and a dramatic moment near the conclusion is just the cherry on top. Unfortunately, the use of technology often lends itself to failure, which happened more than once to my team. That made things feel more frustrating than it should have, and did affect the overall enjoyment score below. If your team is lucky enough to not face these problems, then your experience would be a great one.

Do note that this room as well as the enchanted wardrobe room at the very same plaza sing outlet are similar in nature, especially in the ending, so it would be my advice to not play these two rooms back to back or within a short span of time. In either case, the second of these two rooms might feel less impressive than the first. Regardless, I still recommend both rooms due to their obvious strengths. 2 players are enough, and the room would be crowded with any more than 4.

Difficulty: 5/10

Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Technology: 9.5/10

Logic: 6/10

Overall enjoyment: 5.5/10 (due to tech failure)

Freeing SG – Back to the Future

For starters, I would say that this is a rather atypical freeing sg room, and for the right reasons. It has several cool moments and fun hands on tasks in addition to logical puzzles, and wraps everything up nicely with a rather cohesive storyline that I liked. Most other freeing rooms have storylines or descriptors that are essentially there for display; this room actually makes creative use of the story to provide a well-rounded experience.

The puzzles are logical and there is a decent mix of them. Most importantly, they are well integrated into the setting and largely connected to the story. There is quite a hefty chunk of reading to be done, but you shouldn’t skip over it as it would be crucial towards developing the storyline and your overall experience in the room. However, there is an annoying flaw with one of the props. That actually resulted in us completely skipping a lock and that did absolutely nothing to hamper our progress (more on that later). Other than that, there were a decent number of puzzles to engage your team for the most part of the hour (unlike a number of their newer rooms) so that was certainly appreciated. Do note that people who can read Chinese, or at least recognise Chinese characters might have an easier time.

As this room is set in the Singapore of the old days, there isn’t much in the way of technology or automation, but freeing does what it does well to include many fun hands on puzzle solving aspects. The physical tasks as well as the nature of the room setup might (and I believe have already) unintentionally encourage teams to be more creative than they should to achieve certain desired outcomes. This might not necessarily be bad (since it’s sort of part of the escape process) but as mentioned above we completely skipped over a locked box due to this. The ending is also really cool.

Yes, this is a room that I enjoyed as it was creative, logical and cohesive, in addition to the couple of cool surprises which you must experience, especially if you’re a seasoned escape room player. It is good for 2-3 players and is on the tougher end of freeing’s rooms.

On a side note, I attempted this room with the author of the blog escapingsg.wordpress.com and had a great time! Do check out her review here.

Difficulty: 7/10

Atmosphere: 8.5/10

Technology: 6.5/10

Logic: 8.5/10

Overall enjoyment: 8.5/10