Escape rooms are a craze that seem to have popped up overnight. The appealing thing about them is you never know too much until you try it for yourself. There are minimal photos or details about what these rooms entail as, of course, that would give the mystery away. For this reason we will be posting very limited photos too. We first came across escape rooms after seeing the concept on Ellen. After being intrigued we set out trying to find one in Melbourne. There seemed to be 8 or so scattered all around the city, most being in the CBD. Having tried a few at varying prices and skill levels, our stand out favorite was the 'Mausoleum Maddness' room at Xcape Melbourne in Brunswick.
To set the scene.......
The 'Mausoleum Maddness room is set in the year 210 BC, Emperor Qin passed away and was buried in a mausoleum built specifically for him. During Emperor Qin's reign, he ordered his people to build a large army made of terracotta, known as the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin. You are apart of a group of tourists. You come across local villagers who tell you a legend about thieves who once broke into the mausoleum and disturbed the spirit of Emperor Qin. The thieves were cursed and turned into living terracotta warriors. They also tell stories about people who have disappeared when they got too close to the mausoleum. Your friend, Jeff, was excited after hearing the stories. In the middle of the night, he took the journey to the mausoleum and never returned. The remaining group decide to visit the mausoleum the next day to find out what happened. You bump into the village leader and he warned against this risky journey. If you must go, he said, according to the elders, IF YOU OPEN A DOOR, THE DOOR MUST STAY OPEN SO YOU CAN ESCAPE DANGER.
Once you arrive at the mausoleum, you are knocked unconscious. You awake amongst the Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Qin. You only have one hour to escape, otherwise you will turn into a living terracotta warrior and can never leave the mausoleum.
We had 60 minutes to solve the clues and escape the room we found ourselves trapped in. Why we preferred this to all others so far is the level of technology involved. Most escape rooms are based around solving puzzles with pieces you find around the room to give you the code to a combination padlock. This room had minimal padlocks, instead utilised other things like the sound of your own voice to open a door you didn't even notice was there.
Lawson showed me a YouTube video of an escape room that Ellen had been talking about on her show. I knew this would be right up my alley because I have a secret obsession with board games and I figured this would be like a real life version of a board game. Escape rooms seem to have become so popular over night. The first few I went to, I just walked in off the street but lately I’ve found most places you need to make a booking. The experience in the beginning can seem a bit corny like one of those “how to host a murder mystery” games. Once you’ve picked the room based on the theme and difficulty they give you a back story of how you ended up in the room in the first place. That for me is where the corniness ends. Once in the room and the door closes behind you, there is usually a big clock on the wall that starts counting down your hour, the adrenaline starts to pump. Without even realizing, I found myself tearing around the room looking for clues. It’s such a good couple or team building experience because you really have to work well together. Everyone thinks a little differently, so a puzzle that you might struggle with, someone else might find easy. It was funny talking to the owners after because they had some great stories of things they needed to change based on mishaps that people had made. For example, a group of girls aged 13 went along for a birthday party. Within seconds of the door closing one had climbed the bookcase pulling it down on top of her with all the glass bottles crashing down around her. It’s fair to say that now they bolt the bookcase down and the bottles are made of plastic. Actually I’m pretty sure young children in general are now not allowed without the supervision of parents.
This has to be a must do for your to do list. The first time I heard about escape rooms was on Ellen (solid daytime TV) and it looked amazing. A lot of technology and gadgets used to unlock hidden compartments and what not. This escape room is one of the best I have been too. I was amazed at the technology they were using to open locks and doors. Cat and I are a pretty good team and once you have done a few escape rooms you get into the mind space of thinking outside the box. Its always nerve wracking before you go in, the fear of the unknown always gets you, as soon as the door closes behind you things get real. My brain goes into detective mode and i think everything is a clue. I'm always trying to think outside the box and come up with some unique way of solving the puzzle, that kind of thinking is going to help immensely in escape rooms. This escape room had me yelling NO WAY quite a lot as we went along. Escape rooms are kind of like lateral thinking puzzles but in real life which is right up my alley, I love being forced to think in different ways. My only criticism would be that they didn’t have a countdown timer in the rooms so we didn’t know how long we had left. If we had known we still had a bit of time we wouldn’t have asked for the last clue and instead would have given the last puzzle a better crack. After finishing an escape room the adrenaline and excitement from the room flows over in to real life. You start to expect everything to have some secret way of opening or at least hope it does, until your brain settles down from all the excitement. This is a great team building or relationship building exercise but in saying that it could also destroy teams and relationships. Good Luck escaping.