Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Review: Escapism - Forensic

Hello, my fellow escape artists. No Way Out has been booked back in for the 9th of August. In the meantime, have a backdated review for Forensic at Escapism.


The room is unusually small, and even with just four of us, I feel like I’m running out of air.

It’s almost as though I’ve looked at these same clues for ten whole minutes now, and there has been no epiphany, no sudden realisation that brings everything together. I glance at the digital clock in the corner, its huge red numbers blinking seconds away ominously and – oh my god, I’ve actually been staring at this for ten whole minutes!

I try to stay calm – we started this room almost fifteen minutes ago and we haven’t solved a single thing. This has never happened before. “Guys? Guys? Have we figured anything out yet?”

There is a frantic moment of ruffling, slamming and futile rattling of locked compartments.

“No. No. I don’t know.”

And that’s when the panic set in.

Following on from the good time I had in the Butcher’s Burrow, I was back a few weeks later with a new group of friends to try Forensic at Escapism. Intimidated by the fail rate (over 95%), but determined to be in the top percentile, we arrived armed with fresh minds and plenty of enthusiasm.

Due to the size of our party, we decided to split into two groups, one agreeing to be kidnapped by the Butcher, and the rest of us opting to hunt down a serial killer. For many of us, the escape room was a new concept and staff gently eased us in, giving as thorough a run down as they could, even with the abdomen jolting thump of bass resounding throughout the bar.

The young man who briefed my group for Forensic took particular care to effectively disorientate us, blindfolding the group and leading us in a staggering conga line around the bar before depositing us in the room.

Escapism: Forensic Summary
Difficulty: 9.5/10
To date, Forensic remains the most difficult room I have ever had to solve. To put this in perspective, Forensic was my second time in an escape room, and I have attempted 13 rooms at the time of writing this review. While other rooms, such as Gate 9A at Parapark and the Abandoned Military Bunker at Paniq Room are difficult due to the geography of hunt-and-seek style escape, Forensic’s puzzles are genuinely challenging. You will strain the furthest bounds of your logical and lateral reasoning, but fear not, the designer of Forensic is fair. There is a reasonable and natural progression to the room, and if you are alert and careful, you will not be lead astray. Whether due to lack of experience or honest inability, my skills were tested by Forensic. There is a dread like nothing else when you struggle against the clock, and the gratification of a correct answer has never been so sweet.
Theme: 8/10
You are hot on the trail of a serial killer. All things considered, it is not a tough ask for the puzzles to remain relevant, and Forensic does a fair job of this. Oddly enough at the start of the game, there are several puzzles that seem strangely out of place, wielding the random excuse of the investigator being an ex-military man (or something to that effect), although as you go on, the logic devolves into appropriately cryptic clues as you get closer and closer to finding the perpetrator. The environments play with contract and lighting and space in very clever ways, and I actually had the pleasure of watching a grown man recoil at the sight of a room that was just a little too full-on for his comfort.
Staff: 7/10
Please see my review for The Butcher’s Burrow. We completed our room at about half-past nine. They were so keen on closing up by the time we got out that they didn’t even debrief or take a photo of us – they just wanted to go home.
Quality and Venue: 6/10
Please see my review for The Butcher’s Burrow.
Overall: 8.5/10
Despite the venue and the few moments of enraged panic at a dead dial tone, we had a lot of fun. The second we hurtled out of the final door left us dizzy with relief. A thoroughly enjoyable challenge.

What we did:
4 players
3 hints (one major hint in a blind panic towards the end)
Finished with a breathless 2:06 minutes to spare.

Players: 2-6
Duration: 50 minutes
Child-friendly? No: neither in theme, nor in difficulty. If you’re looking to have a good time with the family, try the Secret Garden at Escapism.
Price: $100 per team (regardless of number of players) on Monday to Thursday; $150 per team on Friday to Sunday.
Booking: Available online or by phone. They will ask for a full payment in advance.

Strike King Street Wharf
22 The Promenade
King Street Wharf, Sydney
1300 787 453 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Update 20/07/15

As luck would have it, I received a very apologetic SMS from Mike, coordinator of No Way Out at around 11:30am on Sunday morning, profusely apologising for a power outage.

By this bizarre coincidence, we unfortunately must reschedule once more - my craving for escape room shenanigans grows stronger.

I will post a review as soon as we've sorted something out. Let's hope technical difficulties don't hinder us again.

- spheri

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Update 05/07/15

So yesterday didn't quite work out. Unfortunately, No Way Out had an accident the previous night, and some of their equipment was damaged.

As a result, all of Saturday's bookings were cancelled. The staff handled the setback very professionally, letting us know a good few hours beforehand, and offering to reschedule us as soon as possible.

We'll be re-booking in for 19th of July, so there'll be a review up then.

Thanks for your patience, guys!

- spheri