Location: Sydney CBD
Date played: 5 April 2015
Players: 2 (Enigma Room recommends 2-6 players)
Hints: Unlimited (via tablet computer; two levels of difficulty offered)
Innovative and high-tech puzzles wrapped up in a great story.
Delving into the mind…
“A woman in a coma.
“No name, no identity. Condition deteriorating, time running out.
“To save her, you and your team must travel deep into her consciousness and relive her memories. Experience the joys of her past, and you may just save her future. But be quick, otherwise you might find yourself as nothing but another memory…”
Engima Room hits the nail on the head with their synopsis of In Memoriam. Your team are doctors sent into the mind of a woman in a coma, tasked with retrieving her memories before all is lost. If the mission fails within the narrow window of opportunity, your journey into her psyche will be a one-way trip.
In Memoriam is a fantastic room to play. It is challenging, innovative, engaging and – most of all – fun. Enigma Room use high-tech solutions that allow you to progress through the room without keys or combination locks. We’ve seen a handful of rooms employ a puzzle or two that fit this description, but at Enigma, it is the rule, rather than the exception.
Although the tech worked flawlessly, it was the low-tech puzzles that were still a little rough around the edges. Disappointingly the rooms lacked atmosphere and some of the props used had an ‘off-the-shelf’ quality. Those edges are easily knocked off, and with a bit of tweaking In Memoriam could go to the top of the tree of escape rooms in Sydney.
Enigma Room’s claim to fame in the Australian escape room landscape is the the technology behind their puzzles. Technology website CNET Australia even wrote an article about it (worth a read). This article whet our appetite for Enigma Room’s experiences, so when we headed to Sydney we made sure could play one of their rooms.
In Memoriam has some really clever puzzles. One of our number suggested we needed to perform a certain action, which prompted scepticism from the other: how could that action possibly work? We need a key, or a combination! Not so. It was a jaw-dropping and a genuine ‘wow’ moment. Hats off to the team at Enigma Room for being so innovative.
That being said, there were some really clever puzzles that were low-tech. They encouraged you to think differently and approach clues from another view point. These types of hints expand your way of thinking and can be really fun to solve, once you get yourself on the right track.
While the puzzles were clever and used interesting and unique technology to allow you to progress, they weren’t without fault. We were left a little deflated and confused of where to go when we found the first clue we received gave us information we couldn’t use until much later, and a later logic puzzle needed better instruction as to where to start. Help is available, but given the variables involved, it would be difficult to see how teams could navigate the challenge without guidance.
We were also stumped by the first proper puzzle that we needed to solve. Without giving anything away, we’ve played a fair few escape rooms and house-rules are generally the same: don’t break stuff, don’t need to move furniture, don’t die – that type of stuff. This puzzle required us to do something that most rooms encourage you not to do. The room set-up gave a gentle nudge as to what we needed to do (in hindsight, anyway), though we reckon a little more could be done to get people on the right path sooner rather than later.
Pre-room briefings are fast becoming an obligatory part of the escape room experience. Many venues create a video to ‘set the scene’, but Enigma Room have done the best job we’ve seen to date. Their video set up the premise underpinning the room really well. Clever camera angles and high production quality make it an effective medium, even if the game masters acknowledge the instructions relating to receiving hints is out of date.
While the props in the rooms fitted the theme of the room and the overall story-line, there was no music or background noise to provide an immersive experience. Although some game players might not think this is a vital component to a fun experience, we feel when this piece of the puzzle (pun intended) is missing, the overall impact of the room and experience is diminished.
Our game masters on the day were very accommodating and provided a good overview of the game before starting. When we arrive we are offered two levels of game play difficulty; receive hints only when we ask, or prompts from the game master along the way. Having done a few escape rooms already, we decide to opt to receive hints only when we ask for them. Hints are delivered via a tablet, which is used in the story-line, however, it was quite awkward to carry around and was easily forgotten about, until we needed that vital hint.
After completing the room, our host walked us through the room and gave a few insights into how the clues worked and subtle theme tie-ins that might not have been readily obvious when you’re desperately trying to solve puzzles. This was a nice touch that added to the escape room experience.
About Enigma Room
Enigma Room was started by 3 friends from uni who – at the urging of a mate who first played an escape room in London – decided Sydney needed a great puzzle-solving experience of their own (check out Interviral’s Q&A with Matt from Enigma Room for more).
They have been open since July 2014 and currently have two rooms on offer from Enigma Room, In Memoriam and Dr Disaster. Difficulty levels are incorporated into the rooms based on the way the hints are delivered. The easier method of game play involves hints being delivered by the game master throughout the game, irrespective of whether these hints have been requested. Hints delivered only when asked for them is considered the harder level of game play. Having these two differing types of hint delivery also also caters for differing preferences in game play.