Location: Flemington, Melbourne
Date played: 19 October 2014
Players: 2 (Escape Room Melbourne recommends 2 – 6)
Melbourne’s original escape room and – by a long way – the best.
A Melbourne classic…
Escape Room Melbourne is a unique experience.
For one, it’s the only company we know of where the location is a secret until you book. Their Flemington room is also – to our knowledge – the only one that’s down the back of someone’s garden. We met the game master on the street – *sideways glances* “Are you here for the escape room?” – in a way we considered would have been somewhat amusing if we weren’t the people he was looking for. The dog announced its displeasure at our arrival as we pushed through the front-gate, walked down the side of an otherwise-normal Flemington house, and emerged in the backyard. A quick briefing, some waivers, and we were plunged into our first escape room experience.
Although Escape Room Melbourne was only the first we played, it has set the benchmark to which we have compared all escape rooms since.
Much has been written about the creators behind Escape Room Melbourne (see Broadsheet and TimeOut, to mention a few) and their vision has come to life. Their study in Flemington is incredible well prepared, with more puzzles than you can poke a stick at and a truly immersive environment. The old study really feels like you have stepped into a space that has only just been vacated, and the puzzles they left for you to decipher involve different senses and some clever thinking. It becomes readily apparent that the creators have spent many, many months devising, assembling and tweaking their puzzles to enthral people just like you.
The ‘room’ guides you along as you go, with gentle prods if you miss something and a handy hint when you need it. They game masters want people to succeed – who wants to feel like they failed? – and cleverly guide players towards the right answer if they are way off track, or allow people to nut things out themselves if they’re close. You also have 70 minutes (plus a bit more if you need it) which is the most generous time allowance we have seen to date. With the number of puzzles you must solve to escape, you are likely to need every second you’ve got.
The only downside of Escape Room Melbourne is that they are so incredible popular. We booked many months in advance to get in on a weekend, so some forward planning is necessary.
If you like lots of puzzles, Escape Room Melbourne’s Flemington room will not leave you feeling dissatisfied. There’s a good mix of simple and clever clues, requiring you to approach things from different angles and use different senses. Undoubtedly you will need a helping hand, and the assistance you receive will guide you back onto the right path rather than simply take you past that obstacle.
Each puzzle follows a path, denoted by coloured arrows. It’s only small, but in a room chock-a-block of clues, it helps to add context and streamline your journey through the room.
The study is among the larger escape rooms we’ve played, with heaps of space to accommodate the up-to-six players you can have on your team. It feels like a proper study, with all the trimmings you’d expect. Music plays softly in the background, adding to the ambience. The room is immaculately finished – the only thing that detracts from the overall experience as some overly-fragile key-operated padlocks we encountered. They’re old and fit the theme, but operating them with care can be difficult to do when you’re excited about having solved another clue.
When starting a new, unique and extremely popular game such as this, you would expect some teething problems. We ended up on the wrong end of an errant booking system as we found out a day before we were set to play that our time slot has been double-booked. We were a bit disappointed, especially after waiting so long for October to roll around, but thankfully we could move our game time to a slot earlier in the day.
On the day, our game master was great and helped us finish the room by giving clever hints and gentle nudges in the right direction.
About Escape Room Melbourne
The first live escape room to be built in Melbourne, Escape Room Melbourne currently have three rooms in two “secret” locations, Escape Room in Flemington plus Mine Escape and Kellar’s Magic Emporium in South Melbourne. The address of the room is sent to you in your booking confirmation, adding to the mystery. Your group of 2-6 players have 70 minutes to escape these rooms.
(Note: Actual address of Escape Room – Flemington is emailed to you after booking.)