Location: Melbourne CBD
Date played: 10 January 2015
Players: 2 (Orz Escape recommends a 3-6; 2 minimum)
Hints: Unlimited (time added to your final score for the first 2 clues)
Escaped: Yes! (We ran out of time but were allowed an extra few minutes to finish the last puzzle)
Blind-folded, our host leads us one-by-one into the room. We are sleeping, she says, before leaving us with only a torch and our wits to get us through the next 45 minutes.
Before entering, we were warned that the first puzzle is the hardest and, if necessary, to ask for a hint early. Within a few minutes we feel we are making process, before self-doubt and over-analysis creeps in. We’re stumped, and the clock is counting down. Although the hint we receive is a long one, it is clear and leaves us to solve the riddle on our own.
There’s a sense of déjà vu as we launch into the second puzzle: we reckon we understand it, but all of a sudden, the clue we’re given to decipher it doesn’t add up. We battle on before – again – sheepishly asking for another clue. The answer was a little more obvious than we’d thought, and we’d taken a run and a leap ahead of the puzzle on complexity. Reminding ourselves to keep it simple, we progress on to the next puzzle.
The Endless Dream seemed, at times, exactly that – endless. The puzzles are challenging and require lateral and analytical thinking instead of clue-finding. The red herrings are extremely frustrating in that they are few (and therefore much more difficult to spot). For a room at this level of difficulty, 45 minutes doesn’t quite seem enough – although we escaped after being given a few extra minutes, the ticking clock rushed us through the room and at times forced our hand in asking for guidance. An hour would ease the pressure and allow a little more time to work through the challenges the room presents.
The puzzles were quite challenging, and really made you think laterally. As the first puzzle was the trickiest, we were given the tip before entering that we should call for help if we hadn’t made progress after 15 minutes. The first puzzle definitely had us thinking, and – without giving it away – working out the answer is quite complex and using the note paper is a must. The number of puzzles in the room is less than we expect from the average escape room, however with the pressure of the first puzzle hanging over our heads, we needed to ask for a hint for all but one puzzle. Once nudged in the right direction, the puzzle-master’s logic becomes clear.
The atmosphere in the room left a lot to the imagination. We felt the props and some of the puzzles in the room could be better themed to the story. While the room was dimly lit – like it would be if you were sleeping – it was quite difficult to work the puzzle locks while holding a torch.
The staff were extremely friendly, giving us a good briefing and useful hints that didn’t give away the answer directly to us. They also allowed us the extra few minutes we needed to finish the final puzzle. As a nice touch, we were also given a mini Polaroid of our team at the end of the experience.
Want more from Orz Escape? Check out our review of The Vanished Carnivale.
About Orz Escape
You have 45 minutes to escape each of the 3 escape rooms available at Orz Escape: Slaughter House, Endless Dream and Secret Invitation. The Orz Escape website recommends you complete The Vanished Carnivale and Endless Dream before attempting their hardest room, Secret Invitation, and suggest you bring along at least 2 friends. Although you have unlimited clues, extra minutes are added to your completion time, if you are feeling competitive.