Location: Malaga, Perth
Date played: 23 July 2016
Players: 5 (Ultimate Roomscape recommends 4-8 and ages 15+)
Hints: Maximum of 3 via a doorbell/switch
Escaped: Yes, with no hints!
Amazing atmosphere, great puzzles and an energising twist at the end.
Taken, but Liam Neeson isn’t going to help you…
“A group of mercenaries known as ‘The Clowns’ have been kidnapping and terrorising tourists in attempts to use them as ransom for the release of ‘The Clown’, the group’s mastermind himself. With little response and no cooperation from respective countries, ‘The Clowns’ have resorted to beheading their captives with little regret. Unfortunately, your holiday is cut short and have fallen victim to such crimes. With no hope of outside help, you and your team’s only chance of survival is to work together and escape!”
Kidnapped is a chilling and haunting room. The team at Ultimate Roomscape have pulled out all the stops in creating an incredibly immersive room, with sound effects, lighting effects and detailed set dressing combining for an eerie atmosphere. Anticipation builds as you enter and are strategically placed in the room, and when the blindfolds come off, your brain starts racing. You know what your first task is, but how to solve it? What’s a clue, and what’s a distraction? How fast is that clock ticking?
This room is brilliant. There’s so much going on, and a lot to explore. It’s also more than a little bit creepy, and while nothing jumps out at you as such, it may not be up your alley if you’re easily startled. If that’s you, make your friends pull back curtains and investigate dark spaces first. The creepy atmosphere also reaches into the story and the puzzles, with a nice subplot running along in the background while you work on your primary objective: escaping your kidnappers.
And escape you must. The game designers at Ultimate Roomscape have concocted a room of devilish proportions. There are a host of challenges to overcome and get your team working together. While there are some tricky puzzles that may have you scratching your heads for a while (especially if you haven’t played any/many escape rooms before), Kidnapped isn’t hardest room we’ve played before but there’s plenty to do and it’s still a great challenge.
As you have probably gathered, we think Kidnapped is a great room. Ultimate Roomscape have done a lot of things right, but there’s still room for improvement, particularly with the puzzles and customer service (see below). Those flaws aren’t huge, but with little tweaks this room could sit among the top five we’ve played.
The team at Ultimate Roomscape are evolving their rooms, learning from previous scenarios and making things bigger and better. We can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Kidnapped has a variety of puzzles involving a bunch of different senses. Communication is important, but we were surprised that even though there was a minimum of four people required to play the room, there wasn’t a puzzle that required that many people to solve it. We found a wide variety of puzzles and a mix of searching, with a really nice sound-related clue that we’ve not seen before. Even better, that particular one fit really well with the theme!
The main downside came towards the end. Without giving too much away, we had a series of questions that had to be answered in order to get out, but many relied on ‘general knowledge’. The problem with general knowledge is that not everyone knows these things that are being asked: we’ve all had different experiences in life, are from different religious backgrounds (if any), went through different school systems or have differing levels of life experience. Some players might not even be proficient in English! So it’s a rather big assumption to make that someone in the room will know the answer to general knowledge questions unless there is a resource in the room that can be referenced. Some of the general knowledge questions we received were multi-choice, allowing others in a set to be answered based on clues in the room before making a guess (if no-one knew), but some sets had more than one general knowledge question and not all of them were multiple choice. There were some really fun questions in this segment that changed the dynamic of the room – if Ultimate Roomscape ditched the general knowledge questions for those more with hints in the room, we’d be comfortable pushing up our rating a notch.
In a word: wow. Ultimate Roomscape have delivered a room that is among the most immersive we’ve played. Sound, lighting, props, detail and transitions are wonderful. The room is a little creepy in places and while nothing jumps out at you (in the literal sense) there are still some surprises that might startle you. It all keeps you on edge and it fits really solidly with the theme. Even better, the puzzles fit in really well with the story and the setting. It’s a lot of fun, slightly scary and brilliantly done.
Our game master, Miguel, recognised us from a previous game (all of our team of five had played there previously), so we got the super-express briefing about their room. Service on arrival and departure was professional and efficient.
While we didn’t experience it this time around, as we didn’t need any hints, our biggest concern with customer service is the way that clues are delivered. Ultimate Roomscape use the doorbell system: give it a ring and someone will come in to help you. It doesn’t appear that rooms are actively monitored by a dedicated game master (from our experience in The Lost Scepter of Tutankhamen) so when they arrive, you have explain where you’re up to and what you need help with. In such an immersive room as Kidnapped, this would break the atmosphere they’ve worked so hard to build. In addition, there’s a time cost in using this method: once you finally decide to call for help, you have to wait for the game master to make their way to the room, then after explaining what’s going on they’ve got to decide what clue to give you and make sure they’ve been of assistance. An immersive clue/communication system like an old telephone or even a basic walkie-talkie set up would minimise disruption and give the highest possible level of service to customers.
About Ultimate Roomscape
Ultimate Roomscape are flying the escape room flag in the northern suburbs of Perth, and since opening in early 2015 have already turned over a number of their rooms. Currently there are three on offer: Viral Outbreak, Lost Scepter of Tutankhamen and Kidnapped.