Location: Oakleigh, Melbourne
Date played: 17 January 2016
Players: 3 (EscapeXperience recommends 2-6)
Hints: Unlimited via walkie-talkie & the detective in charge
This room in one word: WOW. Our new favourite, by a long way.
Glitz, glamour, murder…
“Strange things are happening at the burlesque. You’re going undercover to investigate a series of mysterious disappearances. Behind the glamour and mystery lies a dark secret that someone is desperate to keep hidden. Can you solve the mystery and escape before it’s too late?”
And so begins your investigation.
EscapeXperience started their venture superbly with Amnesia, and somehow they have managed to take things to another level with Burlesque. Your investigations start before you even get into the room, with having to ‘break in’ before examining the room.
And what a marvellous room to examine. The luxurious and glamourous parlour you enter is incredibly detailed and full of an amazing array of objects to examine. Playing the role of detectives, you start perusing the items before you try to find who committed this crime.
There is so much we would like to say about this room but simply cannot. We want to shout from the rooftops what it was that made us love this room so much, but doing so would spoil the surprise that awaits you. You simply must go and play Burlesque.
Here’s a few things we can say about what the team at EscapeXperience have done right. Their puzzle work. The require unique and interesting ways of interacting with them. The design team appears to have said “we want a puzzle that requires you to do X” and never seemed to say “that might be a bit hard to do”. Clues are hidden in plain sight, the story and your role in it is consistently front-of-mind and the experience itself is genuinely thrilling. We’ve played a decent number of rooms around Australia (plus a couple in New Zealand) and nothing matches up to this. Superb.
EscapeXperience aren’t in Melbourne’s CBD (or even inner suburbs) but with two incredible-yet-different rooms on offer, they are well worth the trip down to Oakleigh. If you live in Melbourne, you need to ask yourself why you haven’t been there yet. If you aren’t in Melbourne, start looking at flights now.
EscapeXperience have partnered with the brains behind Escape Room Melbourne to create their rooms, and if Burlesque and Amnesia are anything to go by, we hope this is the start of a long and illustrious partnership. It isn’t simply an extension of ERM’s South Melbourne and Flemington rooms, though: while their fingerprints are all over this room, the team from EscapeXperience have clearly put their own spin on things and crafted some outstanding puzzles.
The puzzles fit with the story Burlesque tells. There are actions to perform, brain teasers to solve and conclusions to draw. EscapeXperience have amassed a diverse range of puzzles that will challenge each of the detectives in your team in different ways. There is enough to do for large groups – especially when nutting out one of the earlier problems – but at a later stage, when something really important and interesting happens, it would be difficult for large groups to see what’s going on. We only played with a team of 3 and yet we had to rotate positions, so we’d encourage the team at EscapeXperience to try and expand viewing opportunities of this critical stage so that more people can get involved.
Burlesque is immaculately finished, with period-appropriate furniture, colours, music and lighting. But there is something else that adds to the atmosphere… and it is brilliant. And we can’t really say any more than that.
The owners of EscapeXperience live and breathe puzzle games. It was abundantly clear from the moment we walked in their red door that we would be well looked after, and our debrief post-game was warm, generous and honest. Hints are delivered by walkie-talkie, but it’s not just a ‘game master’ chiming in: the supervising detective is helping you along the way. It’s a really nice touch that helps you stay ‘in character’ and keeps the flow of the game moving really well. We felt it odd that our supervising detective chimed in to help with a puzzle that we thought we were going ok on, but given we were ‘rookies’ on our first case, it’s understandable they might be anxious that we get things done right.
Want another opinion? Read another review from Escape Rooms in Melbourne Review.
Want more from EscapeXperience? Read our review of Amnesia.
Melbourne’s latest escape room, EscapeXperience opened in June 2015 with their room Amnesia. Burlesque followed shortly afterwards and another room is in the making, and their rooms are the result of a collaboration with the game masters from Escape Room Melbourne. Head towards the end of Eaton Mall near the Oakleigh Central shopping complex and look out for the red door.
Level 1, 38-40 Eaton Mall, Oakleigh VIC 3166
Note: While this map uses a different address to what EscapeXperience supplies, it actually shows where they are.