Escape Room Australia review: Gallery – The Insidious Art Thief

In brief

Location: Melbourne CBD
Date played: 11 April 2015
Players: 2 (2-8 recommended)
Hints: Maximum of 3 (accessed via a doorbell)
Escaped: Yes!

Overall rating: Review 4 locks
A fun room to cut your teeth on, but be prepared to take some leaps of logic.

A ‘five finger discount’ at an exclusive gallery…

Corridor in an art gallery
Forget these – it’s the priceless one in the safe you’re after… (‘Corridor’ by rene_beignet/CC 2.0)

Who hasn’t wanted to try and steal a famous artwork from a gallery? Not for personal gain or anything – that sends you to jail – but, you know, for the challenge of it. If that’s you, Escape Room Australia is here to help with Gallery – The Insidious Art Thief.

Gallery is a nifty little escape room that you can knock over while you’re out and about in Melbourne. The numbers of clues laid down for you to solve are ideal for 45 minutes, however some may have you scratching your head for a while trying to find a logical thread you can follow. Grab that thread and you’re on your way to nicking your first piece of artwork. Gallery doesn’t take up heaps of space, but transitions are suited to the environment and get you feeling like a master thief right from the outset.

We still feel somewhat awkward about having to do things most escape rooms tell you not to do. We’d hit this wall before when playing Enigma Room’s In Memoriam and to a lesser extent Paniq Room’s Military Bunker, but it didn’t make it any easier to get used to. We admit that we’ve sat through a few briefings and have become somewhat conditioned to what they will say to us, so your mileage may vary, but having to move things most escape rooms tell you never to touch might be a hurdle you need to jump.

Gallery – The Insidious Art felt like a much better room than Safari Jungle, the first we played at Escape Room Australia. For one, the puzzles were seemed solvable, and the props weren’t wearing away or highly sensitive, making it easier to progress without needing assistance. The difference, of course, is that Gallery is rated 3 compared to Safari Jungle’s 5, so if not getting frustrated and having a chance of escaping is important to you, choose accordingly. We were a bit hesitant after our first experience, but are glad we headed back and are eager to play more rooms from Escape Room Australia soon.

Team at Escape Room Australia
Escape Room Hunters @ Escape Room Australia

The breakdown

Puzzles: Review 4 locks

While there aren’t a lot of them, the puzzles in Gallery are challenging without being impossible (as was the case with Safari Jungle). Difficult puzzles are all well and good, but without subtle clues placed around the room that hint to the logic behind them, the chance of you picking where to start or transform the information you have into a padlock combination is rather low. Gallery doesn’t quite have those subtle hints; rather they’ve picked a difficultly level for their puzzles that make it more likely than not that you’ll suss out what to do on your own. It’s a fine line to walk, so while we got through ok, other groups may not (likewise others may do far better than we did).

Physical puzzles are always heaps of fun, and given the theme, they couldn’t have built this theme without the physical challenge in question. Top job.

Atmosphere: Review 4 and a half locks

The team at Escape Room Australia do a great job of dressing their rooms, and this one was as good as you’d hope it would be. Dramatic movie-esque background music allowed you to dream you were Catherine Zita Jones or Sean Connery, albeit for only 45 minutes.

A bit more attention to detail when creating the room would improve the atmosphere a bit: a smoke machine sat on the floor with a remote to activate more smoke, while some pathways between spaces can be hard to navigate if you’re not particularly mobile.

Customer service: Review 3 locks

Walk-up escape room bookings are great when you’re not sure if you’ll make it in time (we were en route to see Adam Hills), and Escape Room Australia gladly accommodated us.

Escape Room Australia use a doorbell system to call for clues, which is located next to the door you enter. This is normally fine, but given part of the scenario requires navigating a physical challenge, asking for help later on requires you to reverse this physical challenge to get back to the door. A secondary doorbell that’s accessed after this point would be one way to get around it.

Using a doorbell system allows venues to save of staff costs as they don’t need to actively monitor rooms to be able to provide assistance. This lack of monitoring became quite clear when we finished the room: we opened the final door and were greeted by an empty hallway. We found our way back to reception and informed the surprised staff that we were done.

Want more from Escape Room Australia? Check out our review of Jungle Safari.

About Escape Room Australia

Escape Room Australia is a franchise of Escape Room International which currently has escape rooms in Australia, Malaysia, United Kingdom and Vietnam, with a promise of rooms coming soon to India, Indonesia, Thailand, and United Arab Emirates. Escape Room Australia opened in August 2014 and currently has six rooms for you to try: Safari Jungle, The Vampire Chronicles, Gallery – The Insidious Art Thief, Slaughter House, Prison Break and The Mummy.

Escape Room Australia – Interactive Games Australia Pty Ltd
Shop 9 & 10, Level 1, Paramount Mall, 108 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

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