Location: Oakleigh, Melbourne
Date played: 8 June 2015
Players: 2 (EscapeXperience recommends 2-6)
Hints: Unlimited via walkie-talkie
An excellent multi-sensory escape room experience in the ‘burbs of Melbourne.
A lifetime of memories, slipping away…
“December 22, 1947.
“You wake in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are or how you came to be there. The door has been locked behind you; the window boarded up. Outside, there is chaos on the streets as the world is threatened by a new catastrophe.
“Can you remember why you’re here and what you need to do to escape before it’s too late?”
EscapeXperience have created an incredible and enthralling puzzle room to kick of their suburban Melbourne venue. Amnesia is one of the most clever rooms we have played to date, and save for taste, their puzzles will involve all of your senses.
The story evolves and morphs as you wind your way through the scenario, and your objective becomes clear. We have played some rooms that seamlessly integrate a storyline into their puzzles, and others… not so much. EscapeXperience is definitely the former: the clues you solve play a direct role in the storyline. It’s sad to say, but this is a refreshing change for the norm.
Allan Edgar Poe once said “the best place hide anything is in plain view”. We don’t want to give anything away, but when you solve some of the clues, you’ll find the key or combination has been available to you the whole time. Without a clue, however, you have slim chance of pinpointing its location. We thought this was really clever – kudos to the game designers for this one.
We played EscapeXperience in their first week, and Amnesia was the only room open. The waiting area was still to be fully kitted out, but looked like it will be humming along nicely by the time we come back to play another room. It was a little hard to find – the map in their confirmation email and on their website conflict with each other and the actual location of the venue – but these bugs are relatively easy to stamp out.
We’re not sure how much traffic an escape room in outer-suburban Melbourne can get, but judging from Amnesia, we can say it’s thoroughly worth the trek out of town.
EscapeXperience have puzzles that involve four of your five senses. We’re yet to see anyone use a taste-based clue yet, and until now, we hadn’t seen a puzzle that relied on touch. The ingenuity showed in creating some truly original puzzles was impressive. Amnesia is a really well designed room with fantastic clues.
The only criticism we have is that one puzzle requires you to do something every escape room tells you not to do. Tampering with electrical equipment is a big no-no, so when a clue suggested should do something along those lines, we were extremely hesitant. Maybe our experience is slightly different to others as we’ve played more than a couple escape rooms and have sat through a fair few briefings. Maybe we just suck at following instructions. Or maybe game designers could avoid asking players to do something that conflicts with what you think might be safe and at odds with standard instructions.
Amnesia is a well-designed and appointed room. Attention has been paid to getting all the details right, and the clues add to the atmosphere and overall experience. A vintage radio crackles to life when you need some extra information, and the soundtrack fits perfectly with the 1940s vibe. As this happened early on, we felt immersed in the world we were placed in, until the game master suggested via walkie-talkie that we turn the radio off as it could be distracting. Perhaps it made it harder to monitor what we were doing in the room, but five minutes later we noticed how quiet it was, and how much the sound of the radio contributed to the overall atmosphere. We’ve said it before, but will repeat it again: the soundtrack is just as important as the set. Great sound-effects (or at the least, suitable background music) are an essential part of creating a truly immersive atmosphere. Luckily, it’s also the easiest thing to add to an existing room.
Despite an early morning following his room being trashed (true story), our game master was welcoming and friendly, providing timely and helpful suggestions throughout our game play. EscapeXperience look like they subscribe to the view that escape rooms should be… well, escapable, and know when and when not to provide hints. It’s a delicate balance, but done right, it lets the majority of groups succeed while feeling like they did as much of it as possible on their own.
We can’t give a full five locks for customer service because they were super hard to find. As mentioned in our summary, the maps provide in the confirmation email, on their website and Facebook page all conflicted with each other. We almost thought that finding the venue was the first puzzle we needed to solve! Giving clearer instructions on how to find EscapeXperience would be a big help.
Want another opinion? Read another review from The Blurb.
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.