Location: Melbourne CBD
Date played: 17 January 2015
Players: 4 (2-6 recommended)
Hints: Unlimited via walkie-talkie
Escaped: No – so close, yet oh so far…
Engrossing scenario to challenge seasoned escape room players.
An infectious rescue mission…
“Scientists working at a high security government laboratory have not been heard from in days. It is suspected that something has gone terribly wrong…
“Your specialist retrieval team have been briefed to enter the facility and search for the scientists. You have 45 minutes before the military will destroy the facility. Will you survive?”
Trapt burst onto the escape room scene in December 2014 with a nifty premise: get locked in a room with some friends and brain teasers, then unwind with a drink afterwards. It’s a funky underground bar that gently introduces people to the live puzzle genre when they ask the bar staff “hey, what is this whole escape room thing?” It’s a match made in heaven and a joint concept that seems to be paying off.
Biohazard is not one of those rooms you would want to play if you’re asking the bar staff what an escape room is. Our team of four (with various degrees of escape room experience) were challenged quite strongly by Biohazard‘s puzzles at times. That may say something about our group, although we have received feedback from one of our readers Craig, who along with his wife kicked off their escape room journey with Biohazard. Craig thoroughly enjoyed the experience despite falling short of freedom. Likewise, another friend of Escape Room Hunters played Biohazard as their first room and needed generous time extensions to crack through the final few puzzles.
From our experience we are strong believers that 45 minutes is a little short to get through Biohazard’s “infectious” room and an hour would still prove a challenge. Be sure to get some experience before booking in to make the most of the wild ride.
Biohazard is challenging. But challenging is also good.
Trapt has squeezed a ton of well themed puzzles into Biohazard. There’s a nice combination of easier and harder puzzles, and the last one is an absolute doozy. Trapt loves RFID-activated door release mechanisms for the final exit, though they still need some finessing as it takes a bit of effort to activate the switch. The technology used to beam clues to a monitor also failed that evening, leaving us looking for hints in Trapt’s room booking calendar until we realised something was awry and called for help.
Red herrings can be rather confusing if you are not familiar with escape rooms and Biohazard had a reasonable amount of information to trip you up. Craig mentioned in his email to us that “the real challenge seems to be working out what’s useful”. Some escape room venues eschew red herrings altogether, while others embrace them wholeheartedly. Biohazard falls in that latter category, so be prepared.
The game designers deserve credit for developing a range of puzzles that involve a range of different approaches, from observation and logic to interpretation and translation. While most puzzles revolved around finding a number combination, they took different routes to that destination.
Trapt have created a fantastic environment that strongly fits the theme. Moving between spaces clearly signals shifts in the storyline and sets the tone quite strongly. Sporadic – and relevant – beeping adds to the atmosphere and keeps your gears whirring.
If there’s more than two of you, one will be escorted away before starting Biohazard. Don’t worry – you’ll see them shortly, and adds to the suspense before you even begin.
Our first visit to Trapt, when we played Wonderland, left us feeling they had a winning formula for customer service. Although the foundations of that service were there on this occasion, a few things were missing. Our hosts had a few issues to deal with throughout the day that pushed our start time back, but they kept us informed from the moment we arrived. Being rushed appears to have contributed to a room set-up issue which made a hint available after we needed it, leaving us scratching our heads for a while when its presence would have clued us in to the solution. Our game master walked us through the rest of the final puzzle when our time expired, but running late removed the option to gift us another five minutes to make the breakthrough ourselves.
Thanks to Craig for getting in touch and allowing us to incorporate his feedback into our review.
About Trapt Bar & Escape Rooms
Down the stark-white stairs of 377 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, a dark wood-panelled corridor awaits. Hidden at the end of a long, dimly-lit passageway is a beautifully adorned cocktail lounge, replete with friendly hosts ready to serve you a drink or lock you in a room.
Opened in December 2014, Trapt has four escape rooms to enjoy: Wonderland, Biohazard, Prisonbreak and Transylvania. Incorporating a bar is, in our opinion, pure genius: it is somewhere you would go just for a drink, but when doing an escape room, it encourages you to stay and debrief with your fellow captors over a cheeky beverage. The prices for both escape rooms and drinks are reasonable, quality is high and vibe is relaxed and welcoming. Come for the puzzles, stay for the gin.
Trapt Bar & Escape Rooms
Basement, 377 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000