A ticking clock holds remarkable power. Deadlines can elevate the most trivial tasks to high priorities, and escape rooms appeal to the deadline-driven part of our nature. With one hour to solve a series of puzzles, there’s no time to dwell on thoughts of work, relationships or anything else – all our energies are focused on escaping the room.
Except we’re not escaping. Rather, we’re investigating a series of murders. Escape Hunt’s use of local themes for their escape rooms, while commendable, appears to be wearing a bit thin at this point. The background exists more as a theme than a compelling narrative, propelling us forward through a series of puzzles that are too disconnected to allow for the suspension of disbelief.
At their best, escape rooms are not just about successfully completing a challenge. They should also offer an hour of escapism, and this one (which has us tracking a nefarious sea captain’s misadventures off the coast of Port Lincoln) doesn’t quite nail it.
The puzzles themselves are interesting, though limited in range. Too often we find ourselves looking for yet another three or four digit code, and choke points mean that a single missed clue can make it impossible to advance. It’s a frustrating experience for five people crowded into a small room, while a door left mistakenly unlocked further ruins the illusion. Some escape rooms are so entertaining that it’s a shame when they end. This is one makes you happy to leave.