Escaping elsewhere

Sometimes I’m fortunate enough to experience escape rooms or games elsewhere. Here are the TripAdvisor reviews I’ve written for them, with some additional comments.

Johor Bahru, Malaysia

In 2018 I decided to finally start making some trips across the Causeway to check out the JB escape room scene. Here are the reviews.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I did an escape room marathon in KL with my usual team, though it was a marathon involving rooms from only one company. Long story short: it was great. Here are the reviews.

Helsinki, Finland

Room Escape Running Rabbit – Murder Mystery: Death Of The Guitarist [review]
In many murder mystery escape rooms, the murder is just part of the premise, and the reveal of the eventual murderer is done via escape room logic rather than murder mystery logic. This clever, complex room bucks that trend, providing a good escape room experience but also an actual murder mystery in which you have to consider motives and suspects instead of having the solution handed to you via, say, a logic puzzle. Great stuff.

Escaperoom Helsinki – Secret of the Sauna [review]
An example of how a room can be great fun even if there aren’t that many puzzles, numerically. Some physical touches were great, and there was a highly amusing moment which was also a puzzle in its own right. I also appreciate rooms with a local touch, and this certainly delivered, down to sauna-specific details I wouldn’t have understood if not for the friend I played it with.

Tbilisi, Georgia

IQBCompany – Apartment 33 [review]
Strong sense of setting, solid puzzles, fun tasks, and several surprises in store — not least a deliciously thrilling moment that relies on the player’s own narrative-prompted realisation rather than e.g. some triggered effect. Also the first trilingual (Georgian, Russian, English) room I’ve done.

Budapest, Hungary

Pirate Cave
Famous for requiring players to venture under a waterfall (don’t worry, you don’t get wet), this room’s other highlights include hands-on tasks and a hint mechanism that’s both cute and thematic. Puzzles are decent but not mindblowing; go for the experience, instead.

Gozsdu Mission – White Mission | Mafia Mission
We played two very different rooms at this centrally-located outfit. White Mission is a theme-free collection of puzzles in a spartan setting, albeit with some cool flourishes. Mafia Mission is a more traditional escape room, with a varied puzzle mix and a fun finale. Not must-plays, for me, but solid experiences nonetheless.

E-Exit – Heaven & Hell | Santa Muerte
These were my favourite rooms in Budapest, with their strong sense of fun and adventure making up for the occasional weak spot. Santa Muerte, in particular, has a great endgame stretch and perhaps my favourite dramatic finale. Both rooms have a solid foundation of varied and fair puzzles.

Mystique Room – Time Machine
This room’s main strength is its steampunk theming. Puzzles are varied, including some that are intriguing and others that are unfortunately lacklustre. Not a bad experience by any measure, but it’s probably worth prioritising other rooms.

Trieste, Italy

Escape Room Enigmarium – Maestro Luigi | Francesco, artist’s secret [review]
The distinguishing features of both rooms were their sense of humour, and some great hands-on puzzle-solving. Each one had a key plot moment that was genuinely laugh-out-loud funny. Each one also had physical puzzles that were fairly complex and non-obvious, yet neither particularly tedious nor overly demanding in terms of finesse. And this is on top of solid puzzles (with some clever and/or original ones in the mix) that sit well in their setting. Just a really great time.

Tokyo, Japan

Many of the games I’ve played in Tokyo (and, on a later trip, Hakone too) were limited-time-only and/or in Japanese; here are the two exceptions, which are accessible to English speakers.

SCRAP Real Escape Game Asakusa – Escape from the Red Room
A very clever, language-independent room with an amazing setpiece (which I’ve never seen anywhere else) and several great ahas. Hard to say more without spoilers, but a definite must-play for any escape enthusiast.

SCRAP Real Escape Game Asakusa – Escape from Hunter X
Not an escape room, but just as (if not more) fun. You’ll have to use creativity and ingenuity to devise traps to foil your pursuers. A very interesting variation on the genre, and also a must-play — partly for the sheer originality, but also because it’s a cute and clever experience anyway.

Bucharest, Romania

Inside Rooms – Harry Potter
A very responsive room with fun surprises, but ultimately more for adventure-seeking Harry Potter fans than puzzle enthusiasts. Puzzles aren’t bad, but not stunning either.

Escape Arena – Indiana Jones [review]
Cinematic plot-driven adventure with some very cool moments, built upon rigorous and varied puzzles, some of which are satisfyingly layered. One of those rooms which is really An Experience.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

MindMaze – Occupied Ljubljana [review]
This room has at least three fantastic hands-on aspects — including one puzzle that might actually be my absolute favourite of its kind. The mechanical or electrical elements used were just as exciting as fancy electronic frills, and a lot more meaningful in context. This room also had my favourite hint system of those I’ve encountered, in which we were asked if we wanted a hint rather than just being given one directly (and were also allowed to actively ask for help).

TheKey [review]
Not all the puzzles in this room were equally strong, but the amusing storyline and a very clever twist more than made up for it. The puzzles were also integrated naturally into the setting, including one which really required you to engage with the room within the context of the storyline.

Stockholm, Sweden

I played nine games in Stockholm. It was great fun, but certainly not cheap! Here are the reviews.

London, UK

Mystery Cube [review]
I attempted this room in a mixed group of experienced players and beginners, and I think that was truly the best way to experience it. The Mystery Cube was filled with so many pieces that there was always something for someone to do, but clever signposting and fair puzzles meant that it never felt overwhelming. The scattering of puzzle parts also made teamwork a natural and necessary part of the experience — despite being far from linear, the experience felt a lot less individualistic than some other non-linear rooms where it’s easy to end up in your own corner, solving a puzzle by yourself.

Time Run – The Lance of Longinus [review]
This had the highest production values of any escape-related activity I’ve tried. The early stages also seemed particularly driven by an exploration of one’s environment, rather than the usual sort of puzzle-solving, which I appreciated. I wasn’t necessarily satisfied with all the puzzles, since I’m averse to tasks that require more execution than inspiration, but this is a room best appreciated as an experience than a collection of puzzles. And what an experience!

Agent November – Major X Plow-Shun [review]
When you’ve done lots of escape rooms, variations on the theme are especially appreciated. This Agent November mission leaned satisfyingly into its espionage set-up, with some tasks that are less common in escape rooms. I also appreciated the more open-ended, intuitive nature of some puzzles.

New York City, USA

I played 15 games in NYC — here are my thoughts on them.



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