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Review: Breakout escape room game

We take a crack at Breakout, the latest escape room game in KL

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I’ve always been averse to any form of haunted house rides or games set in an antique-cluttered, dimly lit space; I can’t stand the anxiety of being trapped in a room or having something jump out of the closet. But I’ve played this sort of live-action escape room game more times than I’ve watched ‘Sherlock’, so I figured I should be able to triumph over a web of mind-boggling puzzles, cryptic codes and complicated lock combinations. But Breakout, which was nowhere near elementary, proved me wrong.

The setting of escape room games in KL varies dramatically but they all share the same premise: Locked in a room, a group of players between two to six will have to find clues and race against the clock – usually within 45 minutes – to figure their way out. What sets Breakout apart from its competitors is the storyline that supports the gameplay, whether you’re plumbing the depths of a serial murder case that involves a burnt body in a bathtub or tracking down a rogue magician called Mr Hocus. To make the experience even more immersive, each member of the team is assigned a special role, such as the ‘Light Bringer’ (who holds the light source), the ‘Lock Master’ (who can ask to open one lock any time during the game) or the ‘Time Bender’ (who can request an extra five minutes of game time). In other words, the more members you have on the team, the more advantages you have.

Having had experience playing other escape rooms in the city, a group of friends and I attempted the slightly more challenging ‘Chamber of Hocus’ room, which has a difficulty rating of three stars (out of five), but it was still no walk in the park. Entering the eerie room was like walking into a Stephen King novel. A stack of hints, a creepy mannequin and piles of carefully arranged detritus were strewn across the dark magician’s chamber while a spooky voice – an unintelligible mumble on a loop, which turned out to be a clue – sliced through the air. The unsettling tone promised more mysteries to come. The problem with most escape rooms is the way the clues are laid out – they’re scattered throughout the area with abandon, causing players to spend unnecessary time on a clue that’s meant for a puzzle at a later stage of the game. Things are more systematic at Breakout – the game progresses through checkpoints so you only have to utilise hints within the area to solve the puzzle at hand. Of course, most of the clues are related and you shouldn’t underestimate their importance. As time ticks down, it’s up to your quick reflexes, logic and deduction skills to decipher which clues are red herrings, and which will help you to find the light at the end of the tunnel.

Breakout certainly owes its newfound success and hype to its top-of-the-line gaming mechanics. The co-owners – Gavin Lim, Wilken Ee, Johnny Ong, Kelly Low and Leo Cheah – even went as far as hiring a carpenter to customise and design the contraptions and furnishing in each room. Given the rather hefty admission price, the last thing you need is a haphazardly assembled puzzle or a faulty lock standing between you and victory. My team and I failed at the last hurdle to capture Mr Hocus, but this reinvented style of escape room game perfectly demonstrated how a well-honed set-up can elevate a gaming experience. Fun, highly addictive and thrillingly engaging, Breakout’s rooms are the kind you’d want to be trapped in.

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Breakout Malaysia

The setting of escape room games in KL varies dramatically but they all share the same premise: Locked in a room, a group of players between two to six will have to find clues and race against the clock – usually within 45 minutes – to figure their way out. What sets Breakout apart from its competitors is the storyline that supports the gameplay, whether you’re plumbing the depths of a serial murder case that involves a burnt body in a bathtub or tracking down a rogue magician called Mr Hocus. To make the experience even more immersive, each member of the team is assigned a special role, such as the ‘Light Bringer’ (who holds the light source), the ‘Lock Master’ (who can ask to open one lock any time during the game) or the ‘Time Bender’ (who can request an extra five minutes of game time). In other words, the more members you have on the team, the more advantages you have.

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KL City Centre

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