Melbourne's first escape room has a southside outpost – and it's as brain tickling as the original
Escape rooms are fast becoming one of Melbourne's favourite way to have fun, but it was not always thus. Psychologist Owen Spear brought the concept to Melbourne after falling in love with escape rooms during a trip to Budapest. His first Melbourne venue was at the bottom of his mother's garden, and the South Melbourne incarnation features new fiendishly created rooms.
There are three different rooms to be done at this venue, and we are trying our luck at Fractured: Remember Me. While most escape rooms involve adventure or thriller-like situations (catch a murderer, escape a self-destructing spaceship, find a hidden treasure in ancient Egypt), this one is more psychological. Players are trapped inside the mind of Robert, a World War II veteran who has suffered from PTSD and is in a coma. The object of the game is to make connections between his memories, wake him up and reconnect him with his family.
We are initially brought into a small room with white walls and little adornment. A plinth in the middle contains a sepia-toned photo album and a one-sentence instruction on a piece of paper. On one wall is an old-fashioned radio, another contains a military jacket, hat and canteen, and a spooky video projection plays on the main wall.
That's about it, but the deceptively simple room holds some pretty cool secrets and a very impressive reveal. It's a race against the clock (70 minutes), but more than that, it feels like a race against Robert's potential death. It somehow feels like a very personal story, and we are emotionally invested in bringing Robert out of his coma and reuniting him with his loved ones.
Outcome: Success! But, dear reader, we must confess. We cheated just an eensy bit. Four different puzzles delivered four different numbers for a lock, and we got three of them and their order. Rather than do the last puzzle (which was multistage and was eating into our time), we locked in the three numbers we knew and used trial and error to find out the last number. Our deception was immediately noticed – the walkie talkie we had for hints crackled to life, and our host said, "Um, how did you get that open?" We do not condone cheating. But we're just saying, it can be done.
Creativity of puzzles: 5/5
Best quote: “God, old-timey people are super creepy.”
Our tip: Pay attention to the audio as it plays. It adds to the story but will also help you solve your puzzles.
|Venue name:||Escape Room Melbourne|
12-18 Yarra Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11.30am-10pm; Sat-Sun 10am-10pm|