Published on Friday, 12 June 2015 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
Escape room attractions are all the rage now for friends looking for alternative fun and corporate team bonding exercises. Remember playing those online games where you have to walk your character around a room and look for clues and items and solve puzzles in order to find your way out? That has now transitioned into a real hands-on experience, and it is a confusing mix of being both terrifying and absolutely exhilarating!
Trapped.SG is one of the the few escape room establishments that have gained widespread popularity in Singapore for the intensity and difficulty of their rooms. What you should search for in an escape room is firstly how thoroughly thought-out their scenarios are, followed by how well the rooms are designed and furnished according to the theme, and lastly, the sensibility of the clues laid out in sequence. But obviously you wouldn't know the standards of these aspects until you have paid for it and gone through the whole thing, so we give you a detailed review of our experience for your convenience.
Trapped.SG opened its first outlet in Kandahar Street, and due to high demand, opened a second one recently at Scape. The FreshGrads team was invited down to the Scape outlet and had to choose between breaking out of Hunger Games and World War Zombies. We went along with World War Zombies because we wanted something a little bit chilling to get our pulses racing on top of the adrenaline rush of trying to escape in time.
World War Zombies has a difficulty level of 84% and an intensity level of 86%. The storyline is set in the year 2050 where the world has gone to shit and the undead walk the Earth constantly ravenous for human flesh. While escaping from the zombies, you and your team wind up in an old, dilapidated building infested with hordes of zombies. You and your survival team need to put your heads together and escape from the room you have somehow locked yourselves up in before the bunch of you wind up joining the ranks of the wretched undead.
This is make believe, so kicking down the door is not an option. But if there REALLY is a zombie apocalypse in the future, please feel free to destroy anything in your path to freedom. Other than that, no furniture or props in the escape room should be mishandled, unless you want to find yourself trapped in a legal lawsuit for thrashing a business.
You have an hour to attempt escaping from the room you are trapped in. Before the game starts, you will be given a phone in which you can call to ask for help three times so that you have a better fighting chance at breaking out. Trapped.SG claims that so far they have not had a team that is smart enough to escape without using a single lifeline.
I will keep the spoilers to a minimum and review the basics of the escape room my team and I chose so that any of you reading this would still have ample fun should you choose World War Zombies too. Upon entering the room, it took a couple of seconds for our eyes to adjust to the gloom and then we noticed the decapitated body parts strewn about. The room was dark and eerie, what further added to the spine-chilling experience was the haunting melody softly playing in the background.
All six of us were slightly creeped out, but we wasted no time in trying to escape. We used up all three lifelines and managed to escape with three minutes to spare. It was indeed a frantic 57 minutes as we scrambled around the room searching for clues and ways to solve the mystery together. It was overall, a very fun and thrilling experience, the storyline was great, and the room we were in had many secret compartments and passageways that you would never have suspected were there unless you did some tinkering around.
We felt there were a few downsides that slightly affected the gameplay though. Here's a list of stuff we thought they should try to improve on:
1. A couple of the clues we unearthed did not really give us a clear idea of what to do next; like for example, we unlocked this box to find something wrapped in black and yellow tape with the warning words: DO NOT TOUCH, HIGH VOLTAGE. We exchanged looks of bewilderment and confusion because before the start of the game, the staff briefed us on the rules and one of them included not touching anything with black and yellow tape. After calling for help, we found out that we had to take one of their props and touch it to the scanner underneath that tape so that a door opens. No one would have thought of doing that, because there wasn't a single hint of doing so. We felt that the clues should be clear enough to lead the players to the next task.
2. Some of the props were not very well maintained. Now we understand that many people go in and out of these rooms, so it would be too costly for them to be perpetually replacing their props, but perhaps after every escape room booking, they should thoroughly check through the props and ensure that the clues they leave on it are still distinctly visible for the next group. We were looking up and down for a clue on this particular prop with our UV light, and when we called the staff back to check, she insisted that there is something on it. We managed to make out a really, really faint marking on it by heavy visual straining, and even then when we tried pointing it out to our team mates, some still couldn't see it at all. It was so faded I guess you could call it the ghost of the UV marking they once drew.
3. The signs were quite misleading. Refer back to point 1. Also, there were labels all around telling us not to touch this and that, so we didn't for fear that we might get fined for breaking something. But sneakily there would be one of the same item with no label, and we were supposed to open that. We naturally thought it applied for all of those so we did not touch it. There were some props in the room too that were placed there purely for decorative purposes with a disclaimer that the prop contained within is not part of the game and any one who tries to touch it will result in the whole team being disqualified, so naturally people would tend to avoid going near it, but we peered around cautiously and noticed there was another prop beneath it with a clue.
Based on all the points listed above, we think that the structure and process flow of the gameplay could be enhanced. But perhaps we are just nit-picking or it could have been intentionally designed that way to keep survival rates low. They claim that their survival rate is as low as 15%! That means out of 100 groups that go in, only 15 manage to successfully complete the game within the stipulated time frame.
Our unanimous verdict: The thrill and enjoyment of Trapped.SG escape rooms still heavily supersedes the little faults we find. Furthermore, student rates are just $14.90 while normal rates are only from $22 - $24 per pax. That is probably one of the cheapest escape room rates I know about and it's extremely great value for money. Be warned though... escape rooms are highly addictive, once you go for it, whether you complete it or not, you'll find yourself itching to go back to solve more. Maybe if all of us create enough hype, they might just introduce membership packages and deals!
Do you think you can beat our timing of 57 minutes for World War Zombies? Besides the one we went through, there are a whole lot of other themes being offered such as Hunger Games, Hansel & Greta, Avengers, and Friday the 13th. Gather a bunch of thrill-seeking friends and embark on the harrowing adventures available at Trapped.SG here
Hours: 11:00AM – 11:00PM
Kandahar Street Outlet: Kampung Glam Shop Houses, 42 Kandahar Street, Singapore 198896
Scape Outlet: Scape, 2 Orchard Link, #02-20/21/22, Singapore 237978