Time-travelling adventure has come to Gluttony in ‘Escape Room Treasure Hunt - Escape the Past!’.
The first thing you will notice about ‘Escape The Past!’ is that your tickets do not specify the shows location, so unless you’ve checked the website you could be forgiven for expecting to engage in a race around Gluttony. Thankfully this is not the case and the show's home base – an air conditioned trailer just behind Gluttony’s FringeTIX box office – provided a welcome relief from Saturday afternoon’s stifling heat.
When my cohort and I arrived at the trailer we were surprised to learn that we were the only two participating in the shows 4pm session and; unperturbed by the lack of numbers we met with our host Richard, who set the scene with an imaginative backstory before letting us loose in the trailer. It’s October 1951 and we are ChronoCops (time police).
Having successfully completed our mission to stop the first above-ground nuclear test we learn that our time portal has been compromised and control is diverting us to a secondary portal located in a cheap motel room somewhere in Las Vegas. All we have to do is find the clues and solve the puzzles to bypass the numerous security safeguards and activate the portal before time runs out. Oh, and did I mention that failure would result in us being trapped in the past forever?
At first glance the scene inside the small trailer looked surprisingly simple and as I wandered around the sparsely furnished room I found myself thinking that there were very few places in which to hide valuable clues – but I soon discovered that looks can be deceiving. With just 60 minutes to complete our mission, we searched for hidden objects, deciphered cryptic clues and muddled our way through a series of brain teasing puzzles – each of which took us one step closer to the portal and our freedom. Unfortunately our mission was hampered by opening day gremlins – which were out in force.
Locks wouldn’t open, sound effects wouldn’t play and several of the room’s technologically reliant contraptions just would not cooperate no matter how nicely we toyed with them – which is a shame because they really were quite ingenious. Thankfully Richard was on hand to help us bypass these obstacles and we were able to continue our mission, although I do feel we suffered a small time penalty as a result.
Unlike the fixed Escape Rooms of Rundle Mall this portable location is quite small – which is perfect for those who are new to the escape rooms concept – and while it was no less challenging, seasoned escape room players will certainly notice the difference.
The intimate setting means there is less room for large groups to move in (so strong communication skills are a must!) and Richard remains in the room the entire time – which is handy if you require extra clues. Personally I found his presence added another layer of pressure to the game as it’s quite unnerving to know that the man who has all the answers is watching your every move so closely (like a teacher staring over your shoulder).
Cleverly crafted, ‘Escape the Past!’ is a challenging adventure which is sure to entertain, and I enjoyed my time in the past (despite the numerous hiccups we experienced). I only hope Richard was able to resolve the show's teething problems so that the next set of ChronoCops could experience the room’s full potential.