2015 Jan – Hint Hunt – Zen Room

3-5 people

My first escape room was an absolute blast. Although I’d heard some vague online good things, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

After being warned to arrive early and making it just on time, they sit you all down to go through the rules. Pretty standard. Don’t pull things off of the wall, if it seems like it’s fixed, don’t break it, you can leave for an emergency or if you need the loo, but we won’t pause the timer for you, yes you can all pee now, be quick.

We also received some really good advice like, rely on each other, if someone else checked it, check it again, call out the things you are finding so that you can work together better, always check the screen for hints when they are given, and search EVERYWHERE.

You walk in, and are surrounded by a gorgeous Japanese room. No tatami, but tons of ornaments, a kimono on the wall (which we weren’t allowed to wear) and soft Japanese music in the background. We leapt for it! All of us in a different direction. Some (myself included) dropped straight to the ground, trying to be clever by crawling on all fours for floor clues. And honestly, it’s a great feeling to suddenly be launched into a room of possibilities. To go from the hum drum of public transport to 5 friends in a room urgently trying to figure out why this thing is important!

I won’t give away anything which will ruin it for you, but I will say that there are a lot of numbers involved. So if you happen to have someone in the room with dyscalculia, that might be slightly frustrating for them. He still had a great time though. And you really have some surprisingly bonding moments! Like if one of you can’t figure out something, you can call for help and work on it together. If you’ve puzzled over something really difficult, and someone is genuinely impressed that you solved it. And similarly, it’s uniquely bonding to all stand together, and not know what the hell you’re supposed to be doing. Or when one person messes up a puzzle and you all groan as one. That happened a few times.

And I’d read online that some people ask for hints to be forbidden. I won’t tell you what to do, but don’t. You can, but the hints are used sparingly anyway. They have seen people playing these games all day and they know when you’re puzzling something out, or when you are all genuinely just scratching your heads and worrying about the timer. And even then, they don’t give you the answer, they just help you along to ensure that it’s an hour of pure fun.

When we finally opened the door (we made it!) it was an absolute rush! That HUGE sense of accomplishment! Everyone high fiving and hugging, asking how we did in comparison to their other customers, joking about hilarious mess ups in the last hour. We felt like champions.

So you gather your bags, go back to the room with the toilet, they tell you your score, congratulate you, and take a picture. They even put it up on their facebook wall for us later to redistribute which was handy!

I would definitely recommend.

HINT: Practice your sudoku

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