What is an escape room? Apart from a potential title to a horror movie!
It’s based on a video game where you solve puzzles to unlock the door to the room you’re trapped in.
In 2007 Takao Kato created the first real life escape room in Kyoto Japan.
Escape rooms are popping up all over the world and now they have come to Hobart. Lauren and Nick from Evolo Room Escape invited The Two Girls to try their very first room, Child’s Play.
We took along The Lovely Deputy and “I’m the Arty One” to make up a team of four.
Lauren and Nick have played 40 escape rooms each since they completed their first room in Sydney in mid-2014. They quickly became hooked and decided to take the leap to bring escape rooms to Tassie. Hobart was the most logical choice for Lauren and Nick, with its large population and greater chance of success. As Burnie locals they decided to commit to the drive to Hobart and back each week, initially only opening only on weekends.
When they played their first escape room there was only around 10 escape room companies operating in Australia, now there are 79. Evolo has expanded too from just one room to the three they have now; international fugitive, break in the murder trial and, once they complete it; a new room which will replace Child’s Play before Christmas. Just in time for school holidays.
Child’s Play was decommissioned today and that’s why we’re able to share many of the room’s secrets and give you an idea of what an escape room is.
Child’s Play had us making a turtle puzzle, purposely destroying a Jenga game to find what was hidden inside and saw The Other Girl and the Lovely Deputy playing with toy cars on the carpet street map. The puzzles you must solve to unlock the room aren’t linear so it’s possible for a couple of people to be working on different clues at the one time. “I’m the Arty One” and the Deputy solved a plastic block puzzle that helped us solve a Guess Who game and a snakes and ladders game helped us solve a lock combination.
Some things appear like props but they actually hold clues to the room like pictures on the wall. It’s important to make connections between the props in the room. Generally, nothing is stand alone. A clue in one puzzle will work with another prop somehow. The trick is to work out how. Look at everything closely, look under and behind things, but if it doesn’t move easily it’s not part of the game!
Oh and heaters are just heaters, adjust the temperature, turn them on or off but you will never find a clue in there! Teams have an hour to unlock the door (which by the way, isn’t really locked, so don’t fret!) and there’s an extra 10 minute grace time just in case your close but not quite close enough.
“I’m the Arty One” had her eye to the future. Inside our room was a smaller locked room and as soon as we found a remote control she’d figured out we needed to use the remote control to get the car out of the locked room through the small opening at the base of the door. A door within a door, just big enough for the car to fit though. First we had to find the key to unlock the smaller door!
When we guided the car into our room we found it was hiding a key to the larger door! Once inside the small room we had to beat levels on a handheld computer games (thank goodness “I’m the Arty One” is 15-years-old and great with computer games!) and use a chalkboard to draw star constellations to help us find the combination to the last of the locks!
With the turn of the final key in the lock, the door sign lit up with the satisfactory ‘you won’ and the timer stopped. With 8:23 minutes left on the clock we all had a great sense of achievement. It was a real team effort that got us to the end. This Girl had a great time and was quickly addicted to the challenge of the puzzles and the tick of the clock.
Evolvo is located in a beautiful historical building standing quite oddly all by itself in Campbell Street with development growing around it. It sat vacant for 10 years before Lauren and Nick revived it. It sets the scene for escape rooms perfectly.
Lauren and Nick learnt how to build their own escape rooms by observing everything they could about each room they played. Taking notes on what they liked and didn’t like about each one, they draw ideas from what objects would fit the theme of the room, games and toys for Child’s Play. In the same way, the puzzles in Break in the Murder Trial use what might be found in a courtroom, and International Fugitive uses objects you would find in a fugitive’s abandoned apartment.
‘Escape Rooms are great fun for everyone, people don’t need to be book-smart or physically strong to compete, it’s all about entering the room with an open mind, communicating well and thinking creatively.’
Their opening times are:
2pm-10:30pm Thursday and Friday
9am-10:30pm Saturday and Sunday
Book online on their website.
They can also often open on weekdays for corporate groups if organised at least a week in advance.
Thanks again to Lauren and Nick for hosting Living Loving Hobart. It was great fun and comes highly recommended for all sorts of groups.