enigma1

Whilst most of us were spending the long weekend nursing hangovers and slipping in and out of chocolate-induced comas, the Bomb Squad and friends took it upon themselves to save the world. Well, not literally…

After having an acquired a taste for escape room fun a few weeks back, we were itching to experience more of what the genre had to offer. So we headed over to The Enigma Room in the Sydney CBD to experience their Dr. Disaster scenario and see if we could defeat yet another IRL puzzle solving game.

Reminiscent of James Bond, Austin Powers and Evil Genius, this room finds players on the island paradise of Genoda. However, your tropical vacation is cut short when the country’s benevolent Dictator Dr. Disaster takes it upon himself to blow up the earth from the moon. Subsequently, players have one hour to figure out how to access the evil leader’s control panel and escape!

I can’t say a whole lot about the specifics of the game itself, because I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for you. However, I can divulge that this game was perfect for pop culture geeks like us. The puzzle is injected with a myriad of subtle and overt references to games, movies and comics that made the entire experience a delight. An IRL puzzle adventure made by nerds for nerds was a perfect fit. The co-owner and room creator Matt also seemed to really enjoy having players that would appreciate the references. I also appreciated the subversion of the genre and the self deprecating humour that was employed in both the pre-game clip, as well as inside the room itself. Equal parts cheesy and genuinely hilarious, it really added to the fun.

With the exception of Tsardust, it was everyone’s first escape room experience and I can confidently say that we all became instant addicts. The puzzles were challenging (we even had to ask for clues a few times) but not frustrating or impossible. The answers were there if you just knew where to find them or how to think about them. I also liked that similar to a video game, you could choose varying degrees of difficulty, which related to whether you would get clues or not.

The puzzles themselves were also varied and didn’t rely on a single form of deduction, logic or way of thinking. In fact, they didn’t even rely on a single sense, which was very cool. This renders the game enjoyable for a wide variety of people who don’t need to have a university grade mathematics degree or a penchant for cryptic crosswords to successfully escape. And if I may brag for a moment; only 10 – 15% of teams have successfully escaped Dr. Disaster’s island so far…and we were one of them! Go team Geek Bomb!

It’s also worth mentioning that the Enigma Room team do a fantastic job at prepping players for the experience as well as making them feel welcome. We were particularly impressed by the old school arcade machine in the lounge area, and naturally took full advantage with a few rounds of Donkey Kong.

Despite having been in operation for less than two months, The Enigma Room sets the bar high in terms of all around escape room experience. The games are fun and make logical sense the entire way through, technology in utilised to enhance the experience (which also lends towards the feeling of authenticity whilst in-game) and the overall passion of the designers is evident for the entire hour.

So whether you’re an escape room aficionado or a complete newbie, you should definitely check out the games offered by The Enigma Room. Not only are they great team building exercises, they’re also a damn good way that you can have fun with a group of friends. I can’t wait to go back and try their other room, In Memoriam.