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Escape Rooms in Melbourne: A Review

What are escape rooms, you ask? These are rooms where you get locked up in a (usually themed) room with a group of your mates. You and your mates then try to escape, by using clues in the room, thinking creatively, intuitively, and laterally, and solving puzzles.

It is quite a bizarre idea, but escape rooms seem to be the latest craze all over the world:

  • Escape rooms were #1 on TripAdvisor for attractions/things to do in London, at least until TripAdvisor decided to categorise items. Even after this, the top-rated escape rooms in London still had 2,000+ reviews
  • Budapest is said to be the birthplace of escape rooms in Europe; there are said to be 60+ escape rooms in Budapest alone since the inception of the first, well-known one in 2010
  • Asia is the supposed other birthplace for escape rooms; there are apparently 20+ escape rooms in Tokyo, yet another 20+ in Singapore, and too many more to count are popping up by the day

Having done a few ourselves, we think the draw comes in a few aspects:

  • The sense of accomplishment you get from being able to “escape”: It is quite the thrill to finally unlock that final code and emerge into the sunlight
  • Bonding and teamwork: It’s a great thing to do with your mates – you get to know them and bond closer with them – and have a ton of fun and a shared experience with them. We couldn’t stop talking about the rooms we do after every room
  • It’s a transporting experience: The best rooms are immersive, making you feel like you’re in a mine control room, or an old uncle’s living room, or a bank vault, and forgetting the world outside
  • It’s one of the most awesome, intellectually challenging fun that you can have within 60 minutes! (or less!)

Escape rooms in Melbourne

Melbourne is definitely not free from the craze of escape rooms; in fact, it can be argued that Melbourne is where the escape room fever started in Australia:

  • The first escape room opened in April 2014: Escape Room Melbourne, by psychologists Owen Spear and girlfriend Ali Cheetham, after they got inspired by their trip in Budapest
  • Shortly after, many others cropped up
  • There are now 30+ escape rooms in Melbourne, including 3 more by Owen and Ali; there also now 20+ in Sydney, starting from earlier this year

We tried the original Escape Room Melbourne one weekend in August 2015. From there we were so completely hooked, we practically do one (or two) almost every weekend since.

The Melbourne escape rooms are of varying themes, breadth, and quality, however; so I thought I would dedicate a post to review the Melbourne escape rooms we’ve tried thus far.

First, a summary:

  • Best for first-timers: The original Escape Room Melbourne
  • Best for advanced players (5+ escape rooms): Mine Escape Room
  • Best designed room theme: Da Vinci Code
  • Most fun we had*: Amnesia

* There are many rooms that we thoroughly enjoyed. For whatever reason, we had the most absolute fun in this room.

Below, find a comprehensive listing and brief review for all the Melbourne escape rooms we’ve done thus far, based on the below rating factors:

  • Room quality: How well the room and props are designed and executed, how immersive the room is, how thought through the theme and storyline is - and, of course, how well designed the clues/puzzles are
  • Difficulty: How difficult we thought the room was to escape from, assuming no hints are involved (i.e., the higher the score, the more likely you are to need hints to escape).
    • Note that this does not take into account “bad room design”, i.e., when the puzzles are easy but the clue is damaged (and you therefore can’t solve the puzzle), or the puzzle is so obscure there is no way anyone can figure it out (there is a difference between clever puzzles and obscure puzzles!)
  • Overall fun/enjoyment/awesome rating: How much fun we had in the room, based on the puzzle design, overall experience, customer service, etc.

For the ratings, there are whole numbers only (i.e., 3 out of 5, not 3.5 out of 5) to avoid “score inflation”.

Room Room quality (out of 5) Difficulty (out of 5) Overall fun/ enjoyment/ awesome rating (out of 5) Why the ratings?
Escape Room Melbourne @ ERM **** *** *****
  • Immersive environment
  • Creative, interesting, clever puzzle designs
  • Our first time! We had a blast
Lost in Paradise @ Rush **** ** ****
  • Interesting theme, executed well
  • Lots of locks and some maths-based puzzles
  • Great for groups as lots of parallel puzzles
Da Vinci Code @ Rush ***** *** *****
  • Incredible execution of a great theme – all the props etc. are very thematic
Kellar’s Magic Emporium @ ERM **** *** ****
  • Some of the cleverest puzzles we’ve seen thus far
  • The room can get a little scary for the youngins though..
Mission Possible @ Rush **** **** ****
  • Clever use of gadgetry
  • The room itself is rather plain otherwise (it IS supposed to represent a bank vault)
Mine Escape @ ERM ***** **** *****
  • Some of the cleverest puzzles we’ve ever seen, married with an incredibly immersive room design – we forgot there was an “outside”
Amnesia @ EscapeXperience ***** *** *****
  • Clever storyline and immersive room and puzzle designs led us to forgetting everything else but the room existed
  • This room was designed by the ERM guys – another fantastic room
Enchanted Garden @ Strike ** ** **
  • We got the booking for this at a last minute… boy we almost wished we never bothered
  • “Magazine” type puzzles and so-so room and prop quality led to us being rather disappointed… especially after Mine Escape and Amnesia
Vanished Carnivale @ Orz *** *** ***
  • Some clever twists and cool puzzle technology; however, too many “magazine” type puzzles for our liking
Endless Dream @ Orz *** *** ***
  • Solidly designed room and a clever story
Secret Invitation @ Orz *** **** ****
  • The best room puzzle-wise from Orz
Transylvania @ Trapt *** *** ***
  • Lots of room awareness required, which we liked
  • Some puzzles didn’t quite work well however, which led to confusion
  • Otherwise, good concept – we will be back for more of Trapt’s rooms

Legend (a.k.a., our credentials) (current at the time of writing):
† = We hold the official best time record here
‡ = We hold the unofficial (i.e., this room does not officially record time) best time record

Disclaimers: The above reviews and ratings are purely our opinion. While we obviously try to be as objective as possible with the rooms, your experience may vary.

Also, as you can see, we went with the supposedly “best” rooms first (i.e., the original, the highest rated on TripAdvisor, etc.). There very well may be a first-timer “wow” factor involved in the earlier rooms, so do take our thoughts with a grain of salt.

Have you tried any of Melbourne’s numerous escape rooms? Which one is your favourite?

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Comments have now been fixed! Apologies for the issue, comment away!

  2. Hi Pam,
    You are welcome to try Melbourne’s newest escape room “Shutdown” by Cubescape at Strike Melbourne Central. This is a very different experience and Australia’s first Gen 3 room.
    Let me know if you would like a booking.


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