Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Escape Rooms for two in Sydney and Brisbane (no spoilers)

May 8, 2016

I want to write some reviews of escape rooms. Which is slightly challenging because we don’t want to see any spoilers. But anyway, here we go. For the uninitiated, an escape room is a thing where a group of people get locked in a room and have to solve puzzles using physical objects in the room in order to escape. Typically there is a one hour time limit. You can get (and will usually require) hints. Each puzzle is thematic.

Enigma Room (Sydney)
Room: In Memoriam.
Time taken: ~5-10 minutes remaining.
Difficulty: Medium.

This is a small escape room operation in Sydney with just two rooms and I think they do a really good job. The hint system operated by ipad and they kept an eye on how you were progressing at all times so they could easily give you an appropriate hint when you asked for one (there was also an option to have them give you hints, not taken up).

I thought there was one inelegant clue and one minor error appeared during our run that didn’t affect the puzzle. Overall, this was a very good room with a good variety of puzzles at the right difficulty. The attentiveness and care of the staff was a plus. A.

Break the Code (Sydney)
Room: Da Vinci.
Time taken: ~20s remaining.
Difficulty: Hard.

We only just escaped in time having to ask for a hint as soon as we got to the last puzzle as otherwise we would not make it. Here the hint process was via two-way radio, so you had to be precise and describe what you did and did not know when asking for a hint.

There were mostly good, at times challenging problems. Like Exitus, they knew what they were doing and I would be happy to return to do another of their rooms. A.

Escape Hunt (Sydney)
Room: Robbery in the Cottage.
Time taken: ~15 minutes remaining.
Difficulty: Easy.

The vibe here when walking in was just not the same as the other rooms. It was larger and felt more corporate. A nice touch was that they had puzzles available to play with while waiting for your game.

The hint system again operated by two-way radio as at Break the Code. They have multiple copies of the same room and the soundproofing was not great. At one point while in the room, I could hear a radio giving a hint for another room (I’m not sure if it was the same one, I decided I didn’t want to hear). The puzzles were OK. With the number of other options in Sydney, this wouldn’t be at the top of my list. B-

Solve and Unlock (Brisbane)
Room: Missing Missy.
Time taken: ~negative three minutes remaining (oops).
Difficulty: Hard.

The website says that they accept up to eight people in this room, which would be rather crowded. I’m coming to the point of view that escape rooms are probably better done with the minimum number of players.

Here we were given a two-way radio, though at times the organisers unitalerally decided to contact us over it with hints. I have to say that this room was not a particularly satisfying experience, with some parts poorly clued. B-.

Escape Hunt (Brisbane)
Room: Bomb at Government House.
Time tamen: ~20 minutes remaining.
Difficulty: Easy.

While this has the same parent company as the Sydney Escape Hunt, the different franchises operate independently and have different rooms, though there are some commonalities (e.g. the clothes you can dress up in afterwards for a photo).

They kept an eye on us and hints were automatically communicated to us via a screen which also had the time counting down. We snagged a couple of early hints, then raced through the second half of the puzzle to get out in a fast time, yet one that was still off record pace. A distinctly better experience than the Sydney one with the same name. A-.


Ender’s Game

January 9, 2015

It was yonks and yonks ago that I read Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and enjoyed the book so much that I happily continued with the sequels. It was with some trepidation however with which I approached the movie, as I had heard some indifferent reviews but also because of the following result:

Theorem: The book is always better than the movie.

(Proof: exercise left to the reader)

The movie follows exclusively the major plotline of the story. Thus it is essentially about Ender and Ender alone. It does at times skip through this storyline at a fast pace, sacrificing character development to do so which makes some of the scenes appear less meaningful or understandable when compared to the book version.

Disappointingly, the entire plot line involving Locke and Demosthenes is missing from the film. Thus if you’ve only seen the film, then you won’t get . The joke in is still understandable.

After watching the film, I felt I had to reread the book again to make a comparison between the two – as well as to test how accurate my memory of the book acually was. It felt weird reading dialogue which was inserted directly from the book into the film and thus I had just heard.

My recommendation is that the book is a must read. The movie is optional. Based on m y personal experiences with Jurassic Park and The Lost World (both of which I saw before I read), it is perhaps better to watch the movie before reading the book if you want to do both and for some reason haven’t yet read the book.