Escape Rooms Canberra: House on the Hill

After having played Escape Rooms Canberra excellent Mr Keller’s Magic Emporium, we were really keen to try their other room, House on the Hill, with our fellow escape room bloggers, Lock Me If You Can. This was our first time playing an escape room with the lovely Pá and Trapspringer. This was our 28th escape room (and our 3rd Canberra one).

Theme

From their website:

There’s been talk of witchcraft ever since a mysterious illness struck the town of Salem. Hysteria is setting in and fingers are itching to be pointed. Margret Coulter-Rose has been seldom seen since the death of her husband and daughter It’s said that an evil presence pervades the House on the Hill. It’s said that the devil has crept in. The town elders have sent you into the house to find enough evidence of witchcraft to bring Margret to trial.

Be warned though; Margret doesn’t take too kindly to visitors anymore, and the old house, with it’s creaks and groans, is said to be even less accomodating.

Right from the start, the theming of the room was strong and atmospheric. I loved the use of the fog machine, creepy background music and the props that tied into the story. I particularly love the pianola! This led to an immersive experience throughout the entire game.

While Mr Keller’s Magic Emporium was based on the Melbourne room with their own tweaks, the design of this room was created  by the owners, Mitch Young and Michael Wilkinson. It’s really good to see the high calibre of design from our local community.

Game breakdown

As we arrived, we met our game hosts, signed our waiver forms, stored our bags away and were reminded to visit the toilet. We were given a walkie talkie and a notepad, and were then lead into the room where we got a briefing and backstory.

The game starts quickly and easily, and from that point, follows a mostly-linear progression throughout the game. There are A LOT of puzzles in this game – a few more than the average room, so you’ll need to move fast and keep the pace moving throughout the game.

There are a great diversity of puzzles, from mechanical, high tech, association, pattern matching, anagrams and searching puzzles. I’m terrible at anagrams and was stuck a few times as a result. There were a bunch of clever puzzles (especially towards the end) that really appealed to my love of science. The very final puzzle was a example of using space cleverly and was one of my favourite puzzles.

The game hosts constantly monitor your progress throughout the game. Hints are provided through a walkie talkie. You get two free hints. Additional hints come at a cost of time added to your final time.

The game can be improved with some minor tweaks – such as providing an audio confirmation for one of the puzzles towards the end part of the game (as the atmospheric background noises was covering the ‘click’ that we probably should have heard), addressing an issue with a prop in the first room and a prop in the next room, and improving the linkages between components of the final puzzle.

I also appreciated the walkthrough that Mitch and Michael did for us after the game. It demonstrated their passion for the genre, their room and their puzzles.

On the whole, we really enjoyed the experience. This is an excellent high quality room and highly recommended! Apparently more rooms are on the backlog – can’t wait to see what they have for us next time.

Summary

  • Overall: 4.7/5
  • Fun: 5/5
  • Atmosphere: 4.5/5
  • Difficulty: 4/5 (with 4 adults) – I was wavering between 4 and 4.5 but I think once the issues with the props are fixed, the difficulty is a 4.
  • Creativity of puzzles: 4.5/5
  • Game duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: From $35 – $39/person
  • Team size: 2 – 6 people
  • Escaped ? Unfortunately no but we still had fun.
  • Played: 1 October 2016.

Check out other reviews of this room by Lock Me If You Can (who we played with).

About Escape Rooms Canberra

Escape Rooms Canberra was opened by Mitch Young and Michael Wilkinson in September 2016. It is based in Phillip in the Woden area (near Addicted to Fabric). There is free parking around the area.  I love the entry way – there’s a great raw wood wall with exposed light bulbs, an old piano with plants growing out of it, and great props throughout.

I also like how their leaderboard is broken down, not just by rooms, but also by the number of players.

Where: 2/24 Dundas Court, Phillip ACT

Website: Escape Rooms Canberra

Photo credit: The Manor, by Mark Iocchelli, photo available under a CC By-NC 2.0 licence

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