Escape Rooms Canberra: The Vault

With my sister in town for the new year, we thought we’ll take the opportunity to play an escape room. Ever since we had our baby, our escape room playing has taken a real hit so I was really keen to get back into it. It’s our very first one for 2019 and the first for our toddler, Sagan! We had previously played Escape Rooms Canberra’s (ERC) Mr Keller’s Magic Emporium and House on the Hill so I was looking forward to doing the last room and going on a post-apocalyptic adventure. This was our 37th escape room (and our 10th Canberra one).

Theme

From their website:

The world has already ended. The promise of mutually assured destruction wasn’t enough to stop the superpowers of the USA and the USSR from unleashing their nuclear arsenal. Now there is only desolation and waste. But there’s still hope. Small bands of survivors have emerged into the wasteland, the human race survives by a thread, but the threat isn’t gone. Amongst the savages, a madman has risen who believes that the human race is a disease and the only way to truly save the world is to finish the work of our predecessors and wipe the human “parasite” from the face of the earth. He has found the last nuclear bunker and flipped the doomsday switch. You are part of a small band of survivors who have infiltrated the Vault and it is up to you to cancel the launch and stop the apocalypse. Can you save the world and escape the Vault? Survival is not guaranteed.

source: https://www.escaperoomscanberra.com/

While this theme is very different from the previous two rooms, ERC has created a strong and atmospheric theme from the start and throughout the game. There was a strong storyline throughout the game and it does feel like you’re in a bunker. The props are well suited to the game.

Game breakdown

The game starts in a deserted security room, with a voiceover briefing (which I had trouble hearing – maybe due to my cold, but others in my group had similar trouble understanding the voiceover). Our group was a bit slow off the mark finding the first puzzle but once we found it, the game progressed at a steady pace. Our team made good progress, despite slowing down on one association and sensory puzzle where we got the concept but had accidentally made a few minor errors causing us to restart the puzzle multiple times. We got through it as a team, and smashed through the rest of the puzzles (except for one towards the end where we got a bit distracted with our little one getting upset – ended up asking for a hint, where we were actually on the right track – the gamemaster just had to nudge us back to what we were already doing).

Teamwork is the key to getting through this escape room at a good pace. While the puzzles are linear in nature, there are a few layering puzzles where working together will help you solve it quickly. I enjoyed the clever nature of the puzzles – the layering ones were great!

There are a good diversity of puzzles, from mechanical, physical, high tech, association, pattern matching, and sensory puzzles. There was even a puzzle that required the use of an everyday item (you’ll know when you see it!). There was one puzzle that required someone to have a bit of flexibility. Fortunately my sister was with us and her flexibility (from her martial arts training) was super handy. My sis is also a musician which was handy for the sensory puzzles. Another puzzle requires someone who can discern colours.

We found the nuclear launcher and deactivated it quickly. We made a run for it, or in my case, a shuffle-crawl as I held my toddler – who was too upset to go ahead with the others. We escaped with nearly 12 minutes to spare.

On the whole, we really enjoyed the experience. This is an excellent high quality room and highly recommended!

Out of room experience

Service

Our gamemaster, Michael, introduced the game to us, got us to sign waiver forms and showed us where to store our belongings. You are provided with lockers to safely store your goods.

Hints are provided promptly through the use of a walkie talkie. You are provided with unlimited free hints, but this comes as a cost of not being able to be on the leaderboard.

Drinks are also available for purchase and a beer garden will be available soon pending licences.

Michael was kind enough to let us bring our sleeping toddler into the game (complete with stroller!). He gave us a heads up about potential loud noises and where it might be best to keep the stroller while we kept working on puzzles. Our little one ended up waking up while we were in the first part of the game, so I pushed the stroller with us throughout the entire game (except for the end-game where I ended up abandoning the stroller so we could all escape).

Safety

As like other Australian rooms, you are not physically locked in the room. You can leave at any point in the game. Emergency exit buttons are located throughout the game.

The gamemaster is also closely monitoring you.

Getting here

ERC is based in Phillip, Canberra. While you can get here with public transport, it’s best to drive or uber in. Free parking is located right outside the venue.

Summary

  • Overall: 4.5/5
  • Fun: 4.5/5
  • Atmosphere: 4.5/5
  • Difficulty: 4/5 (with 3 adults) – this is one of ERC’s most difficult game with about 20% of people successfully making it through this game.
  • Creativity of puzzles: 4.5/5
  • Game duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: $40/person
  • Team size: 2 – 7 people but we recommend at least 3 people
  • Escaped ? Yes with nearly 12 minutes left on the clock
  • Played: 5 January 2019

Check out other reviews of this room by Lock Me If You Can.

About Escape Rooms Canberra

Front view of Escape Rooms Canberra

Escape Rooms Canberra was opened by Mitch Young and Michael Wilkinson in September 2016. There are currently three rooms, with two more slatted to open in 2019.

Where: 2/24 Dundas Court, Phillip ACT

Website: Escape Rooms Canberra

Photo credit: Tom Swinnen

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