Crate Escape: Lost Hut of Antarctica

It was our first time in Christchurch and it was the start of a two week holiday. With our toddler in tow, we were keen to try the local escape room scene. Logan from Crate Escape kindly got in touch to let us know that we were welcomed to bring our toddler to any of their rooms. With that in mind, we booked into the Lost Hut of Antarctica as I was keen to explore a historical room. I’m still thinking about this escape room weeks after we tried it!

This was our 38th escape room (our first Christchurch one and second New Zealand one).

Theme

From their website:

Your elite team of Treasure Hunters are traversing Antarctica in hopes to find the legendary lost treasure of Jim Pemberton.

Through a major blizzard you stumble across Pemberton’s Lost Hut! Can you unlock the secrets it holds and claim the treasure, fame and glory?

source:
https://www.crateescape.co.nz/#our-rooms-section

Looks can be deceiving. From the outside, Crate Escape looks like many of the shipping containers you see around Christchurch (due to the devastating earthquake of 2011). But once you enter the game, Crate Escape has created a strong and atmospheric theme from the start and throughout the game – difficult to believe that you’re actually in a shipping container. It really does feel like you have been transported to an actual hut!

There was a strong storyline throughout the game and the props are well suited to the theme. We had great fun exploring the hut. The atmosphere could possibly be further strengthen with a blizzard soundtrack in the background. They also normally run the room colder than normal, and provide jackets to wear throughout the game to add to the immersive experience. In our case, we happened to visit during a heat wave so the gamemaster decided to forego the jackets for our comfort.

Game breakdown

The game starts in the darken hut. Our first job is to get some kind of lighting happening. Once you get the on-theme lighting happening, the game progresses at a good steady pace from there.

The game is linear in nature but with a really good diverse range of puzzles. I really enjoyed the different types of puzzles – including association, observations, search, physical manipulation, maze, ropes, sound and more. The stand out was that there was not a single lock in this room! I loved it.

Each prop had a function and was very on-theme, adding to the immersive experience. What I also enjoyed was that you’re also learning about some famous Antarctic explorer characters.

We had a bit of trouble with one of the puzzles close to the end game where we couldn’t find all the relevant components. We still managed to solve it, with Alastair being particularly inventive about reusing some other items – this cost us significant amount of time but we managed to escape within the time frame 🙂

Teamwork and great observational skills is the key to getting through this escape room.

On the whole, we really enjoyed the experience. This is an excellent high quality room and highly recommended! Reflecting back on the six rooms we did on our two week South Island holiday, this was my favourite.

Out of room experience

Service

Our gamemaster introduced the game to us and showed us where to store our belongings. You are provided with lockers to store your goods.

Hints are provided promptly by speaking aloud asking for help, with hints appearing on a screen (which also doubles up as the timer). The gamemaster occassionally provide nudges if needed.

At the end of the game, you can get a group photo taken which is uploaded to Crate Escape’s facebook page.

Safety

You are not physically locked in the room. You can leave at any point in the game. The gamemaster is also closely monitoring you.

Getting here

Crate Escape is located right in the city on Armagh Street. It’s diagonally opposite the fantastic Margaret Mahy Playground. You can get here easily via public transport or drive (there are lots of paid parking options around the area or if you’re happy to walk, you can park a few blocks away in free parking zones and walk to Crate Escape).

In terms of food, the New Regent Street Precinct is located on the next street over. There are a number of food options, but my favourite is the Rollickin Dessert Cafe with fantastic homemade ice cream (the mint ice cream is the best).

Summary

  • Overall: 4.5/5
  • Fun: 4.5/5
  • Atmosphere: 4.5/5
  • Difficulty: 3/5 (with 2 adults) – while the puzzles were not overly difficult, they were really diverse and really fun!
  • Creativity of puzzles: 4.5/5
  • Game duration: 60 minutes
  • Cost: From NZ $20-$30/person
  • Team size: 2 – 6 people but due to the linear nature of the room and the size, this would probably be best with 3-4 people
  • Escaped ? Yes with just over 5 minutes left on the clock
  • Played: 27 January 2019

About Crate Escape

Outside of Crate Escape – clever use of shipping containers!

Crate Escape was opened by Logan McMillan, Andrew Dean, and John McMillan in 2016. There are currently three rooms, across two locations in Christchurch.

Where:  Crate Escape
196 Armagh Street
Central City, Christchurch
(note: Crate Escape also exists in a second location for one of their rooms – Prison Break)

Website: Crate Escape

Cover photo credit: Crate Escape

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