Room: Mr. Keller’s Magic Emporium
Location: Escape Rooms Canberra 2/24 Dundas Court Phillip
Cost: $111 for 3 players
Escaped: Yes, in good time
Overall rating: 33/40
A beginner friendly room with excellent puzzles that definitely won’t disappoint.Mr. Keller’s Magic Emporium, a place where fun never dies.
You’ve applied for jobs all over town but nowhere is hiring… you. You’ve even tried the quaint toyshop downtown, run by the enigmatic ‘Mr. Keller’. A few days later you receive a letter in the post; it’s Keller inviting you back for a job interview, of sorts. He’s left you a series of tasks and puzzles; if you can complete them in 60-minutes or less then the job is all yours. If not, well that’s your own bad luck.
I’ve fallen behind in my reviews – can you forgive me? While I’m catching up on the Sydney rooms I’ve done over the past few months, I’m going to review two out of the three available rooms at Escape Rooms Canberra. Having played most of the best rated rooms in Sydney we decided to set our sights further afield and take a weekend roadtrip to Canberra, where we played two rooms back to back. The first, Mr. Keller’s Magic Emporium was the easier rooms of the two which gave us a good introduction as to how the rooms were set up. Different escape rooms cater to different kinds of thinking and I found Escape Rooms Canberra had rooms that were largely intuitive – at least for me.
As with some of the other rooms we’ve played, Escape Rooms Canberra uses walkie talkies over the voice of god system – but they can view what you’re doing on camera. For most of the games we’ve played recently we’ve requested to have hints given to us if the game master feels we’ve fallen too far behind. However, at Escape Rooms Canberra we were encouraged to ask for hints when we needed them instead. I’m pleased to report we only needed two, which is a new record for us!
I thought the theming in this room was excellent. I’ve been in more cohesive rooms and there were some parts that seemed to fit the theme a little less, but I thoroughly enjoyed all the little touches. A magic shop can be a tricky theme to work with because once you’ve exhausted the whole “magic tricks in a shop” idea you need to think outside the box. Cleverly, the premise of this room is that the owner has set you tasks to complete in order to prove yourself worthy, which provides a lot more scope. Each part of the room had a distinctly different feel which I personally enjoyed, and the puzzles were well tailored to fit each area.
This room had a mixture of high and low tech puzzles that all fitted the theme very well. There wasn’t anything that stood out to me as being out of place while I was playing, although on reflection I have a few questions about certain puzzles. There were some excellent things I hadn’t seen before which at this point is always impressive, and I really appreciated the narrative that tied it all together. There was a really diverse mix of puzzles which is always a good idea, particularly in a room like this that’s more beginner friendly. Although there were some puzzles I personally found frustrating, the variety meant that there was a good balance between things I loved and things I didn’t like so much. The type of puzzle that appeals to someone is always very subjective and as long as a puzzle works the way it’s supposed to, I’d much prefer a good variety even if that means playing through puzzles I find particularly challenging (ie anything with maths, geography, or really simple answers).
I had so much fun playing this room. As I mentioned previously it’s a good beginner room and the easiest of the three rooms at Escape Rooms Canberra – but it’s still got a lot of challenges! One of the things that makes it more beginner-friendly is the fact that it’s very linear and solving one puzzle will generally give you an idea of what you have to do next. The benefit of this is that you don’t spend the first twenty minutes trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do first. On the other hand, I found that there were times when a certain puzzle really only needed two people and because the room was linear there was nothing for the third person to do. If you’re experienced at escape rooms I’d recommend playing with just two people. There are a lot of rooms where anything under four people is a hindrance but this room could easily be played with a small number, which is great.
Unlike most rooms I’ve played, we didn’t go back and do a walkthrough after we’d finished, although I’m sure our gamemaster would have been happy to do so if we’d requested it. The team at Escape Rooms Canberra were really wonderful and worked with us to get us into our second room early, which meant we got back on the road a little quicker as well.
Overall rating: 33/40
A well themed room with some unexpected surprises.