Do you have the Mind to Escape? I and a select group of my Durban friends – including my younger sister, Dawn – suspected we might have and so we decided to put Durban’s Premier Escape Room experience to the test.
On Monday 13th of August, six intrepid clue hunters known as Team Fish Poop [I provided the ‘Fish’ and have no idea which of these juveniles decided to throw in some faeces] took on The Forgotten Temple Room at Midgame Escape which can be found in Granada Square, Umhlanga.
Ruzika Verryn was on hand to welcome us and prep us for the journey ahead [“If it’s firmly attached, don’t rip it off the wall!”] and completely intimidate us by drawing our attention to the fact that the record for solving our room was 37 minutes and some change. I think most of us would have been happy to just make it out before the hour we were given had ticked off. We were in for a pleasant surprise.
This blog post is going to be written in such a way as to not spoil any of the surprises or give away any clues so I will stick to overall general experience rather than the specifics of how amazing we were at solving the puzzles, with the highlight being the time the _________ started to ______ when _____ and I were _____ and we decided to ____________.
Let me let Mindgame Escape Room give you their own introduction:
Your detective expertise is needed! Bring your friends and colleagues to form your own team of adventurers; gather clues, solve puzzles, combine information, decipher secret meanings and trigger hidden mechanisms. Success can only be achieved by working together, and you will need to combine your brainpower to stay cool and profit from each other’s strengths while the clock is ticking. Will you escape in time?
The Rooms currently at play
There are three differently themed rooms you can choose between and each one has it’s own unique way of testing your team’s skills. First up is the Sherlock Holmes Baker Street Adventure:
Murder! Panic! The streets aren’t safe anymore. You have been tasked with bringing down Victorian London’s most notorious gang – The Baker Street Five – and solving the ultimate murder mystery!
Baker Street Mystery challenges players to solve a murder mystery while attempting to dismantle the notorious Baker Street Five, a high-profile gang that has been terrorizing Victorian London. Can you carefully observe your surroundings, find the subtlest of clues, and correctly piece together the mystery to identify the members of the Baker Street Five before the trail grows cold?
Next up is Houdini’s Basement Escape:
For generations, Harry Houdini’s escapes have astounded audiences. From handcuffs to straitjackets, there seemed to be no method of restraint that could defeat the legendary escape artist. Some have said that even death itself was no match for Houdini’s spirit.
You will find puzzles, clues, magical secrets, and some facts about Houdini you may not have known. You will witness magic take place, and may even perform some magic yourself.
Some say the spirit of Houdini embodies this very room. Don’t be surprised if you hear some inexplicable noises, or feel a slight breeze caress your cheek. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether it’s your imagination, or if Houdini is trying to perform the ultimate escape.
Lastly, was the room we tackled which is the newest addition to Mindgame Escape Rooms and is known as The Forgotten Temple:
A new, unexplored ancient Mayan Temple was discovered just 3 weeks ago! Archaeologists are both excited, and baffled – they have found inscriptions referencing a dreaded curse, but cannot decipher the exact descriptions! They requested assistance, but it seems we have a massive problem!
The first team of archaeologists that entered to explore the temple have not been heard from since. The locals tell tales of an ancient curse, a Mayan King and the death of his firstborn. We need your team to venture into a long forgotten time with flickering fires and secret passages. It seems many teams have entered, but none have escaped…
Do you have what it takes to escape before falling victim to the dreaded curse?
This is the room Dawn and Debbie and Barry and Dylan and Jani and I tackled and it turns out the answer is, “Yes. Yes we do.” At any point during your adventure you are allowed to call for hints [if you use more than three hints you can’t get the record time!] and we pretty much made it to the end of the room without asking for hints, although one was given to us from the outside [they stalk our every move!] when we got a little distracted by some props that weren’t part of the game while trying to solve the final puzzle and the only time we did phone for a hint was when we had literally finished the game and missed a ____ falling out of a _____.
There was also a digit not working on the timer in our room and so when we were rushing out of the room at the end I literally thought we had a minute to go and was super pleasantly surprised when we were told our time was 41 minutes and change. A few small lapses and struggles with particular puzzles and we could have really threatened the record, which I never suspected. So am really happy about that.
In a nutshell you are locked into a room which has a number of puzzles and locks [both number and letter] and various objects which are thematic [some hold clues, some are just props] and as a team you have to solve the clues to escape the room and solve the specific mystery they give you. At one point we did have the Mindgame people phone in and order us to lock one of the locks which I had unlocked by guesswork more than solvitude [which I will take as a compliment – I beat the game!] but for the most part we broke into smaller groups and worked on different puzzles at the same time and it was amazing how each person brought their strength to the game and so it definitely felt like teamwork.
It was more fun than any of us imagined and we could not stop talking about it for hours and maybe days after the event. Mindgame Escape also facilitates team-building exercises using their rooms and so perfect for corporate activities or just fun party events. You can be brave [or crazy] and compete as a pair and then all the way up to six people, but for the cameraderie and in-jokes and vibe i would recommend you fill the room with five of your favourite people and have an absolute blast.
You can find all the details for Mindgame Escape on their webpage over here and you can also follow their page on Facebook or find them on the Twitterer or Instagram. For any other information feel free to email them at email@example.com
Do you believe you have what it takes?