In our constant mission to create the most engaging Escape Room experience ever, we travel the world visiting our competition. From Philly warehouses in North America to Colonial Plantations in South America, this time we went to the Philippines: a beautiful country with a lot to offer.
I was looking for an opportunity to test my abilities in a completely different type of room. While traveling last week I did some research for our adventure and found 6 Escape Rooms in Metro Manila and decided to try one with positive reviews called “Mystery Manila” in Makati, Philippines.
At “Mystery Manila” I chose a Harry Potter themed room called “World of Wizardry”. To my surprise I was given a black gown and entered the room with a live wizard to “protect me”.
“As a trainee wizard, you and your friends are tasked to steal the magical time turner and stop Sidius from his evil master plan that will change the world of wizardry. To do this you must learn to mix potions, cast spells and solve magical puzzles,” my master wizard explained. He also instructed what I was and was NOT allowed to touch.
I was excited, the room was dark and full of wizardly looking things. Potions everywhere and whimsical music helped me get in character. I saw a black gown with a mask, spider webs, skulls and symbols all over the walls.
Time started and I didn’t know where to begin. Looking around I found old potion books, little boxes with clues, secret symbols, riddles, lots of potion bottles, old medicine books, and nothing more. The room didn’t seem to have a lot of secrets. Nothing really seemed obvious so I gathered everything I could and placed it on a table in the middle of the room. Soon I found out I really had to mix potions in order to stop Sidius and find my way out. Aqua, Bogart, Zurra, Gillyweed and more weird looking herbs and ingredients were needed. It took me a while to connect the dots, solve the riddles and mix the perfect potion (Yes, use actual liquids!). The music kept getting faster or so I thought, my heart was pounding as time went by. I couldn’t find a clear path. I managed to move along and get some answers, but I was nowhere near the end. The master in the room with me asked if I wanted a clue with a 5 minute penalty and I refused. This added to my excitement as I looked at the clock with 30 remaining minutes and I panicked.
I searched the walls, the floor, underneath, over and behind objects without any luck. I went around the rooms 3 times until Eureka!! I found part of what I was looking for. I put it together and now I had a new puzzle in front of me, I kept staring at the puzzle, the table, and the walls and nothing; No! I was stuck again! I took a breath and cleared my mind and Boom! To my surprise the answer was looking right at me the whole time. I had to laugh at myself. I discovered how to unlock the final phases of the game, rushed through them until Yes! I had stopped Sidius. But alas, I still had to “escape” the room. So, as my heartbeat accelerated and my clumsy, sweaty fingers shook I finally escaped with 7 minutes to spare. I breathed a sigh of relief and accomplishment.
It was an exhilarating experience. Soon after I finished, I sat down to catalog the most engaging aspects and puzzles. For example, I found it uncomfortable to have the Room Master IN the room with me. He often looked bored and that detracted from my experience. Furthermore, I didn’t appreciate the “maybe you should look here, and don’t look there” comments. The room also lacked mechanical puzzles. ALL of the clues were word riddles. A challenging room should have a mix of both word riddles and mechanical puzzles. What I did like was “Mystery Manila’s” attempt to keep everything connected to the theme. The mixing of potions was also a nice touch.
As opening day at CapturedLV approaches, you can be sure we will apply the best of this and other rooms we’ve seen all over the world in our new adventure.
Stay tuned for more visits, Turkey, Mexico, maybe Peru!!! Here we go.
We’ll keep you posted and keep the rush!!!
Game Design 7/10
WOW factor 7/10