Originally designed by a high school physics teacher in Switzerland as a way to challenge his students, Adventure Rooms has spread across the globe and the Adelaide branch boasts two differently themed adventures – The Mad Scientist and the Black Queen.
Each room is designed for groups of two to seven people and has a surprisingly small escape rate of just 30 per cent.
Arriving for the Mad Scientist room on Thursday, my guest and I were surprised to find we were the only people attending the 7pm timeslot.
As we were led into a dimly lit room, we were warned that if we had not escaped by the time the mad scientist returned (in exactly one hour), we would be captured and used in his twisted experiments. As the door closed behind us, a soundtrack of eerie music began to play, signalling the start of our challenge. A clock on the nearby computer screen began its dreaded countdown.
My initial confidence that we would manage to escape wavered as we frantically searched for hidden keys, deciphered cryptic clues and encountered a seemingly endless arrangement of coded padlocks. Each clue must be solved before you can progress, and there are several items hidden around the sparsely furnished room – some designed to help you and others designed to mislead and distract.
It’s easy to feel trapped in the small room, and the minimal light created by a single lamp adds to the challenge. The foreboding music creates a feeling of tension and dread throughout the entire experience, while the countdown clock creates more pressure.
Unfortunately, we were unable to escape in time, but we would possibly have had more success with a larger group to help solve the clues and puzzles.
Challenging and cleverly designed, Adventure Rooms: The Mad Scientist will satisfy puzzle lovers of all ages.
Adventure Rooms (level 1, 51-53 Rundle Mall) is running as part of the Adelaide Fringe until March 10.
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