Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Review: Clocklocked - Dexter

We dig around the room for clues and someone starts dragging things out and leaving them strewn all over the floor. In the limited space we have, everything becomes a tripping hazard.

I accidentally tip water down the back of my neck and to my right, my friend makes an incredulous noise.

"What's wrong?"

He shows me the back of a laminated piece of card.

"Are they seriously making us solve a Sudoku?"

Clocklocked is located away from the hustle and bustle of George Street and the rest of the city, a ten-minute walk from Broadway. Their lobby for the most part, is difficult to find. We hover uncertainly in front of the building and try to determine if there is a side entrance or a way to penetrate its study glass doors. Buzzing the office number does not help, and we eventually James Bond our way in, surreptitiously catching the door ajar as a gentleman makes his way out of the building.

It occurs to us afterwards that if we had not done so, we may not had been let in for a very long time.

Dory, our host and game master is full of bouncy enthusiasm, showing us where to stow our bags and maintaining a fast-paced conversation as she briefs us and has us sign our waivers. She explains (over the buzz of electric drills and constant hammering) that they are constructing their third room, Cleopatra, and so Dexter, the room we are completing today, has been modified and relocated.
Her passion for escape rooms translates into efficiency, and before long, we are ushered without ceremony, into the room and the door is locked behind us.

Clock Locked: Dexter Summary
Difficulty: 4/10 
If straightforward thinking is your kind of thing, Dexter is the room for you. You can expect mathematics, pattern recognition and simple associations. There were a number of puzzles that my group accidentally brute forced – messing around, even without all the required parts still got us the answer. Dexter is supposed to be Clocklocked’s hardest room. I was personally underwhelmed by the lack of creativity, and irritated by what felt like unimaginative and somewhat obtuse efforts to prolong our time in the room. Solving a Sudoku? If I wanted to complete a Sudoku square, I'd pick up a newspaper. That is not a clever or innovative use of puzzling or theme. Which brings us to -
Theme: 3/10
Besides the props placed about to hinder us in the room, theming felt superficial and borrowed as an excuse to gather a number of mediocre puzzles together to experience at a fee. I was very disappointed that none of the puzzles tied in with the theme of the room, and that none of the props were utilised as a means to deliver clues in a more creative way. I easily could have been in a beach-themed room, and the puzzles would still have worked - they were simply that irrelevant.
Staff: 8/10
Friendly, genuine and full of drive. We only spoke to one staff member the entire time we were there, but Dory was attentive, professional and did her utmost to make our experience as enjoyable as possible. We only ask that someone be present to buzz us in or answer the phone when we’re stuck on the street outside. We were offered bottled water and lollies as brain fuel.
Quality and Venue: 6/10  
Besides my initial grumble about accessibility, there are a few more things I found issue with: construction occurred throughout our entire session; immersion in the theme was difficult to say the least. Because of these renovations, Dexter had to be moved to a smaller room, and while it had little effect on the style of play or effect of the theme, I did find that the claustrophobia caused difficulty in the hunt-and-seek portions of the escape. Puzzles were functional, and everything was mostly clean and well-maintained. Their lobby was nice, but oddly, almost lazily decorated with fake cobwebs and a giant, jarring image of a flower field as a sort of feature wall. With Cleopatra still heavily under construction at the time, we were unable to look inside, but a peek at DaVinci showed us a bright, clean room with the promise of simpler, possibly interesting puzzles.
Overall: 4/10 
I adored our game master, but I was so unhappy with my experience in the room that not even Dory’s energetic encouragements could get me to smile in our photo.

What we did
4 Players
3 Hints
Finished with about 17 minutes to spare.

Players: 3-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Child-friendly? No, but with adult supervision, Da Vinci may provide fun for the whole family.
Price: $120 per room, $100 if you are a group of students.
Booking: Online, on their website, or over the phone.

Suite 101 Level 5
330 Wattle St
Ultimo 2007


This review is backdated to 05-01-15. Clocklocked may have made changes to their office and facilities since we last visited.


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