What is an Escape Room? In short, participants have 60mins to get out of a locked room using their observation and communication skills; to crack codes and solve riddles to escape! Team work is an essential part of success and relies on sharing of information, thinking out of the box and helping out even when it’s not your job! There is only one objective, and that is to escape!
When we were approached to review a session at U Escape, I was keen to try it out. The PR company touted it by asking, “What if you could get a chance to forget about your parental role for awhile and instead join forces with your kids as equals and work your way out of an Escape Room together?“. Then when I mentioned it to Hubs, we started to get apprehensive. He’d only done it once in Penang, and I’d never done it before, and this time we were asked to bring our kids! The graphics seems quite mysterious, if a little cheesy, and I couldn’t find any other family blogs that had covered it. Like many activities, we were really not sure if it would be suitable for our kids, and we seriously almost backed out at the last minute.
But I am glad we did not. We went to U Escape on a weekday over the school holidays. We really did not know what to expect.
First, we were given a tour of all the rooms, and the last room was Room 13, where we were going to spend an hour trying to get ourselves out. I don’t have many photos of the rooms as they don’t want to give too many clues away. My kids are 4, 6 and 8 this year, and I was not sure how they would react. Would they be frightened? Cry? Be bored? Demand to be let out? Need to pee?
Despite our apprehension, we went ahead with the session. The very friendly staff explained how U Escape works and answered any questions that we had, and also let us know that they would be able to hear everything we would be saying, and would be able to speak with us through the monitor if they needed to. In each room there is a monitor which shows the time left that you have, and the staff can also send messages to us through the screen. The staff would be able to give us 3 clues, but each clue would add on 3 minutes to our overall time.
After we watched the short instructional video, we were ready to go! I was still a bit apprehensive, but was assured that they were not just abandoning us for an hour. So the kids started by exploring the room. This is what they do best right? Ransacking the drawers, opening everything they could, looking everywhere. Except this time they were being helpful and not annoyingly nosy!
During the course of the hour, what we found really helpful was that the staff could type out messages for us through the monitor, which would definitely be clearer than if they spoke to us. Once in a while they would gently nudge us towards some clues. I can’t imagine what would happen if we were stuck and had say 45 minutes more to go! I’ve heard that other escape rooms do not have this function. I think they gave us more than 3 clues, but maybe since they saw that we had such young kids, they were giving us “chance”. If they did, I’m thankful for that!
Our room was really well set up, in that the decor and paraphernalia were very well put together and the ambience felt so real. U Escape is a franchise from the States, and apparently it is the best Escape room company there. I say apparently because I had no experience with escape rooms prior to this! Here in Singapore, U Escape is brought to us by Timezone, and it is situated just next to the Timezone on level 7 in Plaza Singapura, so even while “locked” in the room we could still hear the music coming from the Timezone area. We could also hear some sounds from the staff on the other side of the monitor. I felt both noises were a little comforting – if the room had been eerily silent I think it might have been too realistic for our liking!!
Although the almost 4 YO didn’t really know what was going on, the 6 YO helped with looking around. The 8 YO was the one who did quite well and at the end even earned some praise from the staff for figuring out one of the clues! I also liked that some of the messages were directed to him, like “XXX, have you tried all the locks?”; they had asked him his name before we started the session, and it was nice to involve him.
After our 60 minutes were over, we were still curious about what we hadn’t solved, and the staff explained what we did well and what we missed out. It was quite elaborate and very well thought out, and I think even if we had 120 minutes, we probably would not have been able to complete it!
At the end, my 8YO was asking to try out another room, but it was already time for lunch and both Hubs and I needed a break from cracking our brains that last hour! We’d definitely be game to try it again.
Overall we had a really fun time at U Escape, and I would definitely recommend this to families! Each room can hold a maximum of 10 people, but the staff did say that they usually see a classic case of “too many cooks spoil the broth”, and more people doesn’t necessarily mean faster solutions. It would be great for friends, corporate bonding, and yes, definitely for families too.
What is the minimum age?
There is no minimum age. From our experience I think at least one child above 7 years old would gain more out of the session, while the younger ones are just being exposed to finding clues and being part of a team rather than solving them. Of course this is not a kids indoor playground, so don’t expect it to be baby proof. If I had a fussy baby or one whom might be crawling everywhere and putting things in his mouth, I would probably not include him. If he would be napping most of the time I think the rooms should be able to accommodate a stroller. I did not ask the staff but if there aren’t too many people in each room, it seems large enough for one stroller.
If you do decide to go, I like this lock board that’s out at the reception area, and I think it is a good introduction to kids on following clues and unlocking locks (because there can be many many of them in a room!).
Plaza Singapura #07-08A
68 Orchard Road
Tel: 6337 0049
Students: Peak $26, off-peak $20
Adults: Peak $29, Off-peak $26
Peak: Monday-Thursday after 6pm and Friday-Sunday whole day
Off-Peak: Monday-Thursday before 6pm
Children under 12 years old will be charged as student price. Children under 6 years old are free.