Brisbane Escapes: The Covenant @ Escape Manor

6 June 2006. Life was hard then. Suddenly: an opportunity. An advert in the paper. The lawyer Lou Cipher offers to fix your life – for a price. You sign on the dotted line. Years later, a dark cloud hangs over you. You realise it all started after that day. You return to Lou Cipher’s office hoping to escape from… The Covenant.

“The Covenant”
Escape Manor, Lvl 4, 45 Edward St, Brisbane CBD
45 minutes
2-6 players allowed
Listed difficulty: 17% (success rate)

How We Played

3 June 2017
5 players
Hints: 1
32 minutes 25 seconds

The Experience

First, it is important to mention that our group were kind of unofficial beta testers for The Covenant. An unfortunate delay in the room’s build meant that some of the finishing touches were not quite ready. As such, a lot of what I say makes some educated assumption about the room’s likely finished state.

It is a good sign, then, that I really enjoyed The Covenant, despite the rough edges. It has one of the most inventive stories in a Brisbane escape room, which is appreciated even if the story’s ‘twist’ is obvious from the start.

The name change (in Canada this room is called The Darkness) is a huge improvement as well – which is a weird point to make, but it feels a lot more appropriate. The room contains simple furnishings to begin with, but it becomes more elaborate later. With the set-up is finalised, I think the room’s second half will be a real highlight.

The props, too, are sturdy and fun to play with. The puzzles don’t require anything too intricate involving them, but they are satisfying (and one or two of the padlocks feel great to use). There is a quirk with one late-game padlock where the numbers don’t line up the way you would normally expect, but I’m not entirely sure how this could be signposted without breaking immersion.

Puzzle Design

The Covenant is designed in a similar fashion to The Asylum overall, with multiple interlaced puzzles that eventually culminate in a single central purpose. In fact, The Covenant is a little more complex and interesting due to the fact it has multiple gradually-introduced objectives. Each of these builds on the others, so you always feel purposeful in your actions and know your goal, even when it’s changing.

There is a bit of searching in The Covenant – and some objects are really well hidden. This does create a similar problem to the one in The Asylum, where you reach a choke point and don’t realise you are missing something that was accessible from the start. My team is traditionally bad at searching, so your mileage may vary. Luckily we are great at other things, allowing us to save the single hint provided for that moment.

There is a pleasant variety in the puzzles, and I particularly liked some of the more riddle-like ones that felt very appropriate to the theme. Perhaps tossing in an extra riddle could help point some of the bad searchers (like us) to the more well-hidden items?

The Bottom Line

The Covenant is another Escape Manor room that works perfectly with a larger group. Four or more people would have no problem finding things to do. The story feels unique, but is not intrusive, the puzzles cleverly interlace to guide players through changing goals, and the mid-point change in atmosphere is well-handled. The Covenant is another room I recommend for groups of mixed experience levels due to its strong flow, interesting theme, and open puzzle structure.

Comments 1

  1. Yeah i think if they’re going to be that sneaky with hiding things, they need to make a mark or etching that catches someone’s eye. Can be subtle but at least have something there.
    hate tricky locks, such time wasters, makes us second guess and go over the working out of the answer, when we got it right the first time, but lock is just crap. Also there was a very unclear character for no reason, we had to call to clarify if we’re correct because of this 1 character which wasn’t clear what it should be and that stupid lock.
    Also 45mins and 1 clue is not cool. What happened to 60mins man!

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