Brisbane Escapes: Sherlocked @ Quest Rooms

Terrorists have plotted to blow up London! Even Scotland Yard’s finest aren’t good enough to find the final bomb’s location, so you’ll need to seek the help of the famous Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Unfortunately, Sherlock appears to have vanished, and soon you will find yourself… Sherlocked.

General Details

“Sherlocked”
Quest Room, 13 Cordelia St, South Brisbane
60 minutes
2-5 players allowed
Listed difficulty: Hard (though this is inaccurate)
Website

How We Played

5 March 2017
4 players
Succeeded
Hints: 1
Around 40ish minutes? No timer provided.

The Experience

Quest Rooms is a newly-opened business (as of writing they are about a month old). They have identified a bit of a gap in the escape room market in Brisbane, looking to provide highly immersive experiences with extremely high quality set design and tech-driven progression. Apparently this is the main style of rooms in their home country, Russia.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, the experience is exceptional – I have no hesitations in saying they are the most immersive rooms currently available in Brisbane. The set and props in Sherlocked are of such high quality that it will fool you into thinking you really are in 19th century London searching 221b Baker Street.

The set design supports a simple but effective narrative progression, with puzzles that, with a couple of exceptions, cleverly re-enact elements of Holmes’ method. Even the more abstract puzzles feel embedded within the world due to their clever use of props, despite not making sense narratively.

The room is driven by low-level tech implemented in clever ways to give you a feeling of surprise at every turn. There are very few padlocks in Sherlocked, with progression gated via other methods. This makes Quest Room stand out in the Brisbane escape room scene.

The main improvements I would like to see are to general procedure. The briefing felt a little rushed and unofficial, and it would have been nice to have a timer of some description in the room to keep track of how long we had. In particular, it was a shame not to be given a precise time at the end of the session. Nevertheless, the two owners are lovely and attentive, keeping track of your progress and offering hints via walkie-talkie when it appears you have reached a road block.

Puzzle Design

One of the difficulties in Sherlocked is that the set design is so immersive it can be difficult to ascertain what is part of a puzzle. There were a few occasions where we were reluctant to fiddle with things due to their apparent fragility, but they turned out to be integral parts of a puzzle. When doing Sherlocked, keep in mind that the only things you are not supposed to fiddle with are clearly marked – don’t try to second guess the designers!

On a more macro level, it is worth noting that, while there is quite a lot to fiddle with, the puzzles themselves follow a strictly linear design. Making matters worse for large groups, Sherlocked has a few time-consuming activities that can only be completed by one person, leaving everyone else waiting around. As a result, Sherlocked feels designed for smaller groups of two or three. Our group of four felt too large.

Otherwise, the puzzles are a good mix of observation, ciphers, physical activities and reasoning. One puzzle requires a basic knowledge of Sherlock Holmes and could use a clearer indication of what needs to be done, particularly since it uses props that are a little fragile.

Overall, the puzzles in Sherlocked are fun, but they act as a supporting act to the main feature of the immersive set and cool moments.

The Bottom Line

I recommend Sherlocked for small groups of two or three players. Any more than that will leave some with little to do. Small groups, however, will find a highly immersive room with puzzles that are a bit more interesting than the standard key code or combination lock. Sherlocked provides a great opportunity to get swept up in the 19th century exploits of the world’s greatest detective!

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