Reviewed at the The Parks Theatres on 20 March 2019
Presented by The Parks Theatres
Initially set up for the 2019 Adelaide Fringe, the popularity of the Zombie Apocalypse escape room has resulted in this interactive game continuing as a regular attraction at The Parks Theatres for the foreseeable future. Those late sessions still available through the Adelaide Fringe website are now sold out with ticket sales moving over to The Parks Theatres website going forward.
Anyone who has played an escape room in the past is bound to be impressed with the difficulty of this home-grown effort, which would be rated “hard” by the professionals. It’s designed for a minimum of two players, up to a maximum of five or six players per session. Towards the end of the game, more players are likely to have success than a smaller group.
The premise of the game is as the name suggests: you have been kidnapped and injected with a fatal serum. In the bunker of the mad scientist, you must not only escape within the hour, but find the antidote. Dramatic original music, occasional taunting announcements, and a verbal countdown all add to the tension as you race against the clock to find and solve a series of clues.
The challenges range from locating keys to solving puzzles. There’s a good variety of tests and a lot of them. There’s only three black marks which restrict this game: Firstly, it’s not wheelchair or disability friendly as it takes place in the bowels of The Parks Theatre, requiring players to navigate steps, and bend through a very low, narrow entrance. This restriction is promoted however, so ticket buyers will be aware.
The second strike is that some of the wall markings act as unintentional red herrings which waste a lot of time. They are on the walls due to the nature of the venue and have nothing to do with the game. These need to be identified to players before starting the game because time is precious if there’s any hope of escaping within the allocated period.
The third and final black strike involves a computer puzzle. The game masters have cleverly whited out the screen and special glasses are needed to faintly see what’s on the screen. The visuals are very washed out however and I could not see the mouse on the screen at all. Not even slightly. If not for my companion, I would not have been able to complete that puzzle due to the exceptionally bad visuals.
These latter two issues can be rectified and, as a first time venture for The Parks Theatres, the game is evolving and being tweaked as required. Hopefully both these latter issues will be deader than a zombie fairly soon. Until then, multiple players will hopefully be able to compensate for that final issue, as was the case in my session.
Zombie Apocalypse is a common name in the gaming world. There’s online gaming and professional escape rooms overseas that are all named the same. This particular apocalypse however, stacks up well against them. It is well thought out overall and put together very smartly. It’s a tense hour of fast-past fun that will amuse and challenge everyone, including those who have successfully completed other escape rooms in the past.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Venue: The Parks Theatres, Parks Community Centre, 46 Cowan St, Angle Park
Duration: 1 hour