The Hoi An Now team were put to the test and scared witless at Hoi An’s brand new escape room. There won’t be any tips or spoilers because it would be a shame to ruin the fun!
‘Ellie Susan, 23 years old, last seen in Hoi An. After a number of children and locals have gone missing, the local police have located a mysterious house, and sent in their top investigators. After entering the house, three detectives have immediately quit, two have come out of the room only able to utter two words: “doll” and “mannequin”. Ellie Susan’s family have called on YOU to try and solve the case…’
By this point in the introduction, I already had goosebumps! Arriving for the game, the reception area is painted with blood, and our welcome drinks were served in skull-shaped glasses. Achieving something even vaguely eerie in the bright midday sun of Hoi An is pretty impressive: or maybe I’m just a massive wimp…
The premise after that is simple: you’re locked in a room and have one hour to tackle a series of puzzles in order to escape. The staff monitor you through cameras to check on your progress, and you’re allowed two clues. I will confess that we did not get out, but we were reassured that we were only one final puzzle away from escape!
All I will say about the room is that it was unlike every room escape I’ve done before – firstly because the atmosphere was genuinely creepy, and secondly because it employs real actors. I had been sceptical about this when I read it on their website but it genuinely enhanced the experience, and having done an informal straw poll of room-escape-aficionados back in the UK, this is quite an unusual addition.
Oh and ladies, a sartorial tip – I wore a loose dress, and at one point ended up exposing myself rather dramatically: unless it was me being particularly inelegant, I’d recommend shorts!
The room’s designer, Chris Love, was bitten by the escape room bug in Scotland, before trying other rooms in Italy and elsewhere in Vietnam. He wanted to create something different and finally chose the horror theme, one that has been executed very well. Alongside his business partner, he’s been crafting the puzzles and plot of the room for the last three months: “We really wanted to afford the visitors to Hoi An a truly unforgettable experience and we believe that we have accomplished that.”
Personally I think Escape IQ really does fill a gap in the market in Hoi An – when you’ve exhausted all the cooking classes and food tours, and you’re finally sick of looking at lanterns, this provides a welcome shot of adrenaline without travelling too far afield. And it’s an excellent choice for those rainy days, or even an escape from the burning sun.
Go now, you won’t regret it!