Find out why UAE residents are paying to be locked in rooms

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Find out why UAE residents are paying to be locked in rooms

Dubai - If you love escape games, this one is bound to keep you hooked


Janice Rodrigues

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Published: Thu 7 Jul 2016, 5:07 PM

Last updated: Thu 7 Jul 2016, 7:12 PM

With the weather getting hotter, options for outdoor activities may seem pretty slim at the moment. Luckily, adventurous UAE residents can take respite in a phenomenon that swept into the country at the end of 2014 and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. We're talking about escape game, of course.
The concept, as its name suggests, is downright simple. You and your team are locked inside a room for an hour, with nothing but your own creativity, persistence and puzzle-solving ability to get you out. If you're worried about your math or geography skill not being up to the mark, fret not. Escape games don't really require any particular set of skills or knowledge, meaning anyone and everyone can be a part of it. Just be open-minded, enthusiastic, and have fun!
To give you a lowdown of the inner workings of an escape game, we took a peek through Escape Quest's latest challenge - 'The Lab of Dr Zol'.
Getting started
Always ensure you book in advance. Escape Quest currently also has summer offers such as its 'Mad Monday promotion, where you get 50 per cent off for 5 members, 40 per cent off for 4, and so on and so forth, so do look out for such deals. And once you book, show up 15 minutes before time so you can be prepped. The game is located in the 20th floor of HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, and it is rather hard to find.
The 60 minutes begins
We were led into a pristine, almost minimalistic room (well, it was supposed to be a lab after all). But that's not all - there's a wall hiding away another part of the room. The only way to get to the hidden side? By finding a mysterious key.
Once you're locked in, things automatically get very exciting. You're very aware of the screen sitting innocently in the corner with a 60-minute countdown, and a camera capturing your every bumbling move. The clues themselves are ingenious, tough enough to take a while to solve, and yet obvious enough to have you groaning once you've uncovered them. And if you do happen to get stuck, there's a little button you can press that will dispense a clue to help you get along.
My team and I were a bit too stubborn to push the button and ask for help (we, very optimistically, and foolishly, wanted to win on our own merit). But if you're on the right track, or just a little too stuck, the team behind Escape Quest will graciously give you a little nudge via a riddle or tip through the screen.   
It may have started with us taking it slow, even goofing off from time to time (pictures posing in labcoats were taken), but we soon realised that time was of essence. Half an hour was down before we managed to make it to the other side of the wall (learn from our mistakes and work faster!) - only to find a zanier, even wackier room. Expect to find things like a (fake) stuffed crow and a skeleton as you hunt amongst Dr Zol's wacky things. And keep in mind, that anything and everything is a potential clue. Bit by bit, information about the mysterious doctor also comes to light - but I don't want to give anything away.
You don't have to unearth any specific puzzle to get to the next, although there are obviously tasks that have to be done to move forward. And note that the challenges aren't just mental - there's some physical stuff that you need to take care of if you ever want to get to your next clue.
With ten minutes left on our hands, everything turned into a blur. The room looked like it had been ransacked (I did not envy whoever had to put it back in place) and we were frantically searching through bits and bobs to find out way out. The screen was (thankfully) egging us on, and a final epiphany finally helped us find our golden ticket out.
We left with only 2 minutes on the clock, and looking back, I can't even remember how the time flew by.
There is little wonder why escape games have risen in popularity in the last year. Not only are they fun and challenging, they're also team building exercises, formulated specifically to make people work with one another. We were certainly flushed with success after our great escape.
So, if you think you have what it takes to be super sleuth, get yourself locked up this summer. Whether you do get out in time or not, you're in for a 60-minute treat.

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