We entered the Evil Room at Kamala Mills' Amazing Escape and lived to tell a fairly blah tale
What's the scariest thing that can happen on any given day in Mumbai? Getting stuck in traffic for half an hour when you have to be half way across town in 10 minutes, suffering a wardrobe malfunction when you find yourself in a general compartment on the local and discovering that you have put on 2 kg in the last one day do count as the stuff that nightmares are made of.
However, it was Evil Lucy — who wants your very soul — who gave us the heebie jeebies on Tuesday night as we (i.e. the Sunday Mid-day team) thought of a plan, right from safe words to karate chops, ahead of our Wednesday experience at Kamala Mills' The Amazing Escape.
When we arrived 10 minutes ahead of the 11.30 am time, there was no one at the venue expecting us. They finally arrived by 11.50 am and the game master Priya asked which experience we had booked. She tried telling us that Lucy wasn't scary enough, but we stuck to our guns, or had to, since that was our brief. But, she wouldn't tell us what we could expect inside. Every question about who we'd meet or what might jump at us was answered with a shrug and a "I don't know". Between the four of us we were given two torches so that we could navigate the 250 sq ft room as we looked for clues and solved them within 60 minutes in order to exit the room successfully. A help button would let us summon Priya in case we needed help with clues and/or escape.
The team reviewed The Amazing Escape’s Evil Lucy anonymously. We weren't allowed to take pictures, but we decided to don their props to celebrate our surviving the game
Warning: spoilers ahead
The clues were, sour grapes aside, a bit vague. We couldn't figure which one pointed to which puzzle. Some unlock doors, some drawers and some help you make a call to Lucy. Only problem is, once you do resolve one step, you don't know where to look for the next one. If you find another clue, there's no guarantee that you haven't missed something in between. There are several ways in which the game masters have misguided the players. It's just the 20th time that you hit something and nothing happens that you realise that may be it wasn't a clue after all.
Low score on scare-o-meter
Yes, we did shriek and jump out of our skin, especially when someone we weren't expecting turned up in the room (who wouldn't), but, even the surprise entrant looked like a prop after two minutes (especially since we were acutely aware that this wasn't a real-life axe murderer) and the room(s) began to look like a backroom store for Ramsay productions. That we could see the speakers also took away from an immersive experience.
On the memorable side, this was a great trust-building exercise (we can already see HR teams making notes) and a time that your friends and you will remember. You hold your breath, grasp, giggle and scream a little — collectively. What's even better, this is a time when you may catch people behaving out of character. Enough to fuel jokes for the next month or so.
Making it better
The clues need to be sharper and guide you about what you are looking for. The clues also don't give you a narrative. If that is brought in, solving clues might
be both easier and scary at the same time.
Perhaps, instead of having the game master walk in every time you are stuck, a projection on the walls with the way ahead might help. Audio quality could be better and ambient noise could be less cliché. There could have been more jumps in the gameplay. This one is advertised as "not for the faint-hearted", but for people who might think they'd need to wear adult diapers to tackle this, this was child's play. In fact, we even cracked a few jokes. The biggest mystery that you really need to resolve, however, is where is Lucy.
When: Every day of the week
Where: The Amazing Escape Mumbai Kamala Mills, Lower Parel
Entry: For group of four R3200 (Rs. 800 for every addition after).
Maximum group of six