You’re chained to a wall and to the far end a clock blinks ominously in the dark as it counts down the time you’ve left. Only 50 minutes till someone in the room becomes the next meal in Carnivore’s Lair in The Escape Artist (T.E.A).

If you’re tired of mashing buttons and realistic computer/console graphics still leave you that bit short of a truly immersive game experience, T.E.A is a real life escape game that you can now play in a store, which has opened its second outlet this month. First brought to life in Japan, real-life escape games have slowly been gaining traction, with more than 30 such rooms in Budapest alone.

Escape games became popular when Chunsoft developed 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, a 2009 release that hit the market with near perfect ratings of 9/10 from review sites such as IGN and GamesRadar.

It’s a simple mash up of role-playing games and visual novels designed as puzzle games. With its story-heavy elements, most escape games require its players to find their way out while solving the mysteries of how they ended up abducted. This creates a thrilling sense of uncertainty over every decision you make.

The brainchild of 3 friends, the first store opened in April, bringing you different levels of difficulty and fear factors on a scale of 1 to 5 with each specially designed room. You might have to outwit the serial murderer hot on your trail or escape from a haunted hotel in another room. To promote replayability, each choice you make unfolds a new direction out of a possible 9 stories.

For those new to the game, perhaps a good starting point is Carnivore’s Lair. Drenched in red, the ominous lighting of the room and the plastic limbs scattered around immediately set the mood of the scene: dark, mysterious and deadly. In the room, the abandoned dresser and shelves only offer you a glimpse of what it was before, as you struggle with your feelings of anxiety and discomfort.

Carnivore’s Lair has a difficulty rating of 2/5, but don’t let the low number fool you, as this room only has a success rate of about 16%. For each attempt, a group of 5 to 8 players are given 50 minutes and multiple clues to break out of the room.

While playing, use your time wisely, and remember that brains and not brawn are your ticket out. In this game of wits, shifting shelves won’t help crack the codes, but flipping through the tattered remains of a notebook could bring you closer to solving the mystery as you scramble to decipher the hints.

Although simply putting a few broken pieces together can crack many clues, a nifty trick to beat the best timing of 32 minutes is to bring along a friend with a knack for patterns.

T.E.A prices range from $15 to $18 per person, which is a slightly cheaper alternative to Xcape Singapore whose prices range from $22 to $28 per person. With prices being only a little above those of movie tickets, perhaps taking a day to explore escape games will be better than going to the movies.

The Escape Artist

  • 170 Upper Bukit Timah Rd, #11-02, Bukit Timah Shopping Centre
  • 52A Prinsep Street, #01-01


Opening Hours: Noon to midnight, every day

Contact info:

  • Bukit Timah branch: 64636690
  • Prinsep branch: 68831540