Either Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes or even leading to solving a crime scene — we’ve all at some point in our lives enjoyed solving puzzles and watching crime-solving shows that not only got our brains buzzing but our adrenalin running.
Now, what do you get when you combine the two, solve your very own scene whilst figuring out clues and putting together puzzles that give you the answer you need — the name of the game? Escape Rooms!
Popping up all over the world after the success of online escape room games — physical escape rooms have become increasingly popular all over the world and has now landed in Muscat! Oman Observer met with Mohamed Fikry from Xcape Muscat, the Sultanate’s very own escape room!
It all started whilst Mohamed was still working in the IT industry, “the company had allowed me to express my love for mental edutainment and we would make mock escape rooms in our company. After researching the escape room, we realised that it would make more sense to commercialise the idea than to just keep it inside our company.”
An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategy to complete the objectives at hand. Players are given a set time limit to unveil the secret plot which is hidden within the rooms. Escape rooms are inspired by “escape-the-room”–style video games.
Games are set in a variety of fictional locations, such as prison cells, museums, and space stations, and usually, the various puzzles and riddles themselves follow the theme of the room.
The feature which distinguishes the game is that the players are inside the game; they can touch the objects, see the real world which has been spun around them and feel the pressure. Each room has a set theme and a storyline which is let the team members truly live and breathe in unison for a set time limit.
The concept behind Xcape Muscat as Mohamed explained, he said, “Oman is known for being an entertainment hub and people like the value of entertainment provided by different areas here. However, the concept is to allow our customers to be challenged mentally through living the story of the room. This allows for teams to increase their friendship and bonds through working together to solve the mystery of the room.”
Xcape Muscat currently runs three rooms that have different themes — The Museum, The Hostage, and The “Saloon” Murder.
Museums are more historical and are tied to the Oman Museum, the clues are tired up to the theme of Oman Museum and thus you can escape the room and learn more about Oman’s history and culture. The Hostage theme runs two scenarios: Adventure, and thrilling. With Adventure, there is a limited time with the room where you need to escape the room, so it works more with stories of epic proportions and intense mental fortitude.
The hostage starts with the player being tied up so the clues are around them to get away from the room they are tied in and the bomb that might go off.
The last theme is The Salon Murder. The mystery is in the air as you and your friends try to crack and solve the murder case before you, the clues are set to help you put on your detective hat and work hard to crack the case. Or will the murderer escape? Escape rooms tap into that desire for the social and the physical while also providing intellectual stimulation and a bit of a thrill. Some rooms try to make the experience slightly scary, to add to the rush of the time crunch.
People enjoy the immersive experience and it tickles “A love of mental challenges and a story to be told. I just wanted to share my passion to bring in the mental entertainment to Oman and the world. Not only that but what I envision in the future is a Treasure Hunt concept, where corporates compete against each other to find the solution to the outdoor ‘escape room’ and get the ‘treasure’. I want Oman to experience the same rush that we experienced working in the company. I want them to experience the love and memories of thinking and cracking riddles. Something for friends, family, tourists, and co-workers.” Mohamed Added
An escape from everyday monotony, and just a time to have fun. The feeling of being challenged mentally and just enjoy for a few minutes to a couple of hours the adrenaline rush that comes with the adventure of such games.
From Clue to Risk, we as human beings have always been looking for that next challenge that will make us feel more accomplished, and just better.
It is a bonding experience and at the end of the day, the laughter and gathering. Mohamed reminisced his childhood, he said, “I remember when I was a child and I would play with my parents and siblings monopoly and how we would try to get the most. I remember playing with my cousin’s card games that helped us get better at strategising.
The hours spent playing video games just to get quicker reflexes and so on and so forth.
All those memories are what draws people to the games. I believe Xcape Muscat is the compilation of all that. The nostalgia of the past with the adrenaline rush of the future.”
So if you’re looking to catch the murderer or escape from a hostage situation, head on over to Xcape Oman located in Hay Al Sarooj. For more information check them out on @xcapemuscat on Instagram or on their website www.xcapemuscat.com