*Update on June-2016: Lockdown is locked down for now, so their games is not available
I had the opportunity to play 2 games in Lockdown, Suria Sabah, in my recent trip to Kota Kinabalu. Do not confuse this Lockdown with the one in KL or Singapore (or Jakarta), they are completely different entities. This is the second game we played for the night, at 11pm~~ Yes, Lockdown Suria Sabah operates till 130am, with the last game available starting at 1245am. If you’re up to some late night escaping, this is the place to be. I would still suggest making a call before heading there, just in case.
The Undying Temple is Lockdown’s latest game, available since September 2015. It is certainly one of the biggest (both space- and puzzle- wise) and more complicated game that I’ve encountered. The game did overwhelmed the 3 of us, inclusive of myself and another 2 new-comers.
The first impressive feature in this game is the pre-brief greeting us at the entrance. The briefing, including the safety, precautions and story was presented in a video. The briefing was super clever in weaving the safety instructions into the theme. In this game, we’re a group of tourists stumbling upon a forbidden area in a temple in Japan. So we’re warned not to touch anything “sacred”-looking. We shall not rummage above the ceiling, lest there will be encounter with unknown beings.. If we need help, illuminate the “eye in the sky” with our torches. We are to be enlightened by some “higher powers”. This is seriously the most thematic safety briefing we ever had!
We love how the puzzles and story unfold in the game. We get narratives for each puzzle in English, slowly recounting the story. However, the clues of the puzzles, like items in a temple, are only in Jap/Chinese characters. Fear not if you don’t understand these characters. There are actually “tourist brochures” lying around (remember, we are tourists in Japan!) that will assist you in making use of the clues. This is a nice touch adding a little authenticity to the feel of being a tourist trapped in foreign country.
There is a mixture of simple and complex puzzles, making use of a lot of the seemingly unsuspicious looking things lying about. Puzzles are all related to the theme and the narratives, as the narratives will spell out clues on how to proceed. As things are indeed lying around in quite a number of rooms, there will be some backtracking between the rooms. Being multi-level, there will be quite some climbing and crawling and back-tracking between spaces. There is some interesting technology (and some magic) at play here, but nothing too fancy if you are well acquainted with games from Break-The-Code, Escape Room or Breakout. The Undying Temple is one of the most immersive games I experienced. Every element in game, from the briefing, to puzzles, clueing, ambience and end game, are all designed in line with the theme. There are no jumpscares, but do pay attention at the turn of corners… Like most of other Lockdown’s games, you will have a choice of different endings, the decision will not be an easy one.
If I would nitpick, the locks are not as sturdy as I like, as we had troubles unlocking a few of the numeric locks even if we got the numbers right. Torches on low batt also seem to be a running issue. Due to the multiple rooms and levels, I would recommend at least 4 players to tackle this game. We made it out in time, with copious amount of help. Lockdown allows 1 hint + 1 answer in game. We wasted quite a lot of time on a red herring, which was probably unintentionally set up by some previous players. We have given feedback on this matter. Hopefully, the offending piece will be removed or rectified.
I would also like to commend the customer service here. Our game master for the night is Zee Zee. After the game, he made sure we are satistifed with all the explanations on any unsolved puzzles before we leave.
As I’ve said, this was the second game with Lockdown that night, the first being Seven. Seven is an easier game, worthy of its own separate review. I do find that both Seven and The Undying Temple are good games with careful attention to ensure immersives not only by means of ambience, but also with well constructed narratives and puzzle/clueing designs. Apart from the Sabah outlet, you can also find Lockdown in Melaka. So, do give them a try if you’re in these historical cities. I can’t wait to try out The Wolf Within. It is a game with hidden identities, there’s a killer among ourselves!
Feature image taken from Lockdown’s website!