Humanity’s fate is in your hands. A black hole is devouring the galaxy and your team of brave space explorers is the world’s only hope. That scenario is just a regular Friday night at Virtual Reality Rooms, Sydney’s first team-based virtual-reality escape game.
It offers six rooms, accommodates up to 36 players at a time, and has two game options. Players don lightweight and comfortable HTC Vive headsets and are transported to another “world” where they work with their team, or more specifically their team members’ avatars, to solve a series of challenges and puzzles. There’s no need to hold onto controllers because your hand movements are recognised by the system.
The graphics are excellent – there are almost no glitches – and while you sometimes experience an echo-like effect, where you can hear your teammates (or even your own voice) in the room and through the headphones, the sound quality is solid.
One game, Cosmos, is an intergalactic adventure taking place in the Eden space station. Players teleport between different areas of the station, fly through tunnels, find hidden keys and zap floating energy cells in an effort to reach the escape pod in less than 60 minutes.
The second adventure is a crime-solving mystery called Mind Horror, though it’s not as scary as the name suggests. Teams must find a kidnapped child by solving puzzles and discovering clues left by a serial killer. Though there’s no blood and gore it’s recommended for players 15 years old and over.
For both games players are seated and move their avatars through the worlds by “pushing” their hands forward. It gives a remarkably convincing sensation of motion, even though you’re completely still. Players can turn their heads to look behind them or down into the endless void of space and the perspective is so realistic you feel as though you’re about to tip out of your chair.
This movement makes for a few stomach flips and even people who never suffer from motion sickness can have a wobbly moment. (If you feel unwell you can remove the headset for a few seconds and then catch up with your teammates.)
Some of the puzzles are hard and don’t seem particularly intuitive, though regular gamers might be more attuned to clues hidden within the worlds. You’ll likely spend some time bumbling around (and may, for example, spend some time mistakenly attempting to destroy a flying camera), but the game master will soon pipe up to offer some helpful advice. There’s also a button on the side of the chair you can press for assistance.
Virtual Reality Rooms
Level 1, 484 Kent Street, Sydney
(02) 9267 3873
Mon to Thu 9am–9.30pm
Fri to Sun 8.15am–10pm