Omescape Sunnyvale – Midnight in Hong Kong [Review]

Mob mentality

Location:  Sunnyvale, CA

Date Played: November 12, 2021

Team Size: 6-12; we recommend 8-10

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: $50 per player for 6 players to $45 per player for 12 players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Midnight in Hong Kong was an epic beast of an escape room.

With 90 minutes of head-to-head puzzle combat and a stunning, expansive set, Midnight in Hong Kong contained around 3 times as much content as a standard 60-minute escape room. With this level of complexity and depth, it was all the more impressive that the entire game felt polished, engaging, and balanced from start to finish.

Many escape room companies pack a dozen players into a room best designed for maybe 4. In sharp contrast, Midnight in Hong Kong was actually designed for large teams β€” and genuinely only playable by groups of 6 players or more. Innovative gameplay mechanics provided direction and purpose to each individual player, which in turn incentivized an almost constant flow of players throughout the space. There was so much to explore and discover, with many layers of reveals.

A bar in Hong Kong bar lit in neon red .

If you are looking for a large-group escape room in the Bay Area, Omescape Sunnyvale’s Midnight in Hong Kong and Chaos in the Galleria are both stupendous choices. Midnight in Hong Kong was edgy and competitive, while Chaos in the Galleria was lighthearted and whimsical. Having played both rooms with teams of 8-10 enthusiasts, I can attest that either option will keep even the most experienced teams engaged and delighted.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Large teams

Story

In Hong Kong, crime lord Mr. X was seeking a gang to inherit his massive criminal empire upon his imminent retirement. He’d devised an intense head-to-head battle pitting the two top gangs, the Dragons and the Tigers, against each other to see who would be the most worthy heirs.

Setting

The set of Midnight in Hong Kong was massive, especially for the Northern California escape room market.

Contained within was an expansive world that included a cocktail bar, a kitchen, a restroom, a garage with a full-size motorcycle, and various other neat areas to explore.

An old motorcycle beside a grey brick wall.

Gameplay

Omescape Sunnyvale’s Midnight in Hong Kong was a head-to-head escape room with a moderate-to-high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling, making connections, and searching.

Before the room began, our team split into two gangs: the Dragons and the Tigers. While each sub-team competed against their rivals for the entirety of the game, the majority of gameplay took place in a large shared space.

There was also a “sabotage” mechanic. Each player received a “personal puzzle” they could optionally solve to unlock a sabotage card. These cards could then be used against the opposing team to disrupt their progress in the game.

Hotpot sitting on a table.

Analysis

βž• Midnight in Hong Kong‘s approach to head-to-head gameplay was elegant and clever. On the surface, opposing gangs had completely different puzzles with completely different theming. Yet the mechanics and difficulty of each gangs’ puzzles were functionally equivalent. This made for a fair competition while being far more interesting than just having two copies of the same game. (However, it also meant that Midnight in Hong Kong wouldn’t really be replayable as a member of the opposing team.)

βž• Each faction’s puzzles were spread throughout the entire space, and there were some moments of sneaky overlap where the same prop got used differently by each side. Though the two factions were pitted against each other and each worked on a distinct set of puzzles, this ultimately helped us all feel united within the same shared experience.

βž•Β The set was beautiful, detailed, and expansive. Similar to Chaos in the Galleria, but with very different theming and tone, Midnight in Hong Kong stood out for its open-world approach to set design. The puzzles were well integrated in a robust world that felt complete and real on its own.

βž• The pacing in Midnight in Hong Kong was excellent. The game started on an energetic note, and some intro puzzles in a small space provided a solid on-ramp before all chaos broke out in the main area of the set.

βž– The pre-game intro provided more info than it perhaps needed to. It felt a bit too out-of-world, and some of the instructions given at the start could have better been discovered during the game itself.

βž• There was a palatable prize and a classy hangout for the winning gang. There was a bone-chilling “punishment” for the losers. Regardless of which side we were on, my teammates and I all appreciated the raised stakes, beyond just bragging rights.

βž•/βž– Some light actor interactions helped facilitate key narrative beats. These interactions were fairly on rails and didn’t require much from the players. However, it wasn’t clear whether a confrontation late in the game allowed for any deeper player input or improv, and the long pause around this interaction didn’t match the urgency of the situation.

⏰ Midnight in Hong Kong had a TON of content. It was slated as a 90-minute room, but it felt like it wanted to be a 2-hour room. (But the version presented was well edited to fit the 90-minute clock.) I’d be very curious to see what would happen if Omescape Sunnyvale let themselves go with this tendency and make even longer or multi-part experiences.

Tips For Visiting

  • There was a parking lot.

Book your hour with Omescape Sunnyvale’s Midnight in Hong Kong, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Omescape Sunnyvale provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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