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Placebo: Unique Escape Room Game Lets Players Take on the Role of Characters

Placebo: Unique Escape Room Game Lets Players Take on the Role of Characters
written by
Omar Yousry

Escape rooms have spread like wildfire across Cairo in the past couple of years and revolve around the same premise – you’re trapped in a certain situation and need to escape a themed room in 60 minutes using the clues and hints in the environment. It’s fine and all, but one new type has taken things further and added a dash of uniqueness to it.

While one of the newer escape rooms in the city, The Maze, has differentiated itself by adding the element of being in an actual maze, Placebo has gone even further.

Located on Maadi’s Road 9, Placebo offers what they call a role-play story experience, which basically means that each player takes on the role of a specific individual character as part of a bigger storyline. In addition, their basic objective is not escaping the room, but figuring out what the story is about.

At the time of our visit there were two rooms available; Limbo and Alter. Best played by three-to-five people, the first is about a murdered family whose souls have gone into a state of limbo, or purgatory, leaving the players to figure out why. The second, meanwhile, is about a girl called Hannah that has something happening to her which changes her life forever and the players have to figure out what and why – this game is best played with three-to-seven people.

There are two styles of playing, or two levels; ‘Smart’ means you will receive hints when you get stuck, while ‘Brilliant’ affords you no help whatsoever.

We were given the basic premise of the story and a vague set of instructions before entering the room – things like ‘work as a team’, ‘try and figure the story and the characters we were playing’- as you’re not told which characters each of you are given.

As a group of five, we decided to play Alter on ‘Smart’ and were immediately tasked with looking for clues that would forward the narrative of the story, as well as reveal who these characters are and what part there play. Each clue we’d find would essentially trigger an event that would move the story forward and reveal little by little. The room was decorated as a little girl’s bedroom and unlike many other escape rooms, each clue made sense – nothing was placed randomly or relied on luck, though there were a few red herrings to confuse players.

We were able to finish the story in the last four minutes of our time coming full circle to what was an enjoyable hour of clues, speculations and red herrings. When comparing, this Placebo was much more fun and engaging on a level that doesn’t exist with other escape room games and was even a little more more open-ending with ‘us’ as the characters having a say in how things progressed and with the conclusion.

What makes it all the more impressive is that it’s the staff who have created the stories from scratch, leading us to believe that there could be even more stories to take on in the future.

For more information, check out Placebo on Facebook.

(Header Image: Placebo/Facebook)