The Curium Experience: Extraction (Escape Room) – Experience Review

The Curium Experience is Melbourne’s newest escape room destination, and its current game ‘Extraction’ is hands down the best escape room I’ve ever experienced.

Located in Collingwood, after seeing the triangular symbol on the door and entering, it appears that you’ve walked into a mysterious building where you feel you should not be. It’s clinical, it’s quiet, and when you follow the path, you find yourself in an 1840s style club room complete with relaxing bar music. A friendly well-dressed gentleman greets you with a beaming smile and you are welcome to sit and wait for your team to gather so that you can embark on your mission.

Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to head to the Area 51 airbase in Nevada, USA via an ancient artefact. Who needs planes when you’ve got a special portal!? It sounds ridiculous but the way this entire adventure is executed makes you feel like you really are a special agent and have been transported elsewhere. After being briefed, you have an hour to complete your mission.

The sets and special effects are fantastic and there is so much attention to detail with the smoke machines, excellent voice acting with believable accents, clever lighting, the sound effects, and convincing décor. Everything has been carefully curated to give the most immersive and realistic experience possible. Everything is also interactive and automated, and if you need help, there’s a walkie talkie available too that drops hints.

The brains behind The Curium Experience, Rohan Smith and Charlie Kedmenec have outdone themselves, letting their imaginations run wild with the creation of Extraction. This is evident by not only the creativity of the challenges, but also the pop culture references and humour that this escape room also contains. Extraction has been passionately made by big kids at heart for big kids, and I can only imagine the joy that these creators have every time when watching players solve their puzzles for the first time.

Extraction is filled with wonderful and exciting surprises. It isn’t just reliant on skill and being the smartest in the room. There is a lot of physicality involved, teamwork required, and button pressing (who doesn’t love pressing buttons?). The puzzles are very clear in which order to do them and are never too confusing to understand. There were lots of things to open and close, plenty of moving parts, and it all felt very cohesive.

Extraction made me feel like a kid again. I completely forgot to use my phone through most of my journey I was having so much fun being in the moment and playing with my friends. For those that do remember and choose to document their experience, there are opportunities to fully immerse yourself with props and costumes to hold and wear. And if you choose to leave your phone in the lockers provided (probably best option), there is an opportunity for a group photo at the end when you have completed your mission.

I also couldn’t help but think of several blockbuster Hollywood films such as Top Gun, Mission Impossible, Die Hard, and Independence Day while I was playing too. This is only a good thing because when playing Extraction, you really feel like you’ve stepped into some of your favourite movies. At least I sure did.

Extraction is an action-adventure epic that it will appeal to a wider audience and it’s great for beginners as well. I personally played with a team of 6 (the full enchilada) and while it can cater to the minimum of 2, I would highly recommend playing this game with at least 4 people. If you play with a full group however, this will provide the best experience possible. Bookings are also essential, because the room is quite popular, it would be wise to book in advance, although I’ve never actually done a walk-in for an escape room. The last thing you want is to show up with no booking and not be able to play!

Because Extraction is so fantastic, I believe that if this is your first ever escape room, everything else will pale in comparison as this next-level next-generation escape room experience is a phenomenal amount of fun and one that you will never forget.

My only criticism is that after finishing the room there isn’t anything to purchase to have a memento of your experience. There should be! I would have loved to have been able to purchase an enamel pin (I still want one), a fridge magnet, key chain, or even a mini light or replica item in theme with the room. These items could even be add-on options when booking your session. Of course, this is something that could be added later, granted The Curium Experience is still quite new, only opening last year in August. But I am hoping that there is merchandise available in the not too distant future.

I cannot wait to see what else The Curium Experience team have in store for us in the not too distant future. In the mean time, Extraction is a must-do Melbourne experience. I even want to play Extraction again. Yes, it’s that damn good.

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