Warsaw, Mar 2017
This was our third room by Room Escape, and when we booked it the staff member was super-excited for us, without explaining why. It soon became clear when we entered the room. After the initial video briefing, the lights came on and we were surrounded by some fantastic props. The puzzles in the first room were basic and straightforward; getting into the second room, however, was to discover a veritable treasure horde of things to explore. I felt like a kid in a candy store, not wanting to chose what to try first and what to leave. This room has two floors, something I would like to see more of, which gave a dynamism to the room that I haven’t often seen.
There were a couple of basic puzzles, including one where they deliberately supplied a clever red herring (which becomes obvious as you progress other parts of the room), and a reasonable amount of searching to accumulate items that are clearly needed at a later point. One of the puzzles requires some real lateral thinking, which was incredibly satisfying once solved, and a few simple physical puzzles thrown in to give the room a lovely blended variety, guided by a natural flow.
The room gets slightly marked down as for me it still had a slightly artificial feel (with the exception of some amazing props), with some locks that clearly didn’t belong in the time period, and it also needs pre-existing knowledge in a very minor way for a couple of the puzzles. Nonetheless it is a very rewarding room and a lot of fun – quite frankly I could have happily spent half the time just having play sword fights with the props.
This room is big. It spreads over more than one level, requiring some pleasantly physical clambering around. It has some stand-out props which lift the décor of the room to something a bit special. Lighting effects are used skilfully both to make it clear when a puzzle has been correctly triggered and also to heighten the drama.
For the most part the puzzles are reasonably standard fare, but they’re well designed and look great. The structure works beautifully, with an intro section to get the team started followed by a not entirely linear sequence with clear dramatic milestones as it progresses towards the final conclusion. As Sam says, some of the props and many of the padlocks are anachronisms (electronic buttons??) – though there are also some beautiful keys and locks that fit in perfectly. And although the intro video said something about the Knights Templar, the game story is MIA. But if you’re not fussy about that and just want a well-designed escape room that looks great and plays well, this is a game to try.
One moment in particular raised it for me from ‘excellent’ to ‘fantastic’. Avoiding spoilers, it was enough of a lateral thinking jump that we shamefully needed two hints for the same puzzle – and then shouted with delight when we finally twigged what we needed to do. It was one of those rare moments that I’ll be enthusing about when swapping escape room stories with other enthusiasts for some time to come.