Liverpool, Sep 2018
Now over three and a half years old, Clue Finders are practically ancient by escape room standards. It’s a fast-moving industry and many rooms that appeared early, however impressive at the time, often compare poorly to the latest openings. Remy’s Room is impressive for being a long-standing escape room that, even though it comes across as quite an old fashioned design, manages to hold its own against many much newer creations.
I rarely say much about venue quality outside a game – if the room is good enough I don’t much care if the venue’s lounge feels like a broom closet or the Ritz. But I did think that Clue Finders had successfully created an atmosphere that was both welcoming and exciting – or maybe I just have a fondness for sparkly string lights on the staircase. Either way, it made a good impression even before we began playing.
Your job is to investigate the apartment of a vanished spy. With plenty of padlocked furniture and 1940s decor it no doubt sounds like a typical ‘first generation’ game, and in many respects that’s accurate – although that suggests cheap second-hand furnishings, and Remy’s Room holds itself to a much higher standard. The period decorations here are carefully selected to fit with the game’s setting, not thrown together for convenience.
Remy’s Room is a game that I thought just worked. That’s not because the puzzle design was rock solid throughout – in fact, I came out with plenty of small quibbles. For example: a written clue that disguised the key bit of information by throwing in all sorts of suggestive pseudo-clues, which effectively became red herrings; an electronic safe that threatened a 15 minute lockout on entering three wrong answers; and assorted small ambiguities in how clues could be interpreted.
More than any specific puzzle weakness, I got the sense that the venue expects to give a relatively high number of clues to each team, which is a bit of a red flag: the more consistently teams need to be clued to get past something in a room, the more conclusively it shows that that puzzle has a problem. With Remy’s Room, I suspect that no single puzzle is badly flawed in that way, but rather than a number of the trickier steps are a little more tenuous than they should be, while still being entirely ‘gettable’ for a team that’s lucky or on the ball.
Even so, none of that really got in the way of enjoying the game, which got more impressive as it continued. That’s because Remy’s Room is a big escape room, much more so than is immediately obvious, and turns out to be much more adventurous with its decorative style than I’d expected. It also has a number of interesting, quirky touches. Some of these would have been joyously original when this game first opened, and have since turned into over-used clichés, though still fun; others remain fresh and unusual.
This game feels like what you might end up with if you took a ‘typical’ escape room and then scaled it up, and kept going. It benefits from a lavish use of space that’s all the more surprising considering the venue runs two copies of it. It has flaws but it also has a great deal of character – and enough content that you’ll want to tackle it with either a larger team or a good amount of experience under your belt.