Voorburg, Jan 2020
With my usual carelessness about the details of the games in booking myself into, I completely failed to realise that Flight 815 is an escape room inspired by the TV series Lost, figuring that out only about halfway through the game. It therefore came as a surprise to me, though not an unwelcome one, that the airplane setting is only a small part of it.
It still provided an excellent start for a very varied escape room. You could almost describe Flight 815 as a sequence of mini escape rooms, with different decor and gameplay at each point. That’s not quite accurate, since a central section is rather more substantial than the other parts; but even taking into account the 80 minute length I was surprised at just how much there was to the game, and it felt like we kept finding one new section and then another.
An interesting feature is that they’ve found a way to increase the time pressure partway through the game as well as at the end, with an unexpected time limit that we barely scraped past. I’m not sure what the consequences are for failure there – presumably not actually serious, but it certainly added a good burst of adrenaline and panic.
My impression during the game of one puzzle was that there were far too many possible ways to extract a code from the clue objects. On reflection it now seems a lot less ambiguous than it did at the time, and the most reasonable approach was also the correct one. More generally, I felt this game had more substantial, satisfying puzzles than most escape rooms do – quite a lot that was based on symbol matching in some form, but with some interesting multi step solutions that needed some thought and attention.
When we made it through to the end (barely scraping out in time!), it concluded the game with a thoroughly satisfying finish, matching the consistent quality the game showed throughout. There were many nice little touches throughout, but what impressed me was how it felt like a great deal of escaping which managed to be of a really excellent standard from start to finish. On any normal trip it would have been instantly the highlight. Due to the astonishingly high standards of the top Netherlands games, it was one of a sequence of superb games that we played in quick succession; but it holds up strongly even against such extremely tough competition.