Marrakech, Dec 2018
Morocco is not exactly a hotbed of escape rooms; there are only a handful of venues throughout the country, and only one in Marrakech. Located away from the central Medina alongside a water park and a golfing range, Enigma Escape Game is a French operated company not a homegrown venture, and is priced for the tourist trade, costing a similar amount to many games in Western Europe.
They operate three games, but only their Egyptian game is listed as suitable for two players, making it easy to decide which we would try. While the games are officially available in any of English, French or Arabic, that’s due to a lack of written content within the game, and the intro video was in French. As a result I’m not certain exactly how we came to be cursed by Tutankhamun, but the gist was clear: we had an hour to find the antidote. Despite the language barrier we paid plenty of attention to the video, because our host told us that it contained a visual clue. I did manage to pick up on what that was, but if you’re playing this game you needn’t worry too much: it’s nothing you can’t work out during the game.
On the third or fourth puzzle we found ourselves stumped, saying things like “this would make sense if we had a [redacted]”, and “is there definitely no [redacted] here?”. After a few minutes the clue screen began popping up messages from the gamemaster: “you need to use the [redacted]”. We protested there wasn’t one, and received further clues patiently explaining how we should use the [redacted]. Eventually the gamemaster figured out we really didn’t have one (it turned out it had been left in a later section of the game) and came in to tell us the codeword we needed to get past that lock.
Reset mistakes happen, and are easy enough to forgive, though it’s a shame when a good room is interrupted by one. It’s perhaps fortunate then that this was a thoroughly mediocre room. Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by too many exquisitely lavish Egyptian tombs, since this did have a genuinely nice final centrepiece, but in other ways it just felt a bit low-effort, mixing some bits of Egyptian statuary with various modern locks. Similarly for the actual content, which had a couple of more interesting ideas but also quite a lot of translating back and forth between hieroglyphs and letters, along with a lazy maths task and some reuse of certain key components.
There was nothing horrible about this room, but it felt a bit like it was from a ‘painting by numbers’ school of escape room design, created competently but suffering from some wear and tear, and a variety of small frictions in the gameplay. The decor and polished intro video spoke to a certain amount of budget having been invested in building it, but something more primitive with more character would give a better experience. If you particularly want to do an escape room while you’re in Marrakech then this one is decent enough, but otherwise it’s not interesting, unusual or cheap enough to be worth fitting into your schedule.