Riga, Jul 2017
The theme is Titanic and after donning our 1920s life jackets (a nice touch), we were blindfolded and led in. The game started with a slight homage to the film, but then proceeded with straight up ship based puzzles. The decor of the room was excellent, genuinely looking like the inside of a capsizing 1912 ship.
The puzzles themselves were distinct and logical, mainly physical logic puzzles (strength not required), with a couple of skill puzzles thrown in. Had the room worked as intended, I would have given it a 4.
However – as with other Riga games, this one was plagued with technical issues. We counted no fewer than three separate puzzle failures, 2 electronic where we got the correct answer multiple times without success, and one that suffered from a nasty issue with colour confusion. As a result I came out of the game angry and frustrated. Basic execution was fundamentally lacking and ruined a potentially lovely room.
Several otherwise impressive games in Riga suffered from technical glitches and/or poor hosting when we played them. In almost every case we had two teams playing the game and my team was lucky enough to be less affected. That was the case in Titanic, too.
Of the problems Sam encountered, one worked perfectly for us and another did indeed seem to fail, but got triggered by an incorrect answer anyhow. The colour issue was annoying but fortunately my teammate ignored my insistence that the information couldn’t be relevant because the colours didn’t match up, and tried it anyway. So despite seeing some of the same issues, our experience was a fair bit smoother.
The game looks impressive. Well, actually it looks a little dowdy, but appropriately dowdy, as long as you accept that you’re in one of Titanic’s cheaper cabins not first class. More importantly, it’s designed with a special effect that I’ve not seen anywhere else, which is very clever and appropriate and cool. It’s arguably a minor spoiler so I won’t go into detail, but it is definitely the most memorable and interesting thing about the game.
There is no audio track. In fact, I found it oppressively silent. Perhaps because of the special effect, it was a strangely uncomfortable space to be in. It almost felt like the cabin had been pressurised to higher than normal atmospheric pressure. It definitely hadn’t, but that was the effect. Whether you find that a good or a bad thing will depend on whether you value novelty and authenticity above personal comfort.
Those features aside, the game was a bit disappointingly pedestrian in comparison. The puzzles were mostly decent enough and generally tied into the theme, but for the most part were focused on traditional escape room style puzzles with things like abstract symbol matching to derive a code for a padlock, or finding the correct order in which to place a set of objects. There’s nothing particularly wrong with any of that, but given the interesting set it felt like a missed opportunity to do something a lot more special.