Paris, Oct 2018
Lock Academy currently operates six escape rooms, and of those Très Cher Lock is the one I’d heard of first, the one that comes up most frequently in discussions of which games to play in Paris. However, that’s because it’s one of their earlier games, and has been around longer; which is not to say it doesn’t deserve its reputation, but that you shouldn’t assume it’s the best game to play at the venue.
The name of this room is a play on words, with Cher Lock being the missing daughter of the director of the venue’s fictional detective school. Your task is to investigate her room and see if you can uncover the reason for her disappearance.
Lock Academy’s games consistently excel at fitting their puzzles to their story in a naturalistic way. Très Cher Lock has the disadvantage of a story where your primary task is to search someone’s bedroom and investigate their recent comings and goings, and while that’s a perfectly decent premise for an escape room, it’s less instantly dramatic than some of their other setups. Moreover, it means you have some tough searching to do, and while your mileage may vary that’s rarely a highlight for me.
However, although parts of the game felt quite old-fashioned and unsophisticated in comparison to the other Lock Academy games I tried, Très Cher Lock is famous for good reason. As well as an energetic storyline that unfolds over the course of the game, it features an array of gadgets and custom tech items that turn out to be just as interesting to use as they look. That builds to a suitable finale that might be a bit too tech-driven for some; Lock Academy’s use of brightly coloured plastic buttons is nicely user-friendly but perhaps loses a little immersion, and some of their electronic puzzles may be a bit far from the normal ‘escape room’ style for some players.
Despite different parts of Très Cher Lock having contrasting styles, the story holds it together. It’s an often very traditional game that turns out to be hiding some sophisticated and original surprises. My feeling is that Lock Academy have taken what makes this game good and built on it in their more recent rooms, so while I certainly recommend this one I’d encourage also looking at their others, and – if you have to choose – perhaps picking them ahead of it.