Paris, Oct 2018
The Game send in character welcome emails after you book one of their rooms, and the one for The Kidnapping is written as a plea for help: the author’s sister has been kidnapped, and the perpetrators are demanding a particular valuable abject as her random. Your job is to search her apartment and find that item so that the ransom can be paid.
This story takes place in 1959, and the setting is a nicely appointed period style French apartment. You can expect standard staples such as locked drawers, shelves of books and a variety of locks that need codes or keys. But although it has a lot that you’ll likely have seen in other escape rooms, it’s also well presented and carefully crafted, much more elegant than a simple room with a bunch of old furniture.
We struggled badly with a particular puzzle, eventually taking two hints before it made sense. My impression at the time was that it was quite ambiguous, such that the intended answer made sense but wasn’t, a priori, obviously better than various alternatives. Spending far too long struggling with it left us a little soured on the game. However, we’d missed one search target, and although the puzzle was solvable without it, the lack of that item made it look a lot more ambiguous than it actually was.
I’m wary of underrating The Kidnapping, both because our problems with that puzzle led to frustrations that weren’t entirely the game’s fault, and because we played it immediately after their sister game The Metro and it suffers in comparison. Despite the puzzle that caused us problems, and also one other that appeared to give us a clue that led nowhere, the design is solid, and although it feels quite traditional in style there’s a creativity and understated elegance that makes me want to like it more than I did.
Even so, it’s not an escape room you’re likely to be excitedly discussed for weeks afterwards; there are nice touches that give a good sense of quality, but it’s always going to be overshadowed by The Game’s more famous and showy options.