torsdag den 13. april 2017

The Lost Treasure (The Room, Berlin)

Be ready to don your favourite archaeologist’s fedora and get a hold of your trusty whip. This adventure is not one to be missed! Although it’s not set in Egypt or Mexico or some other exotic location, it still has the spirit of Indiana Jones stamped all over the exciting puzzles, the spell-binding atmosphere and the forgotten library / warehouse setting. As can be seen on the poster for the live escape room, “The Lost Treasure” itself is a golden cup-shaped artefact, which should be very familiar to all fans of Indiana Jones.

The set up to “The Lost Treasure” is quite simple: You start right outside an excavation site in modern-day Berlin. Apparently, the drainpipes beneath a university need to be fixed, and now the maintenance workers have stumbled upon a mysterious room, which has been sealed off from the university many years ago. So, now they’ve called you — a special team of archaeologists. Your job is to find out what’s going on inside the room, what terrible secrets does it hold, and why was it sealed off in the first place. It doesn’t just sound like an Indiana Jones film — it feels like an Indiana Jones film, too! In every single aspect. That’s where “The Lost Treasure” truly excels.

Set decoration: 10 points
The sense of adventure in “The Lost Treasure” actually starts before you stand in the room itself. You have to snake your way through an almost labyrinthine corridor, which is pitch black. The darkness truly envelops you, preparing you both physically and mentally for a real adventure. And then you suddenly stand in a most beautifully designed room with dark, wooden panels and bookshelves along its walls. The different shelves are filled with all kinds of dust-covered items, such as religious books, antique knick-knacks and stuffed animals. The crowded shelves make you feel like you have truly come across important valuables that need to be examined carefully. The low-key lighting supports the feel that you stand in the middle of ancient treasures in a secret and all-forgotten cave. It’s truly marvellous.

During your playtime, you will come across narrow passageways, so be sure to bring non-claustrophobic team members along. In all honesty, the narrow corridors and trapdoors will make participation difficult for the obese, but that’s another story… The room itself has been designed to separate you as a team, so you need to actually collaborate on some of the creative puzzles via walkie-talkie. That’s brilliant and underlines the playfulness of the game: You are also equipped with a flashlight which is triggered by sensors strategically placed around the room, to make sure that the light comes on at just the right time in sync with a piece of music or special effect. All with the intention of making your hairs stand on end – not out of sheer fright, but rather excitement and enjoyment. And once you start noticing the many references to the Indiana Jones films you will be completely ecstatic – indeed there’s a whip, a Golden Idol, skeletons, and – of course – several secret rooms. No snakes though.

Puzzles: 10 points
The puzzles you will meet in this room are truly varied, and will involve anything from balancing and directing crystal balls through a maze to weighing certain objects in order to find a code. The pictures on the walls are not just random set decorations either and you will need many of them to complete your quest. At various points you’re also going to pay special attention to sounds, movements and lighting effects – that’s how creative the puzzles are.  Furthermore, to solve several of the puzzles you need to consult the items given to you at the introduction.

All in all, the puzzles make the storyline feel coherent and complete – you are never just going to just look for numerical codes scattered around the room.  In other words: The puzzles’ physicality and integration with the setting make you feel completely immersed in “The Lost Treasure”. Though the level of difficulty may vary a bit, the puzzles nearly always require you to move around the room and interact physically with the different objects you find along your way. Some of them are perhaps best described as mini-games which are not impossible to solve but just require a good deal of focus and concentration. It feels like a 60-minute theme-park ride, and the best thing is that the flow in the puzzles and plot line is never halted. Through sounds and beams of lighting you are guided through your quest, making “The Lost Treasure” a truly well-designed gaming experience.

Game master: 10 points
As mentioned earlier, the introduction to “The Lost Treasure” takes place outside the room in front of the excavation site. Here you are presented with the setup and different items, such as a briefcase of documents, the flashlight and set of walkie-talkies, all of which will certainly come in handy on your journey. This introduction definitely sets the mood in your group, and once you enter the room you feel you have become explorers; ready for a new adventure.

Since we only needed a few hints during the course of this game, we hardly communicated with our game master. However, when we did need him, he was observant and the hints were easily delivered without handing out the answers. It simply means that you still feel like a winner at the end of “The Lost Treasure”.

One of the reasons why you may find you do not need as many hints from your game master is the voice-over you will hear multiple times during the game: Indeed the rumbling male voice underlined the sense of adventure, reading aloud from diary notes about the expedition, and by-the-by also provided subtle hints at carefully selected points in the game. 

Conclusion: 10 points
So, overall “The Lost Treasure” scores absolute top marks all around. It’s not just full of adventure and joyful inventiveness in its flow of puzzles. The room or rooms are also beautifully designed and chuck-full of details, objects and decorations that you feel like you have walked directly into an Indiana Jones film. You instantly forget that outside is a real-life Berlin, and once the 60 minutes are over and your quest is complete, you will want to try it all one more time. It’s that exciting! It’s that great!

Room: The Lost Treasure
Company: The Room
Address: Ruschestraße 64-66, 10365 Berlin, Germany
Languages available: German and English
Game time: 60 minutes + 15 minutes extra
Price: 70 euros for 2 players.

This review:
Game date: 16 February 2017
Number of players: 2
Hints: 2

We survived, 56 minutes played

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