søndag den 7. maj 2017

The Last Passenger (Brain Game, Copenhagen)

It’s the perfect set up for an escape game: The year is 1934. There’s been a murder on a train. The authorities have stopped the train and sealed off the carriage. And now it’s your job to solve the murder, find the murder weapon and reveal the killer and maybe even the killer’s motive. You also have to do it on time – let’s say 60 minutes – because there’s another train coming down the tracks, so a genuine disaster is lurking right on the horizon.

That story would have been perfect, and “The Last Passenger” tries all that it can to be that game. The overall experience, though, leaves something to be improved upon – both when it comes to the rather cheap set design and the incoherent puzzles. Furthermore, the set up has actually been reduced to the less than bare necessities: “There’s been a murder on a train. Go and solve it!” Still, “The Last Passenger” is a both charming and playful escape room, but the best part about it may actually be that initial Murder-on-the-Orient-Express idea.

Set decoration: 5,0 points
First and foremost, let’s clear up the main question: There is no real train wagon in “The Last Passenger” despite what ads for the room might lead you to believe. It’s just an ordinary room inside an apartment dressed up to look like the inside of a carriage. Still, the set designers have tried to make it look like a train wagon – to a certain degree at least. The walls are decorated with dark wooden panels, and there are shelves meant for luggage. On one of the walls there is a huge window looking out on the platform of a station. In actual fact it’s a huge wall sticker, but it gives the idea of a window – there’s a similar poster on another door in the room, trying to create the illusion that you can look into the next carriage. It’s okay, but you really have to suspend your disbelief here. 

To underline the idea that we are in an old train back in 1934, there’s also a huge, black chandelier hanging from the ceiling – it would have been great, had it in fact been lit and created a really moody or shadowy atmosphere, giving the sense that the story is taking place in the middle of the night. But – alas! – it is not lit. The room is in fact quite brightly lit, and therefore not scary in any way. On the other hand, there are train sounds that fill the room to help set the mood and enhance the intensity.

In other words, “The Last Passenger” is not a very authentic or detailed room. The designers have not had the opportunity to make it look convincingly like an old train carriage. The passenger seats are comprised of cheap garden chairs bolted to the floor, and the naked porcelain dishes and water glasses that you find on a small table are from the local IKEA shop. Besides the strangely misplaced chandelier, there are no antiquities of any kind. The lack of knick-knacks or old-fashioned furniture could of course be tolerated, since we’re on board a train, but we are also missing a number of old and stocky suitcases on the shelves. Instead we have a couple of black nylon bags made for modern-day laptops, and some small, incongruous cupboards in the corners, too. In this way, the overall immersion into the whole murder story and buying into the 1934 train atmosphere become quite difficult.

Puzzles: 7,8 points
What worked absolutely best for “The Last Passenger” were the puzzles. Without a question, the flow and variety of the puzzles made this escape room fun and entertaining. Of course, you have to unlock a number of padlocks with both codes and keys. Yet the codes are uncovered through interaction with a number of electronic devices and actual water – yes, water! – which makes the hunt for the next three or four digits much more playful.

However, some of the puzzles did not feel intuitive but were rather difficult to solve. We relied quite a lot on the Game Master’s hints at various points in the game, because the method to solve these puzzles wasn’t apparent to us – probably because those puzzles were somewhat randomly put into the 1934 setting. To make it slightly more frustrating, the linearity of the game also meant that we couldn’t continue before we had actually solved the head-spinning conundrum. Obviously, you can work together on solving the challenging puzzles, but mostly it was a question of seeing a particular pattern or simply understanding the idea behind.

Still, it’s important to underline the playfulness in the puzzles: Along the way you get to play around with different pieces of evidence, colours and even a short video. Overall, there was a nice game flow in “The Last Passenger”, however what the room seemed to lack was a real story flow. Sure, a few of the puzzles towards the end of the game had to do with the setting and the crime at hand, but in general most of the puzzles didn’t fit the murder case or train set: At a certain point, you have to play with black light, and there’s even a DVD player on a table – both of which are put to good use in the line of puzzles, but none of which make any sense in this 1934 setting.

Game Master: 8,0 points
Our Game Master was sweet and helpful, and also ready for a chat before and after the game. There’s a screen inside “The Last Passenger” which displays the hints, and the hints are marked with a sound inside the room, so communication with the Game Master was never a problem for us. Furthermore, she was always alert and very helpful. She didn’t just give us one hint in connection with some of the tougher puzzles – she would readily give us a couple of hints to make sure we had fully understood how we should solve the puzzle. And she never succumbed to just giving us the solution, but played along with us. That’s definitely a plus.

However, “The Last Passenger” lacks a proper background story. The lack of immersion inside the room was also missing outside the room. Our Game Master just briefly stated the year, the murder on the train, the time limit – and that was it. It would have been great with more details, like who had actually been murdered, and who were we supposed to be. To actually put more details and building a proper story around the murder before stepping inside the train carriage, would have made the whole experience more immersive and more spooky. Here, the background story was nearly reduced to “somebody has been murdered”, which more or less matches the random selection of incongruous puzzles on board the train. It’s hardly our Game Master’s fault, though – it has probably more to do with the overall lack of narrative.

Overall: 6,9 points
In the end, “The Last Passenger” feels like a nice and playful string of puzzles put inside a homemade train carriage. The set decorations are a little too sparse and incongruous, and it also seems that the escape room needs a proper storyline. Still, despite the lack of immersion and rather expensive ticket prices, it was a fun ride.

Room: The Last Passenger
Company: Brain Game CPH
Address: Gothersgade 35 1., 1123 Copenhagen, Denmark
Languages available: Danish and English
Game time: 60 minutes
Price: DKK 800,- for 2 players. Brain Game suggests that you can be up to 6 people in your group, but we won’t recommend playing this room in groups larger than 2 or 3 people.

This review:
Game date: 10 April 2017
Number of players: 2
Hints: 6

We survived, 57 minutes played

3 kommentarer:

  1. nice blog....

    you can also visit Escape Games in Copenhagen at Denmark.it also a type of prison where you can get more puzzle and hidden object in order to get escape from live escape room.

    i think you may like it..

    1. Hi Sophia,

      We've tried to schedule with "Clocked In" several times, but so far without any luck. It's a little strange...

      Best regards,

    2. PS: But thanks for the recommendation. :)