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ALCHEMY AT HOME • TRAPT BAR & ESCAPE ROOMS • Remote Escape Room Review





Trapt Bar & Escape Rooms presents...

"ALCHEMY AT HOME" (Remote Version)


✧ Mattster's Game #96 Overall; Game #1 for Remote ✧

(Played In: May 2020, With 6 Players, Success!)





► VENUE AND GAME INFORMATION


🏢 COMPANY: Trapt Bar & Escape Rooms

🏘️ ADDRESS: 377 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 | Google Map

🗾 COUNTRY: Australia

💻 WEBSITE: Company


🕹️ GAME: Alchemy At Home (Remote Version)

💻 WEBSITE: Game Info | To Book This Game

⏲️ TIME LIMIT: 60 Minutes 💬 DIFFICULTY: Easier (Official) | Easy (Mattster)

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 CAPACITY: 1 to 6 Zoom Connections

🔐 GAME TYPE: Private

💰 PRICING: $80 For 1-2 Connections, $20 For Every 2 Additional





► PREMISE AND OBJECTIVES



Official Premise (from Trapt): Calling all aspiring alchemists - this one is for you. Let the magic come home to you! Practice spells and enchantments and test your magical skills in Alchemy. As time slips away, with the help of one of our mages, will you all be able to discover the legendary substance that is the Philosopher’s Stone before time runs out?





► ROOM ESSENCE AT A GLANCE


📚 NARRATIVE: Classic wizardry and magic related objective

👀 VISUAL: Decent, at times slightly aged, but works

🧩 PUZZLE: Gen 1, mostly era appropriate, some unusual gadgets

🧠 IMMERSION: Average, room for improvement

🎮 REMOTE INTERFACE: A bit convoluted, but easy to load

🏪 VENUE: N/A

💁‍♂️ STAFF: Friendly, cordial, quick to respond

💭 OVERALL: Excellent introductory game for general audience


🎟️ BEST FIT FOR: Casual players for a fun hangout

🎫 IDEAL TEAM SIZE: 2 experts, up to 4 beginners





► REMOTE MAGIC AT WORK


This is my very first remote escape room game play and review, and also my first time interacting with an escape business in a foreign country. It is, in some ways, all kinds of special to me.


Today's guest of honor, or rather, the host of honor is Australia's Trapt Bar and Escape Rooms. On a normal day, it's a combined offering of booze and games. Today, just a lesson for "Alchemy".


Upon logging into Zoom 15 minutes prior to game start, I was greeted by our game master or avatar for the day, Michael, who is polite and warm. We chatted a bit, and he told me a brief history about Trapt: Alchemy is their most popular game, and it is one of Australia's earliest games made!


Trapt from Australia: escape room and bar, all in one

Feeling honored to see a piece of escape room history in action.


When all teammates arrived, we were prompted to have both the Zoom conference and the online "almanac" accessible at all times.


The almanac offers the option to play some wizardry related sound track for mood, read an intro letter to get us into the story, and most importantly, to access a supplementary hub of information, multimedia that is not readily available through the video broadcast.


Examples included map of the room, photographs of the room overall, and photos of certain key items up close.


A quick look through Michael's "eyes", who had now magically transformed into our mage, showed a study with red painted walls. I see strange symbols, rune stones, a vacant bird cage, and is that... a dragon egg?


Dragon egg: when you combine alchemy with culinary arts

Production, overall, was adequate and decent. There was an assortment of items that were magic and alchemy related. Color schemes, font choices, and grammar were all assumably realm appropriate. Some items did look a bit worn out or aged through the HQ photos from the almanac.


I also took note of Michael's deliberate effort to speak as one would as a mage in ancient times, though I would have preferred just a little more passion to bring his character even more alive.


Alchemy, wizardry, witchcraft, and apothecary essential starter pack

The puzzle solving quickly began among a team of experienced enthusiasts. The clue for the first puzzle was well executed; it was very clear on how to put the required clues together. I commend the good design.


The second, more physical puzzle, was quite interesting in theory. Unfortunately, it would be much better seen, felt, and experienced in person, though I empathize with the company's intention.


Having opened one of the first padlocks in the room, we were instructed to enter a corresponding password in our online almanac to access previously restricted information. This general procedure will continue until the end.


And pause. Something to ponder:


1) I was slightly disappointed with the inclusion of combo lock based puzzles. Though I understand this was probably preserved since the inception of the game, it didn't seem to make much sense with the time period. A key lock, on the other hand, appeared more logical.


2) The passwords for advancement, if numerical, almost always offered a little story behind. I have played close to 100 rooms, and this was the first time I was explicitly informed the conscious choice of certain pass codes. These little tidbits even made sense with the game's time setting! Cute!


3) The almanac, basically an inventory list, loaded fast in the internet browser, and worked reasonably well up until a point, but more on this later.


Not wanting to spoil more contents, I would summarize the rest of the exploration yielded somewhat standard discovery, both in terms of the narrative and the subsequent puzzles.


Some peculiar looking stones and a familiar looking lock

Majority of the puzzles were gen 1, as one would recognize soon enough, is the best format of puzzles for remote escape rooms. Anything with extravagant technology and special effects may not translate well.


The gen 1 puzzles were mostly tropes I have seen before, interspersed with special moments in between, for instance, certain gadgets required steps. I enjoyed every puzzle presented. Even though they weren't anything new, they stuck to the theme, which helped the adventure be more cohesive.


At this point, I was again not sure what time period this game took place, because some aforementioned gadgets and tools were historically conflicting, but it's best to let go and just have fun.


The final puzzle was a toughie. Only one of us figured it out!


One of six should ascend to Head Wizard In Charge for solving the final challenge

Having completed the mission in its entirety, for we were excellent masters of elements, chemicals, and magic, I leave with you some more analyses:


Story was most definitely linear, going one step to the next. We found the Philosopher's Stone as prompted, though I wish the story inserted more urgency on why we were seeking this legendary substance.


Immersion would work better in person, but it wasn't for a lack of trying. This game leaned towards being more of a puzzle room than a themed adventure. It's more of a mental exercise with a dash of magic added.


Completely family friendly, though adult supervision most likely required to smoothly operate the online almanac.


About half way through, it became apparent to us that we needed to enter many, many passwords.


At one point, it was chaotic for me to look for the browser tab that I needed for key info. (I had almost 10 tabs open!) I later also discovered I had missed a code early on, thereby explaining why I was somewhat lost.


A virtual celebratory drink from the Trapt Bar after a magical victory

Everyone on my team had extensive history of escape room gaming, so we finished early, and the game felt a bit short. For the general public, I felt it could be just right. "Alchemy" is an excellent introduction to an escape novice that also doubles as a semi laid back hangout activity.


And you know what, when Trapt opens again, and alcohol starts flowing, this may end up to be just the right amount of challenge for the bar patrons.


Cheers!



Signing off,

EscapeMattster





► DISCLAIMERS


We at "Escape Mattster" appreciate this company's hospitality and the opportunity to publish an honest review. Though game access was complimentary, we aim to provide *only* genuine & unbiased opinions.


All official media are provided by or credited to respective contents owners, and are used with proper permission for the purpose of this post.

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