✧ Mattster's Game #97 Overall; Game #2 for Remote ✧
(Played In: May 2020, With 3 Players, Success!)
► PLEASE NOTE ◄
This room, experience, or game is currently NO LONGER AVAILABLE for booking or purchase. The blog entry will remain on site for your reading enjoyment, and for Mattster's own personal bittersweet trip down memory lane. Please inquire with company if this will become available again in the future, or what other exciting options are currently available.
► VENUE AND GAME INFORMATION ◄
🏢 COMPANY: Amaze Escape Events
🏘️ ADDRESS: Binckhorstlaan 135, The Hague, 2516BA | Google Map
⏲️ TIME LIMIT: 60 Minutes
💬 DIFFICULTY: N/A (Official) | Medium (Mattster)
👨👩👧👦 CAPACITY: 2 to 6 People
🔐 GAME TYPE: Private
💰 PRICING: €49 Per Game
► PREMISE AND OBJECTIVES ◄
Official Premise (from Amaze): The year is 1962… You and your team of undercover CIA agents are on a mission in the Soviet Union. You are looking for documents which prove that the KGB is keeping classified information away from the rest of the world. One of your fellow agents got captured and she is now locked in the headquarters of the KGB. Luckily, she still has her spy equipment with her! You need to help her escape from the grasp of the KGB. Along the way you will hopefully find the information you need, so you can complete your mission!
► ROOM ESSENCE AT A GLANCE ◄
📚 NARRATIVE: Russian/Cold War spy theme... An oldie but a goodie
👀 VISUAL: Not bad, some areas are barer but theme appropriate
🧩 PUZZLE: Quite enjoyable challenges that flow well
🧠 IMMERSION: Surprisingly effective due to decent actor
It was 8:15 am in the US; I barely woke up. Half awake, I logged into Zoom 15 minutes prior to game start. The meeting pop-up showed "pending".
10 more minutes passed by, it's almost 8:30 am, my scheduled game session. Still no sign of the game master. What gives?
She woke up in a dark prison cell, lights out
And then, on the dot of half past eight, the video feed was connecting, finally! As I was wondering why my host was later than expected...
"HELLO? IS ANYTHING BODY THERE? HELP..."
"OH NO, I'M IN HAND CUFFS. AGENTS, I'M IN HAND CUFFS, AND LOCKED IN A CELL. AGENTS, I NEED BACK UP."
"KGB" from Amaze Escape Events was not messing around.
From the first ticking of the clock, my team of 3 was thrust right in the middle of action. There was no introduction; there was no friendly hello. In fact, I never found out her name until the trouble was all over.
What I visually saw was that she was in trouble. And we had 1 hour to get her out of the KGB headquarters before God knows what would happen.
The excellent choice of abandoning all formality of an escape room check-in set a wonderful tone to the rest of the game. It's hard to achieve immersion in a remote escape room, but this was clearly very effective.
The prison cell, which was dimly lit, added on to that grand illusion.
As we verbally commanded our captured CIA ally to hurriedly search her surroundings, she quickly uncovered keys to release herself from both the hand restraints and from behind bars.
Gosh, don't you just love it when jails just keep things laying around?
Well, she got the jail gate open. Now what?
Subsequent investigation resulted in more key items hidden in interesting places, and we employed them in ways that I had not personally seen done before. I was impressed! Still learning new things after almost 100 rooms.
Then we hit our first major puzzle that required some invested thinking and discussion, especially time wise.
This also presented our first instance in which the camera lens could no longer broadcast an image clear enough for us to make out, especially under the prison's less than ideal lighting.
That was when our resourceful friend sent us her intel over the net for the first time during this mission.
On a separate monitor, in an internet browser, on "the vault" webpage, I inputted a password provided by our agent, and voila, a crystal clear schematic photo. This made the puzzle solving many folds easier.
Her visual data transmission via spy equipment was well within the confines of the story universe, so I still felt fully immersed in our rescue adventure.
Referred as "the vault", this screen displayed important information after password verification
So far, still feeling pumped and good vibes.
After struggling with my (minor spoiler) calculator briefly, we finally passed this first significant head scratcher. Yes, some math was involved, but once I systematically analyzed the setup, I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle.
One advantage of playing remote escape room, as this just showed, is that no one will heckle you for "breaking the rules" with a calculator. In fact, this made it all the more enjoyable.
The rest of the quest continued to be interesting, filled with mostly gen 1 style puzzles that were not necessarily new, but definitely not overly done. The variety kept my attention effortlessly.
Seemingly no way out, but at least hydration is readily available
Throughout game play, we were given several more passwords for the online portal ("the vault") to access more important information that we cannot clearly discern otherwise due to various remote factors.
Overall, this simple "one password to one clue" reveal system worked well. It's simple, clean, direct, and most importantly, it wasn't distracting. It wasn't the fanciest supplementary interface, but it functioned reasonably well.
The avatar's decent acting performance also undoubtedly contributed to my satisfaction. Her subtle guidance also kept us under the time limit.
Needless to say, she eventually escaped with a cash bonus, which I didn't fully comprehend, but whatever, right? Can't say no to free money!
With our game entirely complete, I've concluded that the playing field appeared quite spacious over the camera, and production value was just right. It might look a bit bare at times, but the circumstances fit.
Also, for the first time after the game, our avatar finally showed her face and formally introduced herself as Anna, and I thanked Anna for a job well done. Having her first person perspective and only that perspective actually enhanced my urgent need (for her) to escape.
Escape Mattster, EscapeTheRoomers, and Amaze Escape Events
She explained in a short post-game discussion that there were some elements from the original game that either got modified or simplified due to remote format or time constraint.
Wisely so, because our experienced team of 3 barely made it out with about 2 minutes left on the clock. This usually never happens. If you team is composed of mostly beginners, more brains may be advantageous.
At this point, I was pretty convinced that the conventional 60 minute time mark would cut it close for most existing physical games, if no altering is done. Having only 1 team member (your avatar) do all the searching, who's also bound to your directive, is intrinsically more time consuming.
"KGB", although Russian themed, which is common in the escape room market, was a well executed product. I don't think anything was in particular groundbreaking per se, but they knew what they were going for, and they gave it their 100%, and it worked.
Impressed with a solidly puzzle led "KGB", I will be booking this company's current other remote escape room option, "Crazy Doctor" in the near future.
These artworks, btw, look pretty amazing
And if you think I am going to review that room also, then believe you me, you're absolutely correct. See you again soon via Zoom, Amaze Escape.
► 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.