Present, in February 2020, were: The Ant, Teenage Avenger, Aunty Ant
A lure of Escape Rooms is being the star of your own film. Some rooms are a bit B-movie, some are distinctly am-dram. I’d never before played a game quite as Hollywood blockbuster as The Lost Treasure of Alexander von Humboldt.
We had high hopes of this game being something special. Not Escape Room tourism this time – an education museum-based history trip just happened to be to Berlin, home to The Room (top rated venue on the 2019 TERPECA ratings) so it would have been careless not to drop in.
Demand is high at this company and we could only book in one time during our break. We were unable to get into Go West, our first choice, and decided The Beast of Berlin and Brandon Darkmoor could be too intense. As game, venue, city and country were all unknown entities, we erred on the side of caution.
Not much with the err though. The Lost Treasure is frequently named as one of the best rooms IN THE WORLD. We could instantly see why. Taken down to an alarmingly realistic starting zone in the basement, we are told how some secret chambers belonging to the famous explorer have been discovered, and what our team needs to investigate. The briefing is completely in character and beautifully logical so the Escape Room artifices of a time limit, cameras and hints all fit into the story.
And then we’re off! This game throws you into the adventure immediately and doesn’t let up. So hard to write about, as it is tempting just to tell all and rave about the clever mechanics and brilliant narrative. But that would ruin it…so, zip.
One thing I will say is that the ambience and props are very heavily influenced by a film franchise featuring a certain archaeologist. It is an expertly created homage, staying the right side of receiving lawyers’ letters. Very good thing too, as the cinematic feel is a joy, from the familiar drawling voiceover to the incredible special effects. The set is ingeniously designed, unfolding as a thing of beauty in its engineering, and all of the props and machinery are reassuringly realistic.
Some of the information below is mentioned on The Room‘s website – some of it is under their Spoiler tab. I think most is crucial to know if you are escaping with kids…but please don’t read the next paragraph if you want to know nothing about the game before you play.
There is a fair share of darkness, some flashing lights and some genuinely restricted spaces, but these are integral and not just bolted on to boost difficulty levels. Only one team member needs to do the more extreme parts, but a good level of mobility would definitely help get the most out of the game and a pregnant belly might well be an impediment, given that everyone needs to do at least one narrow space. Very sensitive younger kids might find the darker sections a bit much, but most would love it.
The puzzles vary from easy to quite cryptic, but never illogical and, in a couple of cases, extremely satisfying to solve. We escaped with about 10 minutes to spare and our GM admired that we hadn’t taken any clues. This was mostly because we forgot entirely about our walkie-talkies, but credit also goes to the flow of the game, aided by not-Harrison Ford and a handy reference journal, which all made complete sense to us.
Fears about language/cultural misunderstanding were unnecessary. There is jeopardy but no real peril and Teenage Avenger absolutely loved the more physical aspects – it is a perfect game for young people (as well as anyone with fond memories of eighties movies). This Treasure deserves to be found by everyone, and is well worth the overseas trip in its own right.
- Storyline: Very strong, and carries all the way through, opening the narrative out with each development.
- Theming and Set: Exceptional and immersive.
- Searching: More observational than search-heavy.
- Puzzles: A real mix of logic, some maths, some lateral thinking, a little bit of skill. Perfect.
- Physicality: As above. Although Aunty Ant was on crutches and managed.
- Scare factor: Darkness and claustrophobia are possible scares. But not a scary game.
- Company Age Guidance: “Aged 12 with adults. 16 years and older without adult supervision.”
- Age suitability: Don’t know how strict they are about ages, but I would think robust 10+s, as part of a mixed age team, would cope fine.