Published on May 25th, 2016 | by Dean Love1
Clockwork Dog Presents, London – Langstroth’s Last Riddle
The question of place in escape rooms is an interesting one. How much does the location look and feel like whatever the story and theme call it to be? It’s often a cheat. Themes around prisons, old bunkers and abandoned offices are common because, well, they look run-down and dilapidated because they’re meant to be, right? Not because no one bothers to clean them or fix the props.
Langstroth’s Last Riddle also cheats. The setting of the game is a boutique London antique store and it takes place in a boutique London clothes store. The game is only running for three weeks, because that’s how long until the shop goes back to being what it was. So you’re not searching a room made up to look like a dusty old antique store, you’re puzzling through a gorgeous luxury boutique. That’s literally where you are.
It goes beyond that though. Plug sockets are covered with subtle brown paper with the game logo, not garish warning tape. Non-game props (that belong to the shop itself) have discreet tags. There’s a huge counter top to spread your puzzles out on and enough room for everyone to gather round. Simply put, it’s a wonderful place to spend an hour solving puzzles. That’s another reason the game is perhaps best running for such a short time: because once the game props have been handled by 100s of teams, the general wear and tear would ruin that pristine feeling.
The game is introduced entirely in character by the ‘current shop owners’ telling you that you’re attempting to solve the riddles left behind by the previous owner (the eponymous Langstroth) in order to find his most valuable relic. It works really well and while “a crazy man has filled a room with riddles and puzzles” is a fairly well-worn way of explaining why you’re trying to figure out a room of riddles and puzzles, the fact that it feels like (and is) such a real place means they get away with it.
The puzzles themselves are fun, primarily on the easier end though with a few interesting toys thrown in. There’s also a fair amount of searching, although one of the hiding places is beautiful in the way you have to do the literal opposite of the obvious thing. If you get stuck clues are provided (you don’t have to ask for them) and… normally I’d talk a bit about the clue system, but weirdly that would spoil one of the coolest parts of the game. It’s kind of a shame that it’s spoiled in briefing actually, as there’s the chance to make that first clue an even more delightful surprise. Suffice it to say we got five or six clues all at just the right moment, so the hosts have a good sense of when they’re needed.
Langstroth’s Last Riddle is basically a perfect escape room. If I was recommending a room to first time players, it’d be near the top of the list. Because it does everything right. So much is spot on, that it very nearly joins the select few five-star reviewed rooms, but what it lacks is a ‘wow’ moment, that bit in the very best of rooms where you get something you’ve never seen before or even expected. It’s essentially a perfect escape room, but doesn’t quite make the leap beyond that.
(And perhaps I just have Really Fun’s podcast on my mind, but there’s hints in a few places in the game that you maybe shouldn’t be searching for the relic after all, which isn’t followed up on but could have led to an interesting “should we take it or not” question towards the end.)
Result – we escaped with around five minutes to spare
Date played: 24 May 2016
Team: Dean, Kirsty, Katherine
Summary: If you're a fan of escape games, you should make a point of trying this before it's gone.