Published on June 23rd, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Escape Room London – Escape Casino
Escape Casino is a pretty hard game. Partly through puzzles that are just tough, partly through puzzles that are unfairly obscure, and partly just its nature as a non-linear game.
The plot is fairly simple: you have to escape and do so with as much money as you can find. So there’s two strands to this: following the main, linear progression of the game to find the escape code, and solving other puzzles dotted around the place for extra cash. It’s this structure that is the best and worst thing about the game. You’re surrounded by options from the start, but you don’t know which puzzles you have the information to solve, and which you need to progress further in the game to get to. It’s a big room, all accessible from the start and there’s a lot going on. It feels a little overwhelming at first, but you get a handle on it as you gradually chip away at different bits and that sense of progress feels pretty neat.
It’s also filled full of locks. Plenty of regular combination locks along with key locks, directional locks, letter locks and so on. Often in multiples. and herein lies the main issue with the game. See, I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with an obscure puzzle that has a number of different solutions. It’s unsatisfying from a pure puzzle perspective but in a real-world escape room it can make sense. There’s lots of stuff like this in the game: the number on one thing happens to be a code but the numbers on six other things aren’t. That’s not problematic normally as you just try them all. But when you have five different locks you could try them in… then it’s an issue.
The game makes a few attempts at fixing this by having some puzzle elements marked in such a way it makes it obvious what goes together, but really this needed taking a lot further. There were also places where there seemed to be a labeling system in place and it turned out to just be a red herring. Of course as you make progress you reduce the number of options so it gets a bit simpler, but there are so many combination locks in this game that it takes a long time to get there. The last straw on this for us was that one of the locks wasn’t working. Shouldn’t have been a big deal, we only lost out on some extra cash. Except we were stuck with this code all game, trying it on all the other locks too, and any new ones we found, never being able to use it. In a game where the mental load from the sheer amount of puzzles going on was so high, it made it far more of an issue. Respect though, to the staff, who not only apologised profusely, but when it became apparent the lock was broken after the game, allowed us to take our frustrations out by cutting it off with massive meter-long bolt cutters. Didn’t make up for the issue but it was a neat touch.
Another lock gave us a similar problem: an electronic directional lock which we tried multiple times and must have been using it wrong. We took about three clues before being told our initial assumption was correct and trying it again, only to have it magically work. These locks may be my new nemeses.
With all that said, it’s still a solid game. The puzzles are on the hard side, but most of them are actually fair if you think your way through them, and solving many of them was quite satisfying. It was a decent, attractive environment to be solving in too. While the difficulties of having so much going on and trying to piece everything together eventually got a bit frustrating, it was also pretty cool trying to get our heads around it.
Result – we escaped in 59 minutes with all but two puzzles solved, one of them being the broken one
Date played: 14 May 2017
Team: Dean, Katherine, Jess
Summary: A decent and difficult room that could benefit from a bit more signposting of what relates to what.