Published on October 31st, 2017 | by Dean Love0
Mapcar Exit, Coventry – Secret Russian Tent
The first thing that the Mapcar website says is “Are you bored?” which is ironic as that’s sort of how I felt for a lot of this game.
Let’s get the setting out of the way first: it’s a tent where a Russian guy who wants to start World War 3 is hiding. So yes, it’s not even a room, you literally go through the small entry area and through a tent flap into an old shop with set dressing that’s mainly camouflage netting. (Ironically enough they’re based in the shop that used to house Escape Games, which was actually a board game store).
At this point you’ll look around the room and two things become quite apparent. First is that there’s a lot of Russian lettering on the walls. A lot. Like multiple sentences in three different places. The second thing you find are various cards that have a Russian letter on one side, and an English letter on the other. Figured out the puzzle yet?
It doesn’t sound so bad on the surface, until you realise they have gone out of their way to make it as frustrating as possible. Firstly, the two letters are on opposite sides of the card. So there’s no way to see them both at once. Which means flipping back and forth. These tiles are big, so you can’t just put them down on a piece of paper and write the English letters underneath. There are multiple “Russian” sentences all around the room, so you can’t put the tiles down somewhere you can look up from and see everything you need to decode at once. Because the letters are Russian symbols, you can’t even “teamwork” it by having one person read out the letters while someone else translates. All this, and you need to do loads of it (upwards of 100 characters in all of the text).
So that’s my overriding memory of this room. Decoding those damn things. And trying to make it vaguely entertaining by coming up with a more efficient way of doing it. If you’re smart you can make it slightly less soul destroying. But only slightly.
The rest of the room? It’s fine. There’s some fairly straight-forward sorts of puzzles you’ve likely seen before if you’ve played a few rooms. It’s all fairly inoffensive. And then you near the end you find… another sentence in “Russian”. It’s like the game was mocking us. Once we decoded that we reached the “end” of the room and then spent ten minutes not triggering it because there was a puzzle we hadn’t solved, only to solve that puzzle and not realise it was just a nudge to look somewhere we had looked ten minutes ago. That was probably the most interesting thing that happened in the room.
This would be one of those games that I’d usually go “yeah, it’s fine but it’s not that interesting”. Except for the damnable Russian “translation” puzzle that just seemed to go out of its way to be obnoxious, so instead I would suggest you avoid it.
Result – we escaped in around 40 minutes, though 10 of that was failing to do the final thing to “finish” the game.
Date played: 27 August 2017
Team: Dean, Sera, Sharon
Summary: A boring room that only manages to be interesting by being obnoxious.