Cafe Belim is an adorable Midtown Manhattan lunch spot with a diverse menu of inedible food and a curious selection of puzzles.
Location: New York, New York
Date played: November 29, 2015
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 6-8
Price: $28 per ticket
Theme & story
Mystery Room NYC Chapter 2 had us chasing the trail of a terrorist to his place of business in a bio-tech lab.
Chapter 3 put us in a small cafe where many people have fallen ill and died.
Cafe Belim looked cafe-ish. It had a lot of cafe-esque items and it put those items to good use for the puzzles. The room never fully sold itself as a cafe, but it was strong enough to serve the theme.
As with all of Mystery Room NYC’s games, the story was faint. If I looked at it really hard and squinted, I could kind of see it.
Mystery Room NYC – Chapter 3: Cafe Belim had an incredible array of interactive objects. All of them felt in line with the theme.
Mystery Room NYC used creative technology repeatedly in Cafe Belim, as well as one particularly nifty piece of custom puzzle furniture. I spent about 10 minutes figuring out this one piece of furniture; it’s rare that a single object in an escape room captures my attention so thoroughly.
For all of the interesting objects in Cafe Belim, most of them ultimately resolve in a way that didn’t relate to the severe bio-terrorism story that was supposed to be playing out.
Locks with no keys
One of the first things that we noticed in Cafe Belim was an inordinate volume of locks; it was staggering.
Near the end of the game, it became clear that many of those locks weren’t in play; they were there to physically lock things down. It would have been possible to cover up these locks or even tell us they were out of play. Absent that knowledge, however, the game’s end snuck up on us very suddenly.
“That time we didn’t know we won”
We plowed through Cafe Belim very quickly. Upon finding the exit key, we also found a piece of paper that said something like, “you’re free to go or you can stay and save the world.”
With about 30 minutes remaining on the clock, we all agreed to “stay and save the world.”
I put the key into the lock and turned the knob on the exit door just to make sure we had everything correct before we began our heroic world-saving bonus game.
After about a minute or two of us trying to figure out what to do next, our gamemaster opened the door and was comically exasperated that we had won, but didn’t exit the room
We all had a good laugh about it… And I’m betting that the paper paired with the exit key has since been edited.
Should I play Mystery Room NYC’s Chapter 3: Cafe Belim?
Cafe Belim has the most interesting technology of the three Mystery Rooms NYC games. It also puts those objects to more creative uses than the previous two games.
Awkwardly, Chapter 3 is considerably easier than the previous chapters. This left us feeling a little unsatisfied.
Similarly to its predecessors, the story is incredibly light and the game would benefit greatly from a more compelling narrative woven into the puzzle interactions. The concept of chasing a dangerous criminal through a series of episodes is really cool… I wish that Mystery Room NYC would do more with the idea.
And I am hoping to see more from Mystery Room NYC in general. They are an interesting company with some great ideas. I’d love it if they put more polish on their games, and really integrated the story in a more profound way.
Nevertheless, Cafe Belim is packed with creativity. It’s worth playing just to see how the technology is turned into puzzles. There are better games than Cafe Belim, but you should definitely still play it.
Book your hour with Mystery Room NYC’s Chapter 3: Cafe Belim, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.