X-Room – The Mystery in Archeology [Review]

Meh-stery.

Location: New York, NY

Date played: November 7, 2016

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

In The Mystery in Archeology we were archeology students trapped in a collapsed tomb / our professor’s office with only enough air to last 60 minutes. It wasn’t worth trying to make sense of it.

The game started in an unremarkable office and progressed into what was barely a tomb. At no point did the set contribute to a fictional environment.

In-game a photo of a mundane set with a pair of white dressers. A globe and a lockbox rest atop the dressers.

The middle third of the game had the most character in terms of set and puzzles, but we never felt like participants in a story.

Puzzles

The Mystery in Archeology included some challenging puzzles, though at times these were poorly clued.

The puzzles varied the most in the middle of the game, using different input and unlocking mechanisms as well as different types of thinking.

Standouts

We enjoyed interacting with the prop-based puzzles in the middle of the game. There were some fun, tangible pieces, some of which captured the Egyptian theme.

Shortcomings

The poorly clued puzzles were incredibly frustrating. When our gamemaster provided additional hints over walky-talky, he read off a script with no comprehension of how much of the puzzle we had already completed. More often than not, communicating with him added to our frustration, even when he was being helpful.

This game continually suffered from bad lighting with no real purpose, except maybe to obscure the uninteresting set.

We wondered why there were Chinese characters in an Egyptian tomb.

Because of uneven puzzle structure over the course of the sets, this game bottlenecked, especially near the end.

Both the final set and final interaction were major letdowns. When we solved the final puzzle, we didn’t even realize it.

Should I play X-Room’s The Mystery in Archeology?

Due to the uneven game design, it would be hard to recommend an ideal number of players. You only want those extra brains and hands around sometimes.

While X-Room has improved substantially since we reviewed their games a year and a half ago, they are no where near on par with the rest of the New York City market. The middle third of The Mystery in Archeology was a bright spot in the game’s design, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the dreary and frustrating beginning and ending.

There isn’t enough good in The Mystery in Archeology to recommend it to anyone.

Full disclosure: X-Room provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

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