Sherlocked – The Architect [Review]

He’s not a software architect; he’s a “real architect.”

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date played: May 7, 2017

Team size: 3-6; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: €119 per team

Story & setting

In the basement of Beurs van Berlage, a commodity exchange turned conference space in Amsterdam, we entered the office of the building’s architect, a member of the famed Society of the Crossed Keys, to uncover the Society’s secrets.

The old trading floor of the Beurs van Berlage; the old stock exchange building that Sherlocked calls home.
The old trading floor of the Beurs van Berlage, Sherlocked’s home.

Beurs van Berlage is a beautiful red brick building constructed at the turn of the 20th century. Downstairs, we entered a unassuming room with wood paneling, heavy wooden furniture, and bygone electronics. This was a spacious office.

Puzzles

The puzzles in The Architect interacted with the room and its props. They worked in different, and sometimes unexpected, ways.

Many puzzles relied heavily on observation and communication.

Standouts

We loved a few puzzle mechanics. These were truly memorable escape room moments.

When the narrative took a right turn, the puzzling moved the experience forward. The story and puzzles played off each other to escalate dramatic tension.

Sherlocked created a climactic, exciting conclusion to this adventure.

The puzzling traversed the entire large gamespace in interesting and occasionally unforeseen ways.

Shortcomings

The gamespace was simply too large. The spacious setting and sparse decor dwarfed the scale of the experience.

The setting wasn’t inherently exciting. It was an office.

In a few instances, revised puzzle design could improve the player experience. One puzzle required order preservation, which could easily trip up inquisitive players. Another puzzle could be easily circumvented.

Should I play Sherlocked’s The Architect?

Sherlocked is famous for The Vaulta heist adventure set in the basement of this same building. While not as intense or dramatic, the lesser known The Architect was actually the more complex puzzle experience.

It was also more accessible; you need only to be able to walk downstairs.

The Architect intertwined puzzles, narrative, and a beautiful building. It was not an action movie and the set was less impressive than that of The Vault. Within the puzzles, however, there were still plot twists, cinematic moments, and a puzzle complexity that its more famous brother did not have.

It is a challenging escape room.

If you play escape rooms for the puzzles, at Sherlocked, you may actually enjoy The Architect most. I recommend you book them both and decide for yourself.

Book your hour with Sherlocked’s The Architect, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Sherlocked provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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