The Room – Go West [Review]

Escape the crap.

Location: Berlin, Germany

Date played: September 4, 2017

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from 35€ per ticket for 2 players to 24€ per ticket for 5 players

Story & setting

Go West was set in a 1980s Soviet-controlled East Berlin apartment beside the Berlin Wall. Our application to emigrate to the “Golden West” had been rejected and the Stasi was after us. We had received a tip from a secret source about a way out, but we had to hurry or suffer.

In-game: A drab 1980s living room in East Berlin. A stuffed fish named Erich hangs on the wall.

As an American and student of Cold War history, it was immediately clear that Go West captured the look of a 1980s home in Soviet territory. The color scheme, furniture, and props were almost entirely authentic. I have to imagine that any former East Berliners stepping into this set would experience a strange journey back to when their entire city was held prisoner.

Puzzles

Go West was primarily a puzzle game. That said, The Room created puzzles from period-specific props or used puzzles to carry the narrative and message of the escape room.

Standouts

As Americans, we frequently see different types of 1980s escape rooms built around pop culture references. Go West was not our 1980s, but it was a detailed, accurate, and poignant representation of the time period. The gamespace felt lived in, but not distracting.

In-game: A gridded cocktail table with chess pieces on it, and a large 1980s television set in the distance.
Sign me up for that wallpaper.

Go West made a conscious and deliberate political statement through interaction design. The Room used in-game transitions as the primary vehicle for conveying their opinion.

We were particularly fond of one of the mid-game layered, collaborative puzzles in Go West.

Shortcomings

Much of the puzzling in Go West was from an older era of escape room design. It involved significant searching. Many puzzles were for puzzles’ sake rather than narrative-driven.

Go West was emotionally level for much of the experience. The gameplay didn’t instill urgency until deep into the experience.

Should I play The Room’s Go West?

Yes, you should play Go West. This was The Room’s first game and it was a beautiful and interesting experience.

It was one of the few games that I’ve encountered that communicated a political and historical message.

While Go West has been open for a few years now, it has been meticulously maintained. I have to imagine that it was far better than the norm when it first opened. It still played remarkably well, even if some of the gameplay suggested its age.

You will have to crawl to complete Go West. If that isn’t an issue, you should absolutely experience this room escape regardless of your level of experience with escape rooms.

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

For a local perspective, see Escape Maniac (in German).

Full disclosure: The Room comped our tickets for this game.

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