I Lock You – La Chambre de Nicolai [Review]

Nicholai’s Room (available in English)

Location:  Nice, France

Date Played: October 1, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 90-144 € per team depending on team size

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

La Chambre de Nicolai was a traditional, old-school escape room. It was entirely focused on puzzles, with a lovingly made but simple set. That isn’t to say that I Lock You lacked creativity.

Some of the puzzle design within La Chambre de Nicolai was unique and inspired. We were particularly impressed with the opening puzzle sequence, which took an escape room trope that we have long despised, and made it smart and fresh.

If you enjoy puzzle-focused escape rooms and can either speak French or are comfortable taking a little gamemaster assistance to work through an untranslated puzzle, then pay I Lock You a visit. They are centrally located in Nice. 

In-game: Nicolai's pirate themed bedroom. There's a treasure chest locked in the middle of it.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Interesting puzzles
  • Great transition
  • Fun aesthetics

Story

We were the house staff for Boris and Natalia Povanovitch and they had tasked us with babysitting their little angel Nicolai. This gifted, spoiled, and possibly sociopathic child loved making our lives difficult. This night would be no different. He had locked us in his bedroom. We had to find our way out before his parents came home and fired us.

Additionally, if we found the report card that Nicolai had hidden from his parents, we might be able to… convince him to leave us alone in the future.

In-game: The outside of Nicolai's bedroom warning not to enter in a childish manner.

Setting

La Chambre de Nicolai was bright and vibrant with a decidedly childish aesthetic. It looked like a spoiled kid’s bedroom, complete with toys.

As the game pressed on, the set became darker with muted colors and less detail. 

In-game: A Playmobile pirate ship on a table under a painting of a pirate ship.

Gameplay

I Lock You’s La Chambre de Nicolai was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: Nicolai's bunk bed and air conditioner. His ceiling is painted blue with large styrofoam clouds.

Analysis

➕ We appreciated the humorous setup. Nicolai was a fun nemesis.

➕ The hint system – finding candy within the room to bribe our child captor – was thematic and effective.

➕ We enjoyed the aesthetic of Nicolai’s bedroom and how I Lock You turned children’s toys into puzzles.

➕/➖ La Chambre de Nicolai looked homemade. This mostly worked well, given the set up, but at times it felt amateur and messy. 

➖As the game progressed, the aesthetic quality plummeted. Near the end, the attention to design detail went from bad to worse.

In-game: Nicolai's closet door is painted with a tropical island, a parrot, and pirate treasure.

➕ La Chambre de Nicolai challenged us with some interesting, layered sequences.

➕ While we usually dislike overlocking one item, I Lock You made it work using a series of transformations. In this implementation, the act of solving gave us new information. This created an excellent puzzle sequence.

➖ One late game sequence was not well clued. It was a nifty concept that needed a bit more iteration.

➕ One critical transition worked beautifully.

➖ The ending was anticlimactic. It was easy to brute force and we escaped without having even attempted one of the puzzles.

➕ The idea that we had to find Nicolai’s report card so that we could blackmail the brat into letting us do our jobs was pretty damn funny. 

Tips For Visiting

  • The English translation worked pretty well. There was one late-game puzzle that didn’t translate. It wasn’t a problem. 

Book your hour with I Lock You’s La Chambre de Nicolai, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: I Lock You provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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