Logic Locks – The Amsterdam Catacombs Online [Hivemind Review]

The Amsterdam Catacombs Online is a real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar, created by Logic Locks in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Room Escape Artist has a review of The Amsterdam Catacombs in its original format from June 2018. It won a 2018 Golden Lock Award.

This is a review of the digital adaptation of the same game.

Exterior of the Posthoorn church at Haarlemmerstraat.

Format

Style of Play: real-life escape room livestreamed and played through an avatar

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection

Recommended Team Size: 2-5

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: €140 per team ($165)

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

You’re helping out a journalist who has read a lot about the catacombs beneath this one church. He wants to see it for himself, but locked doors hinder him. You help him out via stream, but then you figure out the demonic secrets of those catacombs.

Hivemind Review Scale

REA's hivemind review scale - 3 is recommended anytime, 2 recommended in quarantine, 1 is not recommended.

Read more about our Hivemind Review format.

Joel Smileypeacefun Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

Being one of the top 20 ranked escape rooms worldwide, I was confident going into this that I was going to have a good time. I sure did!

At its best, the story and puzzles were fantastic. The unique set design makes this game a must-play. If you’re a sucker for special props, which suddenly open up, this is the game for you.

At its worst, while the internet connection was surprisingly stable (considering the game is located in the basement of an old church), the video quality was concerningly bad. A very pixelated, low light, shaky, and blurry stream made it hard to take in the great set design and see important puzzle details.

If you don’t live around the corner or can’t play it because of the current health situation, you’ll have a ton of fun here. The only case where I wouldn’t suggest doing the online version would be if you plan on playing this in real life someday.

In-game: a wall of human skulls lit by a lantern.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

What a spectacular experience. The set was enthralling, the puzzles were purposeful, and the avatar was on point. Ultimately, though, the magic was in how seamlessly these elements merged into a cohesive narrative. I was awestruck by some of the theatrical constructs this game used to make the story come to life. If I didn’t know better, I might actually have believed we cracked open another world. The way the story unfolds and interrelates with your own experience is elegant and intense, convincing you that stakes are high. Indeed, you might well complete the game but fail your quest, so take it seriously and pay attention! It’s really quite the masterpiece.

It should be noted that Catacombs is a huge game, an order of magnitude more complex than Logic Locks’ other game, The Secrets of Eliza’s Heart. Although the size of the game is part of its majesty, it also produced a nagging concern that we might overlook something significant (and lo, we did!), and it put a palpable burden on the avatar to orient the experience, pace the game, and focus attention. Our avatar, Dr. Fimblewood, navigated these tasks adeptly, but I honestly couldn’t tell whether we should be driving the experience more ourselves. In retrospect, I can’t imagine playing some parts of the game without the avatar’s guidance, but in the moment this wasn’t so apparent. If you go in with these expectations, you might avoid similar anxieties.

For sure, this game would be absolutely wild in person, but I’m so glad there’s an online version that seems to do it justice. Those of us who are more homebound even outside pandemic times are truly grateful.

The Lone Puzzler’s Reaction

Rating: 3 out of 3.

This game is immense – it struggles a bit (especially at the beginning) with its cameras – I expect that will get fixed. The story is great – would be better in person, but I doubt I am getting to The Netherlands anytime soon and the online version was quite engaging. It is a creepy game that would be horror in person, but a little less so online. The game flowed well with interesting challenges and a very realistic set and props. The avatar setup worked well and the avatar gave a great performance in-character the whole way. A great online experience – I would recommend it in person if you can go, but if not online is worth it.

David Spira’s Reaction

Rating: 2 out of 3.

The Amsterdam Catacombs is among my very favorite real life escape rooms… but how well did it translate online? In some ways, it was phenomenal, but in one critical way, it was a failure for me. The good news is that it is easily fixable.

From a pure gameplay adaptation standpoint, The Amsterdam Catacombs was one of my favorite digital adaptations of a real-life escape room. The story, setting, and puzzles were well implemented in an alternate medium. I especially loved the added theatrical flair to help build the world.

That said, in its current state, I really struggled to enjoy the game because of the choppy handheld camera work. I was terribly motion sick from the opening moments and it never improved. This game needs a steady cam. It is unacceptable that a game of this caliber has such weak camera infrastructure. The only reason that I made it through this game was because I took a 5-minute break, walked away from the game, and lay down. I hope that Logic Locks fixes this, because they did so much so well.

All that being said, if you think you’re going to get to Amsterdam, I still would not play this one. As strong as it is online, it is truly special in real life.

Disclosure: Logic Locks provided the Hivemind reviewers with a discounted play.

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