There’s no place like Om…
Location: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Date Played: August 27, 2022
Team Size: 3-8; we recommend 3-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30 per player
Accessibility Consideration: One person needs to crawl on the floor.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
When I first walked into Lock & Clue’s Agent Z.E.N, I’ll admit I wasn’t impressed. We had just played their game The Sorcerer’s Curse, with an unusual entry and highly immersive medieval game space. The set design for Agent Z.E.N. was high-quality but average, with office furniture, a cabinet with knickknacks and a few pictures on the wall. How could this be their newest room? It just seemed too ordinary. But as we delved further into our search of the agent’s workspace, the set came to life, surprising us and adding depth of character and theme.
Our team of three had plenty to explore, with puzzles ranging from straightforward and logical to clever and definitely different. They all made sense in this covert spy world. One memorable puzzle stood out from the others as a defining puzzle for the game, unique and thematic in its simple execution. But we struggled with another, later in the game, which involved a clue that could be interpreted in different ways and caused our forward progress to stall. We also inadvertently impacted the finale, bringing the game to an awkward end instead of the intended “ta-dah” moment.
Interestingly, this game used a score-based system, allowing us to earn extra points with bonus puzzles to get on the leaderboard. Unlike some rooms with bonus puzzles that are nearly impossible to solve, these were nicely approachable; they were fun and tricky, providing plenty to work on for the whole hour. Solving these mental puzzles was very tempting; in fact, there were a few times I wandered off to continue working on them, to the annoyance of my team who wanted to focus on the main objectives. I just couldn’t resist – figuring out these puzzles was an unexpected personal victory.
We very much enjoyed our time playing Agent Z.E.N. If you are in Rhode Island, stop by Lock & Clue and experience your moment of Zen.
Who is this for?
- Adventure seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Approachable, unique puzzles
- Immersive spy theme
- Final set that makes you want to linger a while
As a team of newly-recruited spies, we were tasked with searching the home base of our mentor, Agent Z.E.N, and locating an important thumb drive that holds super-secret information.
The game began in the rather conventional home office of Agent Z.E.N., international spy. Scattered around were a few trinkets he’d collected from his travels around Asia. However, there was more to his workspace than met the eye.
Lock & Clue was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.
➕ Set design fluidly progressed from ordinary to thematic and impressive, seamlessly supporting theme and character; in hindsight, it was a striking design choice.
➕ Puzzles were fun to solve with a nice range in complexity. Some were recognizable while others were unusual, never-before seen. In fact, one memorable puzzle stood out as unique and thematic; it was the one we talked about the most and one I will forever associate with this game.
➖One multi-layered puzzle had us frustratedly fiddling with the input device long after we understood what to do. Changing the associated cluing would clarify the intended input and remove any confusion.
❓ There was an issue with a late-game reveal when we unintentionally put another object down such that it caused this reveal not to trigger. This was unfortunate as it stalled momentum in the final minutes of the experience. This is easily correctible with a few well-placed props.
➕/➖ Although there was the typical 60-minute time clock, the game used point-based scoring to achieve position on the leaderboard, with points earned by finishing the main objective as well as completing optional bonus puzzles as time allowed. Note that you can lose if you focus on the bonus puzzles and don’t complete the main objective.
➕ Bonus puzzles were available to work on either in parallel with or after the main objective; they were approachable and fun to puzzle through, providing unexpected personal victories for solvers.
Tips For Visiting
- There was street parking available.
- We enjoyed brunch at Waterman Grill, which has a beautiful deck overlooking the Seekonk River in Providence, RI.
Book your hour with Lock & Clue’s Agent Z.E.N., and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Lock & Clue comped our tickets for this game.