Escape Room Zandvoort – The Boat Trip [Review]

I’m on a boat.

Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 11, 2018

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from €59 per group of 2 players to €99 per group of 4 players

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

The Boat Trip pushed the limits of escape room interaction design. What began as a typical search-and-puzzle escape room then shifted into something unusual. In the final scene, Escape Room Zandvoort augmented escape room gameplay to reach for brilliant interaction design. However, as much as we loved their aims, these mechanics felt under-responsive and unfinished. It’s one of those games we really liked, but wish that we could have loved.

If you’re in Zandvoort, please do check out The Boat Trip. This ride was more interesting than it initially appeared.

Post game green screen photo the team on the bow of the ship.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t get seasick

Why play?

  • Mid-game puzzle sequence
  • Dramatic conclusion
  • The post-game photos

Story

After the fishing boat’s captain had been injured in a seafaring accident, he’d hired us to take his boat out and reel in the day’s catch. The weather looked favorable, but we knew it could turn without warning.

Post game green screen photo the team on the bridge of the boat being rescued.

Setting

We began on the aft deck of the fishing boat. It had a handmade deck aesthetic, with stairs, railings, and a bit of rigging. We worked our way through the boat as we progressed through the game. The set was small but elegant and clearly built with love.

Gameplay

Escape Room Zandvoort’s The Boat Trip was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

Analysis

– The Boat Trip started off slowly. While we appreciate on-ramp puzzles, the initial scene of The Boat Trip was search-heavy, with not quite enough clue structure and too many red herrings.

– One of those red herrings fit too snugly into something that it really shouldn’t.

+ We enjoyed one portable game element that we could affix to different spaces to produce different effects. It illuminated some of our favorite puzzles in The Boat Trip.

– One of the puzzles in the middle segment was overly sensitive.

– The Boat Trip felt search-heavy. Even when we triggered tech-driven opens, we had to search to figure out what we had accomplished.

+ As The Boat Trip progressed, Escape Room Zandvoort ramped up the intensity of the experience.

+ When we called for help – as one does on a boat in distress – the mechanism worked well, delivering satisfying feedback. We really enjoyed this segment.

– The most critical late-game interaction suffered from lag time in response and unchanging visuals. This added confusion as we weren’t sure 100% what we were controlling.

+ The late-game was revved up by physical effects that added intensity to the concluding puzzle sequence.

+ Escape Room Zandvoort took some of our favorite postgame photos we’ve seen to date, set against their green screen.

Tips for Visiting

  • Drive about 45 minutes from central Amsterdam.
  • There are adorable restaurants along the beach, just a few minutes walk from the escape room.
  • This is not for players who get motion sick or seasick.
  • At least 1 player needs to know how to use a compass.

Book your hour with Escape Room Zandvoort’s The Boat Trip, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Room Zandvoort provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Escape Room Zandvoort – The Gold Mine [Review]

Cave in.

Location: Zandvoort, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 11, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from €59 per group of 2 players to €119 per group of 6 players

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

The Gold Mine was at its best when we solved collaborative puzzles through interesting and tangible interactions. While we were frustrated by the lighting dynamic that persisted throughout the experience, we generally enjoyed the puzzles in this underground workspace.

If you are in Zandvoort, it’s worth stopping in search of gold.

Post game green screen photo of the team beside mining carts. David and Lisa are peaking out from behind a post.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who are comfortable in dim lighting

Why play?

  • Collaborative puzzles
  • Exciting conclusion
  • The post-game photos

Story

Almost 200 years ago, this Amazonian gold mine had collapsed. Now, however, a persistent archeologist had succeeded in reopening the mine. He believed there would be gold sitting undiscovered in its depths. Despite local superstitions warning us that the mine might not be safe, we ventured in search of gold.

Post game green screen photo with the team riding a mining cart like it's a rollercoaster.

Setting

The Gold Mine was dark and gritty. It felt like an underground workspace, complete with tight spaces and low doorways. We were glad to have helmets.

Gameplay

Escape Room Zandvoort’s The Gold Mine was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

Post game green screen photo of the team in a mine about to detonate dynamite.

Analysis

+ As we solved the puzzles, we furthered our mission in the mine. We appreciated how the puzzles moved the narrative forward.

– Before we entered the mine, the “team leader” received a special helmet-mounted UV light. The rest of us entered with flashlights. While we never enjoy searching an entire space for UV cluing, we were particularly put off by the team dynamic created by the tool imbalance and the room lighting. David, who’d volunteered to lead our expedition, felt like he was constantly asking us all to turn off our lights, or shine them in a different direction. The rest of us felt we couldn’t play freely because we kept having to step aside for the UV searching.

+ The Gold Mine had a great transition.

– We didn’t always know when we’d solved a puzzle. The Gold Mine would benefit from spring-loaded releases or pointed lighting to signal opens.

+ There wasn’t a ton of light in this mine, but sometimes it gave us an interesting perspective.

+ We enjoyed the collaborative nature of the late-game puzzles.

– By the time we escaped, we’d had enough of the looping soundtrack.

+ Escape Room Zandvoort took fantastic postgame photos set against their green screen.

Tips for Visiting

  • Drive about 45 minutes from central Amsterdam.
  • There are adorable restaurants along the beach, just a few minutes’ walk from the escape room.
  • Do not wear nice clothing. You will get a bit dusty in this mine.
  • The helmets were necessary. Beware of the low doorway.

Book your hour with Escape Room Zandvoort’s The Gold Mine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Room Zandvoort provided media discounted tickets for this game.