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.

I Lock You – Meurtre à Hollywood [Review]

Murder in Hollywood (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

From the premise to the gameplay of the second half, Meurtre à Hollywood was an unusual escape game. Our goal wasn’t to escape, stop a calamity, or find some special item. We needed to figure out how to arrange the set for filming a television show.

With this unusual setup, I Lock You’s second game started out as a traditional escape room and transitioned into something different. I Lock You used these differences to craft an interesting environment and unique puzzles to match it.

In-game: The chalk outline of a body at movie set of a crime scene around a poker table.

While the puzzle flow and set design quality varied heavily throughout Meurtre à Hollywood, the overall experience was memorable and worthy.

If you’re in Nice and looking to explore an escape room that does something a bit different with the medium, I strongly recommend Meurtre à Hollywood.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Puzzle quantity, quality, and intrigue
  • Amusingly dramatic finale

Story

Our Hollywood careers were taking off; we landed roles on a popular crime drama staring Scarlett J. Unfortunately the crew that was supposed to arrange the set had been fired. If Scarlett were to show up at filming time and find the set in disarray, she would surely quit the show. We had to save our acting career and the production by reasoning out how to assemble the set before its star entered.

In-game: the desk and mirror in a movie star's dressing room.

Setting

Meurtre à Hollywood spanned two spaces: Scarlett’s dressing room and the crime scene set that we had to make right.

The dressing room was simple and plain, but had the right props to indicate its purpose. 

The crime scene was vibrant, with lively lighting. This segment of the game was unusual and interesting. 

In-game: A well lit movie set of a crime scene around a poker table.

Gameplay

I Lock You’s Meurtre à Hollywood was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Meurtre à Hollywood delivered unique gameplay; the concept behind the second half was new to us.

➕ We especially liked the tangible interactions that facilitated deeply layered solves.

➖ The set and prop aesthetics varied a lot. While some elements had charm and quality, the gamespace mostly looked homemade and messy. Additionally, I Lock You included a lot of clue structure on laminated paper.

➕ Some of Meurtre à Hollywood’s best puzzle moments shed new light on the movie set and altered our perspectives.

➕/➖ I Lock You went 1 for 2 on transitions. In one instance, they surprised us with an unexpected open. In another, we wanted to move forward, but the cluing was tenuous for a puzzle that seemed a lame choice of gating.

➖ The puzzle flow was rough. It was easy to derive solutions without a place to input them or a clear way to keep them organized for later use.

➕ I Lock You’s destructible worked well. Their cluing on this was smart. 

➕ The final scene was dramatic and entertaining.

Tips For Visiting

  • This game is available in English.

Book your hour with I Lock You’s Meurtre à Hollywood, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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