Komnata Quest – Sinful Pleasures [Review]

Puzzle Hard

Location:  at home

Date Played: April 4, 2021

Team size: we recommend 2-3

Duration: ~ 60 minutes

Price: £15 (about $21)

REA Reaction

We’re gonna get weird today.

We’ve played every game that Komnata Quest opened in New York City, as has our friend and Hivemind reviewer Fro. When they released the play-at-home Sinful Pleasures, she promptly shoved her credit card into Komnata’s website… and then nothing happened:

  • No game was delivered
  • No communication was sent
  • Attempts to contact Komnata were met with a full inbox

With no response from Komnata, Fro eventually cancelled the charges. However, driven by hilarious memories of the real-life version, 7 Sinful Pleasures, as well as a casual disregard for credit card safety, she reordered the game. This second attempt worked. The game showed up in her inbox.

Fro brought this bundle of puzzling pleasure to our home. We poured ourselves some wine, established a safeword, and let the experience unfold.

An attractive redhead in lingerie, rolling stockings up her leg.

… And the first thing we encountered was an entire print-and-play game formatted for metric paper that we didn’t %^&*ing have. Once we figured out how to handle that nonsense (more on that later), we got things started.

What we witnessed was a fairly competent, if unremarkable puzzle game blended with a strange mix of sexual imagery. From moment to moment Sinful Pleasures bounced between cheeky teasing and hardcore imagery, never really committing to one or the other… which was off-putting. Were we supposed to laugh with this game or be aroused by it? I have no idea. Both were acceptable options as this game was clearly labeled for adults, but at some point you have to pick one and commit.

In the end, Sinful Pleasures felt like the game equivalent of a person who thinks that if they crack enough sex jokes, their crush will sleep with them.

Who is this for?

  • Leisure Suit Larry fans
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

If you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You have the sense of humor of a horny middle schooler
  • You like puzzles
  • Metric paper is loaded in your printer

Story

There was an ARG standing in the way of our friend Richard and an invite to a sex party. We had to help him get in.

In-game text chat, the main character exclaims, "Hey, this is Richard You can call me Dick. Thank you for giving me a hand."
Continue reading “Komnata Quest – Sinful Pleasures [Review]”

Komnata Quest – The City of Ashes [Review]

Noisy hill.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: June 18, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket on weekdays, $35 per ticket on evenings, $40 per ticket on weekends/holidays

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

City of Ashes was a search-heavy, pseudo-horror escape room in a dim lighting. It had a few interesting set pieces, and a strong final sequence, but none of that could make up for the general dullness of the game itself.

Having played all of the games that Komnata Quest currently offers in New York City, I can comfortably recommend that you play any of their other offerings ahead of this one. It’s not a disaster, but it’s well beneath Komnata Quest’s potential. Skip it.

In-game: a series of old school desks in a dark, grim room.

Who is this for?

  • Komnata Quest completionists

Why play?

  • A great final puzzle sequence.

Story

Teed up as a Silent Hill escape game, we approached an empty city devoid of life to investigate.

In-game: An old children's tool kit on a black floor.

Setting

We removed our blindfolds to take in the dim, gritty, and just a bit gory surroundings. We traversed a number of sets, each quite different from the next, but none particularly inviting.

In-game: A small wooden door against a black wall with a chalk drawing of a young girl curled up seemingly crying.

Gameplay

Komnata Quest’s The City of Ashes was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling, with emphasis on searching.

Analysis

City of Ashes felt like cheap horror. It was grim, but not really scary. The dimness was more frustrating than fear-inducing.

+ A few detailed set pieces looked great.

City of Ashes required substantial searching in low light. We continuously tripped up because we hadn’t found the item we needed to complete a puzzle.

– The puzzles lacked clue structure and feedback. There was a puzzle that we solved, but had no idea how or why.

– We couldn’t properly hear the audio track over the ambient noise. If it held any clue structure or story, it was impossible to make out.

City of Ashes overtelegraphed one of its most interesting moments.

+ The concluding segment was shockingly good.

– I can’t recommend this game at $30 per ticket, and the $35 per ticket during the evenings and $40 per ticket on weekends and holidays is unjustifiable.

Disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

Komnata Quest – Joker’s Cafe [Review]

“Hey kids! Joker here…”

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: June 18, 2018

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per ticket on weekdays, $40 per ticket on evenings, $45 per ticket on weekends/holidays

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Joker’s Cafe was a creepy, but approachable escape room. Although neither the beginning nor the ending hit the mark, the majority of the gameplay was entertaining. The puzzles combined with set design, technology, and effects to deliver energetic solves.

In-game: The checkout counter at Jokers Cafe.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A lot of square footage for New York
  • Some strong puzzle moments and effects

Story

The Joker had been luring children into his cafe and using them for his experiments. Since “The Bat” was busy saving other people, our team of GCPD officers had been dispatched to the scene.

In-game: a small painting of a Joker labeled "J."

Setting

We started on a street corner outside the Joker’s Cafe looking to break into the bubblegum pink candy shop. This bright and eerily friendly setting evolved into someplace more sinister.

In-game: The cash register in Joker's Cafe.

Gameplay

Komnata Quest’s Joker’s Cafe was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: a large amount of popcorn.

Analysis

Jokers Cafe had a large footprint, especially when compared with most other New York City games.

– Komnata Quest had repurposed their former one-person lobby game, Mousetrap, as the opening sequence for Joker’s Cafe. Because this early puzzle structure didn’t engage a larger group, Joker’s Cafe had a lackluster beginning.

+/- Through detailed set design and misdirection, Komnata Quest created a few surprising opens. While we appreciated the concepts, we wished it telegraphed these less.

+ Joker’s Cafe successfully transitioned between different tones. It offered a peek ahead such that more jumpy players could become comfortable with the creepiness to come.

– Joker’s Cafe wasn’t particularly inspiring as a Batman or Joker game. It felt like Komnata Quest could have done a lot more with the theme.

+ Periodically, we’d see interesting puzzle design. One mid-game puzzle had elements that were interesting to combine.

+ Komnata Quest integrated an unusual device into the narrative as a puzzle. This came together soundly.

– In one segment, we searched through quite a bit of unnecessary material. It felt like maybe a puzzle thread had been removed from the game, because these props felt like unresolved puzzles, which led us off the path of gameplay.

Joker’s Cafe ended anticlimactically. There was a delay before a correct input registered, which left us wondering for just a bit too long whether we’d correctly solved the final puzzle.

– Komnata Quest has become really expensive. Joker’s Cafe was a really good game, but was it $40-$45 per player on evenings, weekends, and holidays good? I’m on the fence about that. New York has a lot of quality games for less money. These prices elevate expectations to heights that Komnata Quest hasn’t delivered.

Tips for Visiting

  • Accessible by the G subway and the East River ferry. Street parking only.
  • We recommend Paulie Gee’s for pizza and Ovenly for desserts.
  • Players need to be able to step over a relatively high barrier.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s Joker’s Cafe, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

Komnata Quest – The Vault [Review]

Pack your Pip-Boy for the apocalypse.

Location: New York, NY

Date Played: April 16, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $40 per ticket on weekdays; $50 per ticket on weekends

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

In The Vault, Komnata Quest blended action and comedy in their Fallout themed experience. This was an easy, straightforward, linear adventure-based game that felt like the escape room world’s equivalent of the summer action flick. A little more depth in puzzle design would have been an improvement, but we had a good time traversing its large set and playing with all sorts of interesting toys.

If you’re in Manhattan and looking for an approachable, beginner friendly adventure, give The Vault a shot.

In-game: A welcome screen with instructions about a first aid kit.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A fun exploration of the Fallout world
  • A humorous artificial intelligence overseer
  • Some great tangible interactions

Story

Nuclear Armageddon had rendered the surface of the Earth uninhabitable. To avoid the radiation, diseases, and mutant monsters, humanity had retreated to the safety of underground vaults. Unfortunately, the vaults were no longer the safe haven that humanity had relied on. Our squad was dispatched to investigate and neutralize the threat.

In-game: A pair of boxes, one is labeled

Setting

Leaning heavily into the mythology of the Fallout video game series, The Vault dropped us into a subterranean ark of sorts, designed to protect and preserve humanity after the Earth’s surface was rendered insufficient for civilization. The Vault was loaded with Fallout references and had a sterile, military-meets-laboratory feel.

The gamespace was surprisingly large for a Downtown Manhattan escape room. There were many spaces to explore.

In-game: A Nuka Cola cabinet.

Gameplay

Komnata Quest Manhattan’s The Vault was a standard escape room with a lower level of difficulty.

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

In-game: The door to the research unity, it looks like there are monsters on the other side of it.

Analysis

+ The Vault was based on the Fallout series. The interactions that pulled on the source material were fun and memorable.

In-game: a large binary switch.

+/- A lot of the escape room was informed by a critical prop. This thing was awesome, but also failed to provide key feedback to let us know that it was working.

+ The lock nerd in me was incredibly pleased with one of the puzzles in Vault.

+/- The in-game “artificial intelligence” was funny.

– However, in-game audio was challenging to hear. Consequently, it was also difficult to tell the difference between audio clues and AI taunts. This was frustrating.

+/- The set was large, especially by Manhattan standards. For all of the space that Komnata Quest had for Vault, it felt light on content and challenge.

+ I have a personal love of nixie tubes. Discovering them in an escape room makes me happy.

Tips for Visiting

  • For upscale dining nearby, we recommend sushi at Haru.
  • For casual dining nearby, City Acres Market offers Vanessa’s dumplings.
  • There are not a lot of dining options open late in this neighborhood.
  • Parking is a challenge; consider a subway or ferry for transportation.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s The Vault, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

Komnata Quest – Sherlocked [Review]

Professor Holmes’ final exam.

Location: New York, NY

Date Played: January 29, 2018

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $40-$50 per ticket (depending on team size) on weekdays; $50-$60 per ticket (depending on team size) on evenings and weekends

REA Reaction

In the beginning, Sherlocked struck all the right notes. However, Komnata Quest’s interactive style vanished in the latter half of the experience, fizzling into a paper-based observation-and-deduction exam. What started off fun turned into an agitating and frustrating mess.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sherlock Holmes fans
  • Any experience level
  • People who want to play as detectives

Why play?

  • To play as a detective
  • The escape room puzzle sequences

Story

A politician has been murdered and our dear friend Sherlock Holmes has been framed for it. We broke into the legendary detective’s home at 221B Baker Street in search of evidence to exonerate him.

In-game: a desk with a typewriter, globe, hour glass, and photo of a beautiful woman.

Setting

The flat of Sherlock Holmes was a bright Victorian study. Parts of it felt lived in; other areas seemed sterile and staged. Most of the critical props and set pieces showed signs of wear.

Sherlocked’s set was unusual for Komnata Quest because it was well lit.

In-game: a shelf covered in statues of birds, elephants, mermaids, and other animals.

Gameplay

Sherlocked felt like two games in one escape room.

Initially we played a traditional escape room filled with searching, puzzles, interesting interactions, and a lot of reading.

When we reached the final puzzle, the tone and gameplay shifted.

Final Puzzle Structure

The final challenge was a multiple choice test regarding the facts of the case. The correct answers would secure our freedom as well as that of Mr. Holmes.

[collapse]

In-game: A statue of a raven perched upon a skull.

Standouts

The opening puzzle sequence struck a chord with us. It was well clued and soundly executed.

The early detective work. The interactive investigating was pretty nifty.

The first portion of Sherlocked, which included about 75% of the gameplay, flowed really well. These puzzles were a ton of fun.

Shortcomings

The final 25% of gameplay felt like a standardized test. The gameplay moved away from the environment onto a few sheets of paper. There was far too much to read and some of the questions had ambiguous answers or observational nitpicks. This wasn’t conducive to escape room-style gameplay and it wasn’t fun.

The culminating puzzle sequence involved almost no player action and offered no feedback. Our gamemaster had no means to follow our progress. Any help was clunky at best. (This wasn’t his fault; it was due to the game’s structure.)

The set showed a lot of wear, which was amplified by the lighting. We always try to be respectful players, but especially given the state of the set, we played particularly cautiously… and we got burned by that decision.

An incredibly important moment didn’t reveal emphatically. We didn’t even know that we had triggered something. Komnata Quest could make that open pop so that players don’t miss the moment.

One puzzle invited MacGyvering… but only as intended by the game designer. We were chastised for finding another similar “tool” within our environment.

Sherlocked cost between $40 and $60 per ticket depending upon team size and day of the week. For an escape room with maintenance issues and a lengthy, weak finale, that was too much money.

Tips for Visiting

  • For upscale dining nearby, we recommend sushi at Haru.
  • For casual dining nearby, City Acres Market offers Vanessa’s dumplings.
  • There are not a lot of dining options open late in this neighborhood.
  • Parking is a challenge, consider a subway or ferry for transportation.
  • Book during the week with a larger team for a more reasonable price.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s Sherlocked, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.