Locked Amsterdam – The Submarine [Hivemind Review]

The Submarine is a digital adaptation of an escape game created by Locked Amsterdam in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Room Escape Artist has a review of The Submarine in its original format from June 2017. This is a review of the digital adaptation of the same game.

LockedDown Complete sign with a view of the submarine.

Format

Style of Play: video adaptation of a real-life escape room

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection and headphones to avoid the echoes from Skype

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 90 minutes

Price: about €30 per person, varies slightly by team size

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

In The Submarine, players direct a live avatar to explore the gamespace and interact with objects in a standard, linear escape room. The automatic on-screen inventory and 360-degree secondary view helped the gameplay significantly.

Sketch of a submarine engine.

Hivemind Review Scale

Read more about our new Hivemind Review format.

⭐⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players at any time.

⭐⭐

I recommend this game to escape room players in quarantine.

I do not recommend this game.

Continue reading “Locked Amsterdam – The Submarine [Hivemind Review]”

Locked Amsterdam – The Liebermann Conspiracy [Review]

One fine art break-in.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 6, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: ranging from €23 per ticket to €41.50 per ticket depending on team size and weekday or evening/weekend

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

In The Liebermann Conspiracy we set out on a heist, explored elaborate technological interactions, and navigated through a diverse collection of elegant sets. We saw a lot of things we hadn’t seen before, and had a lot of fun, even when we more or less lost the narrative at the end of the game.

I’m glad that we played this one because we almost didn’t (read on to learn more about that). If you’re in Amsterdam and willing to take a short taxi ride, Locked Amsterdam is a really interesting place to play.

In game: a storage area with a ladder going up to the next floor.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Neat gadgets
  • The break-in moments

Story

Journalist Hugo Laanen was hiding after his encounter with the Russian secret service in Locked Amsterdam’s first escape room, The Submarine. While Laanen was maintaining a low profile, he learned of a global conspiracy by the Liebermann Group. Since he was in hiding, he had reached out to us to investigate on his behalf.

In game: a closeup of a server rack.

Setting

The Liebermann Conspiracy’s sets were especially diverse, each space looking nothing like the previous ones. We began in a raw, yet realistic storage area, and progressed from there.

Gameplay

Locked Amsterdam’s The Liebermann Conspiracy was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In game: a storage area with shelving covered in computer and cleaning equipment.

Analysis

+ We brought our tools with us to break in. And break in we did. These small details made for an exciting opening and supported the narrative.

+ The gamespace was composed of custom construction. This was impressive.

+ We were mesmerized by an in-game gadget and how Locked Amsterdam worked it into this escape room.

+ Locked Amsterdam turned a spatial constraint into an intense in-game moment.

+ We enjoyed many of the puzzles in this escape room.

– A flaw in a technological implementation allowed an observant player on our team to circumvent a major puzzle.

+/- We found three possible solutions to one puzzle. Locked Amsterdam didn’t mind that we hacked together something unintended – and we liked our other solutions better than the intended one – but we wished the intended solution had been less clunky.

– While it started out narratively strong, our sense of world broke down late in the game. The Liebermann Conspiracy evolved into an escape room with puzzles for puzzles’ sake, rather than a puzzle-driven adventure.

+ We traversed multiple sets. Each felt so different from the last. We especially loved one artistic late-game set. It was unexpected, but felt legit.

– The final gamespace felt plain and empty. This contributed to the scene feeling forced and out of place.

– The Liebermann Conspiracy lacked a climatic moment. Its best moments were early on and it didn’t build to a finale.

The Liebermann Conspiracy is a 90-minute escape room. While we did spend time waiting for various in-game tech in predominantly linear parts of the game, we didn’t have to feel time pressure because of this.

? Ok… Now for an uncomfortable subject. If we hadn’t enjoyed The Submarine on our last trip to Amsterdam, we would never have booked The Liebermann Conspiracy; we probably would have skipped Locked Amsterdam entirely. In our minds, the name seemed to imply a game related to an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory. Rest assured that this escape room was not anti-Semitic. This was just a name with no stated deeper meaning. Your reaction to the name will likely vary based on whether or not you live in an area where you meet enough Jews to recognize Jewish names. All of that being said, a name change wouldn’t be the worst idea, because I am glad that we played this escape room.

Tips for Visiting

  • You’ll have to taxi or Uber from the city center.
  • At least one player needs to be able to climb a ladder and move swiftly.

Book your hour with Locked Amsterdam’s The Liebermann Conspiracy, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Locked Amsterdam – The Submarine [Review]

And that button over there will blow up the city.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date played: May 8, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: €70-120 per team

Story & setting

We were searching for a lost Soviet submarine before its nuclear cargo fell into the wrong hands. We started in an office thought to have information about the sub’s whereabouts and proceeded into the depths of the ocean.

With each subsequent stage in this adventure, the set became increasingly more exciting. We progressed from a mundane office to inside a dark and distressed submarine.

In-game: a close up of a valve on a compelling submarine set.

Puzzles

The sets, props, and puzzles worked together to drive the mission forward.

The puzzles in The Submarine required visual, auditory, and dexterity skills, along with observation and the ability to make connections between gadgets and functions.

Standouts

Locked.Amsterdam designed and constructed a compelling maritime set. The interior of this beat-up submarine was especially impressive.

As we journeyed toward the climax of the adventure, the set, props, and technology became increasing more complex and exciting.

A unique hint delivery mechanism fit neatly into the story.

Shortcomings

The hint delivery system was unfortunately placed in such a way that it was difficult to reach.

If we didn’t succeed at a puzzle on the first try, The Submarine could become frustrating. This took a number of forms:

As we progressed through The Submarine, we left information behind. It wasn’t always possible to revisit important clues, which led to wasted time and effort.

Because of the tech-driven props, when we made a mistake, we couldn’t simply try again. In one case, we needed to wait for a prop to reset. In another instance, we needed to go back more than one step to get a prop to trigger again. In a timed adventure, this became frustrating.

We also experienced one technical failure, unrelated to a puzzling mistake.

Should I play Locked.Amsterdam’s The Submarine?

The Submarine was an exciting and dramatic adventure. As we progressed through the narrative, the stakes escalated along with the environment. This was impressive.

While we enjoyed the puzzle and set integration, at times this tech-driven design caused unnecessary frustration.

The Submarine was a game of puzzling precision; it punished screwups. So observe carefully and be precise.

The Submarine would be best for experienced players seeking an oceanic adventure; it’s a gorgeous escape room.

Book your hour with Locked.Amsterdam’s The Submarine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Locked Amsterdam provided media discounted tickets for this game.