Logic Locks – Time Crimes [Review]

Puzzle Trunk Time Machine

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands (portable)

Date Played: May 9, 2018

Team size: 9-18; we recommend 9-10

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: It’s complicated. Contact Logic Locks. The game is also available for resale.

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Time Crimes was the third game we’ve played from Logic Locks and the first portable game designed primarily for corporate groups that we’ve played in Europe.

Portable corporate games are a different beast from standard escape rooms. With no set, they rely exclusively on a collection of props, puzzles, and game flow. These all came together in Time Crimes. There were tons of puzzles, the props looked good, and the game generally flowed well. While Time Crimes had a lot of content, we think any teams approaching the 18 player maximum, wouldn’t get to appreciate the experience Logic Locks has created.

I’m not sure how broadly available Time Crimes will be for the general player base, but if you like puzzle- driven games, this one is worth checking out.

In-game: A table of assorted puzzle components including a number of locked books, a map, and other

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Time travelers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Large volume of challenging puzzles
  • Humor
  • It comes to you

Story

A rogue time-traveling agent had lured us into his plot to change history. It was up to our crew to jump through time and unravel his plans.

In-game: A table of assorted puzzle components including a Chinese zodiac, a locked box, and other strange puzzle components.

Setup

Time Crimes came in three large packages that we were instructed to spread out across different tables, with a computer projecting the remaining content. The game was overseen by an in-character gamemaster who was eager to engage with us… even when one of our teammates humorously yet aggressively pushed the boundaries of standard player/ gamemaster interaction.

Sera looking into the camera wearing a fedora with an expression that screams, "Come at me bro!" The team puzzles in the background.
This photo really captures Sera’s essence.

The boxes contained a wide variety of props representing items acquired from different eras in the past, present, and future. These props looked good when compared with other portable escape games.

In our case, we played in a hotel meeting room, but this thing could be played anywhere that you can comfortably fit the props.

The team working on some puzzles.

Gameplay

Logic Locks’ Time Crimes was a standard portable escape room with a bit of added technology and a high level of difficulty.

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

Lisa & Sharon focused and collaborating on a puzzle.

Analysis

+ Time Crimes began with a more dramatic introduction than we’ve seen from most portable escape rooms. There was more to it than opening a trunk or two.

Time Crimes contained tons of puzzles. We had just about the most intense team that I could imagine and Time Crimes kept us busy far longer than anyone had expected.

David smelling a prop.
Oh look… I’m huffing a prop.

+ Compared to most portable escape rooms, the puzzles in Time Crimes were more challenging.

– Some of the challenge came from detailed searching of the game items. If we missed a crucial detail, it would be impossible to solve the puzzle correctly. Sometimes we knew we were searching-failing. Other times we had no idea why a solution didn’t work.

+/- Time Crimes opened up into 3 separate puzzle tracks. Our gamemaster encouraged us to lay these out such that we wouldn’t confuse the tracks. With a large group, it would be possible – even natural, I’d think – for one player to play through one puzzle track and never see the others.

– There was a lot of content in Time Crimes, but 18 people seems like entirely too many players.

+ There was a tech-driven series of interactions in Time Crimes. This was unusual for a portable escape room. It brought the entire group together for interactions that everyone could experience together.

Lisa intensely puzzling.

– It was challenging to follow the story because we spent the majority of our time with individual puzzles, most of which were thematic, but did not carry the narrative. We had to have retained enough story details as they had been presented to make meaningful decisions at the end.

+ There were some genuinely funny moments in Time Crimes. This is the kind of game where you should puzzle hard, but don’t take yourself too seriously.

Lisa: Focused. Sera: Superhero. Sharan: Focused. David: Stoned.
The range of facial expressions in this photo.

+ Logic Locks took some splendid in-game photos. I don’t know if they do this for every team, but they should. It was good fun.

Tips for Playing

  • Time Crimes needed to be set up in a relatively large space. It worked well in a hotel meeting room, where we played it. (We wouldn’t have been able to play it comfortably in our one-bedroom apartment.)

Book your session with Logic Locks’ Time Crimes and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Logic Locks comped our tickets for this game.

 

Logic Locks – Catacombs [Review]

Say your prayers.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 6, 2018

Team size: 3-6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: ranging from €24.83 per ticket to €49.67 per ticket depending on team size

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Since we had enjoyed Logic Lock’s first game, we booked their latest creation The Catacombs without doing much research… We were surprised when we arrived at a beautiful old church and even more surprised when we descended into the church’s basement. Then we were utterly stunned by the size, detail, and quality of The Catacombs. It was epic, dark, scary, funny, and intense with a great set of puzzles that felt natural in their otherworldly space.

We spent most of Up The Game telling everyone we met to play The Catacombs. If you’re anywhere near Amsterdam, please go play The Catacombs. It’s scary, but it’s not over-the-top.

Exterior of the Posthoorn church at Haarlemmerstraat.
The Posthoorn Church at Haarlemmerstraat

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who are fine with a theme that mixes religion and the supernatural
  • Players who are comfortable with a more intense experience

Why play?

  • The legit setting
  • Beautiful sets
  • Interesting puzzles
  • The solo moment
  • The cinematic conclusion

Story

Something evil had awakened the in catacombs of Posthoorn Church at Haarlemmerstraat and we’d been summoned by the priest to determine what manner of wickedness had taken root beneath the church and exorcise it.

In-game: a wall of human skulls lit by a lantern.

Setting

Catacombs was set in the basement beneath the Posthoorn Church at Haarlemmerstraat. While not technically catacombs, it was the next best thing. The building was beautiful and the basement was dark and creepy.

We began our adventure in an exhibit about the church. Things rapidly escalated from there.

Everything was detailed and felt like it belonged in the game’s grim world.

In-game: A skeleton with rotting flesh.

Gameplay

Logic Locks’ Catacombs mixed escape room gameplay with elements of immersive theater. It had a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and engaging.

A painting on the ceiling of the Posthoorn Church at Haarlemmerstraat

Analysis

Catacombs took place under a former church that was no longer operational for religious purposes. The setting added its own drama to the adventure.

+ Logic Locks worked with the constraints of their space to introduce the experience lightly and then ramp up its intensity.

+ The set looked great. As we moved through the gamespaces, they had different looks and feels, but remained part of a cohesive experience. As the narrative became more intense, so did the environment. It worked really well.

In-game: a weathered wall of creepy plaster faces.

+ We met a character who helped guide our experience through Catacombs. The role was crafted to deliver hints and narrative transitions. The actress in our playthrough brought an incredible intensity to the role, which upped the excitement of the entire experience. It was impressive.

+ Our actress delivered her captivating and intense performance in her second language, which we really admire.

– The otherwise excellent acting started out too intense. Our character grabbed our attention, but we had trouble figuring out how we were supposed to relate to her. Because she started out so high, she didn’t have all that much room to escalate tension (but she did find ways to do so).

Catacombs used levity to temper horror, which is fairly common of horror movies as well. For players apprehensive about horror, the comedic angle softens the experience.

+ We enjoyed the puzzles in Catacombs. By combining locks with tech-driven opens, solves felt both ancient and magical.

– One puzzle was ambiguous; it was difficult to read at face value.

– Late in the game we uncovered a journal. It supported multiple puzzles that ran in parallel, across different spaces, and different levels of light. This became a bottleneck.

+ There was a well-designed solo moment with consequences.

+/- Catacombs built to a conclusion that arrived unexpectedly, in an unorthodox manner. For players used to traditional escape rooms, know that Logic Locks used the actor to control the experience and you cannot simply input your way to victory. Go in prepared for this so as not to be frustrated searching for something you won’t find. When the actor is present, give them all of your attention.

+ The culminating scene delivered a dramatic ending. It made us the stars of our own saga. Logic Locks has designed two conclusions; win or lose, the adventure would build to an epic finale.

Tips for Visiting

  • Catacombs is a long walk or quick taxi/ Uber from the city center.
  • Note that Catacombs is in a different location from Eliza’s Heart.
  • At least one player needs to be able to crawl through a tight space.
  • At least one player needs to be comfortable alone in a tight, enclosed space.
  • There are live actors in this escape room. Review our tips for playing with actors.
  • Note that if you aren’t comfortable with a theme about religion and the supernatural, this escape room isn’t for you.

Book your hour with Logic Locks’ Catacombs, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Logic Locks comped our tickets for this game.

 

Logic Locks – Eliza’s Heart [Review]

Blurred reality.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date played: May 7, 2017

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 63 minutes

Price: €19,50 – 39,50 per person depending upon team size

Story & setting

The descendants of Elizabeth van Leeuwenhart, the renowned 19th century Dutch world adventurer, have opened her private study up to the public for 63 minutes at a time. Could we be the first to find her unimaginably valuable gold necklace, the “Lionheart?”

Logic Locks created a creepy atmosphere that felt strangely believable. From the character of Elizabeth van Leeuwenhart, to the Willy Wonka-esque gamemaster, to the set itself, the scenario felt bizarrely real.

In game: A room corner with a large leather chair, a globe, and artifacts from around the world.

Puzzles

Puzzle-driven, Eliza’s Heart felt like a traditional escape room. What made these puzzles stand out was Logic Locks’ prop selection. Everything felt like it belonged in this strange escape room.

Standouts

Logic Locks went to great lengths to make their character and story feel real. Going in, I knew that the experience was fiction, but I could feel my brain desperately wanting to accept everything I saw as truth.

The puzzling in Eliza’s Heart was strong and satisfying.

Logic Locks made brilliant use of Amsterdam’s most abundant resource: used bicycle chains.

Our creepy Willy Wonka-esque gamemaster took his time and sold the fiction. It was tough to tell if he was acting or was truly this strange individual.

Shortcomings

Some of the antique furniture and props were heavily worn. In one instance, we spent a long time failing to open an antique lock with the correct key because the mechanism was in rough shape.

While the puzzles were enjoyable, Eliza’s Heart would have been all the more impressive if each and every puzzle carried a little more narrative.

There was a puzzle that required outside knowledge. It left us wondering whether the knowledge that we needed to apply was from the current era or Elizabeth van Leeuwenhart’s era.

Should I play Logic Locks’ Eliza’s Heart?

Eliza’s Heart was a beautiful execution of the traditional escape room format. It was an analog puzzle game in an elegant set. The story was so compelling that I wanted to believe that it was true, even when I knew that it was fiction.

If you discovered escape rooms because you love adventure puzzling, then you will likely love Eliza’s Heart.

Beginners can play Eliza’s Heart, but they are going to have to communicate well, as this was not the most simple of escape rooms.

Experienced players will likely enjoy all of the detail, love, and careful attention to experience that Logic Locks poured into Eliza’s Heart.

Book your hour with Logic Locks’ Eliza’s Heart, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Logic Locks comped our tickets for this game.