Questomatica – Arcade Invasion [Review]

wakka wakka wakka wub wub wub

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date played: May 7, 2017

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: €105-140 per team

Questomatica was formerly known as Claustrophobia in Amsterdam. 

Story & setting

Our adventure began in the bar of a retired video game hero, the less renowned brother of a heroic duo. While visiting his bar, we uncovered a menace that needed to be stopped.

Arcade Invasion was an amalgamation of late 1970s and mid 1980s video games brought to life through oversized, interactive, tech-driven set pieces. We toggled between being “at the arcade” and “inside the arcade games” as Questomatica recreated iconic moments from iconic video games.

In-game: Close up of an old cash register with an arcade cabinet and a jukebox in the background.

Puzzles

Arcade Invasion was all about big moments and nostalgia.

Much of the challenge in Arcade Invasion was in figuring out how to elicit responses from the set. The puzzles weren’t too difficult once clues became available and we determined how the room would react to various actions.

Standouts

Arcade Invasion brought familiar games off the screen and into our hands. Questomatica did a good job of referencing the true icons. You won’t find yourself straining to get the references.

The set was fully interactive, incredibly sturdy, and adorably strange.

In some segments, the large set pieces forced collaboration, leading to a feeling of team accomplishment.

The technology driving Arcade Invasion was impressive. It was also beautifully hidden. No wear or exposed wiring gave away its secrets. This seamless implementation of technology gave the room escape a magical, fantastical feel.

Shortcomings

Arcade Invasion felt like cool tech on display. As impressive as it was, the technology didn’t seem to support a cohesive vision or narrative. The story was difficult to follow.

It wasn’t intuitive how to interact with the set. Because of this, and a lack of gating for the early puzzles, we spent a lot of time trying to solve things before we had all the appropriate information.

Looking back, the first puzzle felt strange and out of place.

Questomatica may need to adjust at least one camera angle. At one point, we received useless hints because our gamemaster was unaware of what was actually our point of failure.

The final challenge was an exciting interaction, but a weak puzzle.

Should I play Questomatica’s Arcade Invasion?

Arcade Invasion was an exciting, nostalgic, tech-driven, fantastical, and weird adventure. It was a lot of fun.

If you are interested in escape room technology, I highly recommend Arcade Invasion. Few escape rooms hide their magic like Questomatica.

Much of the puzzling was in interpreting how things would work: what action would elicit what response. If you prefer more traditional puzzles, you might be frustrated.

Arcade Invasion doesn’t follow a clear narrative. It doesn’t really make any sense. If you prefer a cohesive mission, this might not be your escape room.

If you grew up playing video games and you’re interested in a fun and slightly bizarre representation of an arcade, look no further. For that, Arcade Invasion is top notch.

Book your hour with Questomatica’s Arcade Invasion, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Questomatica provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Questomatica – Wake Up!

I didn’t hit snooze for a change.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date played: May 7, 2017

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: €85-120 per team depending upon size

Questomatica was formerly known as Claustrophobia in Amsterdam. 

Story & setting

We had to traverse the dreams of a young girl to help her wake up.

Set within the dream rendition of Matilda’s (not the famed character) bedroom, we had to puzzle through the strange challenges that her young mind could throw at us.

The set was compelling and cleanly constructed with an eye for the most minute of details.

In game: the bed and nightstand of a girl named "Matilda." Her name appears on the wall above her bed.

Puzzles

Tech-driven, with some of the finest implementations that I have encountered to date, the wear, seams, and sensors were shockingly well hidden.

There was a good variety of puzzles. They all made great use of the set, creating fun dream-like scenes that worked well within the game’s loose narrative.

Standouts

In tech-driven rooms, I frequently solve at least some of the puzzles by looking for wear, wiring, seams, or other flaws in construction. That was simply impossible in Wake Up! The construction was immaculate.

The dream narrative of the room escape was reinforced by many of the interactions throughout Wake Up!.

The lighting was well executed.

The final puzzle was substantial enough to engage our full team.

Shortcomings

There was a lack of feedback from some of the puzzles. In one instance we solved something and didn’t know that we had. Many of us kept returning to it to try and make it work. Stronger action / reaction for each individual puzzle would improve the experience.

The music got a bit repetitive and clashed with one of the puzzles.

Wake Up! had dramatic moments, but it lacked adventure.

Should I play Questomatica’s Wake Up!?

It’s rare to encounter an escape room that is so perfectly constructed and maintained. It’s so rare that this is literally the first time I’ve seen execution on this level in over 300 escape rooms. That in and of itself is a massive accomplishment.

Questomatica also did a wonderful job of telling an abstract story through the room’s interactions.

Wake Upis a great and approachable game for players of all skill levels, so long as you have the ability to crawl from time to time.

It’s not the most intense, adventurous, or puzzley game, but it more than makes up for that with wonderful technology and the cleanest execution that I have seen to date.

Book your hour with Questomatica’s Wake Up!, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Questomatica provided media discounted tickets for this game.