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.

 

Boom Chicago – Escape Through the Movies [Review]

Yes and!

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date Played: May 11, 2018

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

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: €40 per ticket

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Boom Chicago is an improv comedy troupe whose escape games explore comedy. Escape Through the Movies wove us through a large assortment of backstage spaces throughout their theater. Each new area that we entered took us into a new iconic movie for puzzles and laughs.

While it was a bit uneven in both aesthetics and gameplay, Escape Through the Movies was a fun assortment of unusual segments that didn’t take itself seriously. It presented great moments.

If you’re in Amsterdam, go with the right group and the correct mindset to experience one of the rare comedic escape rooms created by people who get comedy.

In-game: Promo images of a man operating an old film projector.

Who is this for?

  • Movie buffs
  • Comedy fans
  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who are comfortable going up and down stairs

Why play?

  • Comedy
  • Classic movie moments
  • It’s different

Story

The movies are real worlds and Hannibal Lecter wanted to bridge the gap between our reality and the movies. History’s worst movie villains would conquer our reality unless we stopped them. 

In-game: Promo images of a Matrix-y looking cyber punk woman in black leather and and sunglasses. She is lit and gesturing dramatically.

Setting

Boom Chicago is, first and foremost, an improv comedy theater. Escape Through The Movies was built in various rooms throughout their backstage area. It spanned multiple floors and each new space represented a different movie (or series).

The set design was uneven. Some segments look beautiful, while others seemed thrown together.

In-game: Promo images of 3 hands manipulating a matrix of 8 light switches.

Gameplay

Boom Chicago’s Escape Through the Movies was a standard escape room with some other types of gameplay mixed in. It had a lower level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, light interaction with an actor, and puzzling.

A woman crouched and walking cautiously through a dark vent or tunnel.

Analysis

Escape Through the Movies began with a typical escape room set and game flow. The setting was charming. It set the stage for our strange adventure.

– As we left the first set, we entered into an uneven fantasy world. Some sets seemed to strive for realism, while others did not. Boom Chicago seemed to struggle with how realistic to make this humorous adventure.

+ Boom Chicago chose this plot well. It could justify just about anything… so it took us through some of the most unexpected scenes. And it worked.

+ Boom Chicago added sequences that didn’t follow typical escape room gameplay. Some parts were a little intense and others were silly, but these segments were where Escape Through the Movies really shined.

– The puzzles – and other puzzley activities – didn’t give quite enough feedback. We’d wonder whether we were approaching them correctly.

+ Boom Chicago achieved a massive escape room milestone in creating an iconic movie interaction that so many other companies have clearly wanted to build, but simply didn’t know how to make it work.

– The timing wasn’t always on point. We’d solve something and the escape room would react, but off cue. This confused us.

– We traversed a lot of different sets in Escape Through the Movies. While we enjoyed the concept, it meant we walked through a lot of wholly undesigned space, which broke the fiction. In one instance, Boom Chicago needed better stage directions. We accidentally walked past one scene without stopping to experience it. (Our gamemaster directed us back.)

+ Some scenes were purely jokes. No puzzle/activity content. Boom Chicago pulled this off.

– The ending lacked the drama of some of the early scenes. It had fanfare, but the final solve wasn’t epic enough to serve as a conclusion to such a large-scale experience.

+ Boom Chicago specializes in comedy. Escape Through the Movies didn’t take itself too seriously. It made fun of its subject matter and we laughed along with it.

+ Boom Chicago has a spacious lobby with a bar. It’s a fun place to hang out before or after playing Escape Through the Movies.

Tips for Visiting

  • Boom Chicago is accessible from Amsterdam City Center. It is right near the Anne Frank House.
  • We recommend Long Pura for an Indonesian meal across the street.
  • All players need to be able to walk up and down stairs.

Book your hour with Boom Chicago’s Escape Through the Movies, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

 

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.

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.

 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Room Escape Recommendations

Latest Update: October 19, 2019

If we had to pick a favorite city to play escape rooms… in all of our travels, Amsterdam tops the list.

Here are our favorite games in and around Amsterdam. Since we like nuance, they are broken out into categories.

A bridge covered in bicycles over a canal in Amsterdam.

Market standouts

If you only have time for a few games, play these:

  1. The Dome, Escape Room Netherlands
  2. Catacombs, Logic Locks
  3. Girl’s Room, Escape Room Netherlands
  4. The Vault, Sherlocked

Set & scenery-driven

Puzzle-centric

Action movie feel

Tech-heavy

Spooky & scary

Newbie-friendly

Outside of Amsterdam

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.