Price: 69€ per team of 2 players, 89€ per team of 3 players, +10€ for every additional player
Story & setting
We were burglarizing an old home filled with ancient artifacts in search of a particular priceless object.
The set of Biggs The Legacy was gorgeous. It looked and felt like an old, lived-in, and ultimately rundown estate. There was an immense amount of detail, but it rarely became confusing.
Where the set of Biggs The Legacy was brilliant, Exit struggled to work puzzles into the space. The puzzles were largely task-based. They felt forced, incomplete, or both.
The gamespace for Biggs The Legacy was intriguing. It was detailed, ornate, and oddly beautiful. It was an enjoyable space.
It was also well player-proofed. Anything that was purely for aesthetics wasn’t going anywhere by accident.
The set offered quite a few fantastic and unexpected surprises.
We enjoyed one particular puzzle that turned what seemed like set dressing into something much more important.
Biggs The Legacy lacked puzzle flow. It didn’t have the necessary clue structure to move the gameplay forward from one puzzle to the next. It continually felt like it was dragging.
The one layered puzzle was entirely too opaque and its solution input mechanism was clunky.
The interactions didn’t give enough feedback. We’d complete puzzles or trigger events and have no idea that we’d opened up new information… or if we had actually solved the puzzle.
By the end of the game, we were so confused by the puzzles and the lack of feedback from the set that we struggled to tell active puzzles from solved puzzles from set dressing.
I’m not sure what the story was, but I do know that there was an attempt to tell one. This was not a language issue.
Should I play Exit’s Biggs The Legacy?
While we fought and struggled through to our escape from Biggs The Legacy, we enjoyed exploring the space the entire time.
Biggs The Legacy had all the components of a great escape room, but lacked connective tissue. It had a set, puzzles, and interactions that fed off each other. It just needed the clue structure and the feedback to create flow.
This was a weird game to play and review because I desperately want to love it. Biggs The Legacy had so much going for it… but it needs to nail gameflow and feedback. The good news is that this escape room is fixable. There is greatness here; it just needs a little more work.
If you’re looking for an aesthetically beautiful escape room experience, you won’t find many more attractive than Biggs TheLegacy. In its current state, however, its gameplay does not achieve its full potential. I truly hope that Exit puts some iteration work into this room escape; it could be world-class.
[At the time of this review, One Night in Hong Kong was called Kowloon Walled City.]
This one won’t be for everyone. You’ve been warned.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Date played: September 2, 2017
Team size: 2-12 (there are two copies of the room); we recommend 3
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: from 35€ per ticket for 2 players to 20€ per ticket for 12 players
Story & setting
As members of the dominant Triad family in Kowloon Walled City, a rival family had emerged and was chipping away at our control of the extortion, prostitution, and human trafficking rackets. We had to destroy our competition and reaffirm our control over the region (no actual destruction necessary).
Kowloon Walled City was magnificently staged as a dark and seedy city. There were alleyways, drug dens, and houses of ill repute. The level of detail was phenomenal. The only thing missing was people to populate this imaginary city.
Kowloon Walled City was almost entirely task- and mission- based. There was one segment mid-game where things became puzzle-focused, but it was short lived. Kowloon Walled City generally kept us focused on advancing through the plot.
Kowloon Walled City took place in an interesting, detailed, and varied set. House of Tales manipulated space to make the set feel more expansive than it was.
We enjoyed the theme of this adventure. From the set aesthetic to the puzzles, it stayed on point.
Kowloon Walled City employed an interactive hint system that added depth to the experience. Through the hints, we came to understand the story better. Receiving hints was fun.
Kowloon Walled City was not a puzzle-focused escape room. The puzzles were pretty standard escape room types that in some cases broke the fiction more than contributed to it. At times the technology behind the puzzle interactions was not well hidden, which contributed to this feeling of puzzling for the sake of it being an escape room.
The ending lacked drama. Kowloon Walled City ended abruptly and predictably. We would have liked more excitement to close.
The name “Kowloon Walled City” didn’t indicate “mafia infiltration containing adult content.” When I researched the name post-game, I learned that Kowloon Walled City was a largely ungoverned section of Hong Kong where the mafia ruled until it was demolished in 1993/4. The name did make sense, if you knew what it was… which we did not. The name of the game could have done a better job of conveying what to expect from the experience. We enjoyed the dark, adult-themed game, but I suspect that someone with more delicate sensibilities could mistake it for something it’s not.
Should I play House of Tales’ Kowloon Walled City?
Kowloon Walled City prioritized adventure and shock over puzzling. This particular style of escape room design was heavily reminiscent of the Russian escape rooms that we’ve seen imported to the United States.
Kowloon Walled City was not a particularly difficult game, but it pushed a few boundaries beyond anything that Lisa and I have seen in the United States. Kowloon Walled City featured graphic depictions of drugs and sex. We found it all funny, but if you think that this might offend your sensibilities, you should skip this room escape.
If a sex-, drugs-, and crime-filled adventure that’s a bit light on puzzles sounds like a good time, then you should absolutely go play it. Check your ego at the door and take hints. So much of Kowloon Walled City’s story was conveyed through their hint system. I’d also recommend that a player who is willing and eager to play with the gamemaster choose to interact with the hint system. You’ll get more out of this escape room if you play it this way.
Professor Moriarty has returned and Sherlock Holmes has gone missing. By order of Scotland Yard, we were granted permission to break into 221B Baker Street and learn the fate of the world’s most famous detective.
Our mystery was staged within a large, grim, wood-furnished apartment-esque space. It looked pretty good, but felt entirely too empty. This barren set, however, excelled at building tension.
In Sherlock Holmes, Escape Berlin wanted us to deduce our way through the room escape. I didn’t realize this until after the fact, but the puzzles were all almost complete, threads dangling and waiting for connection. In its own weird way, Sherlock Holmes felt like a detective game.
All of the puzzles within Sherlock Holmes were effectively deduction games. That felt appropriate.
Sherlock Holmes traversed a large, minimalistic, and foreboding gamespace. Through a combination of lighting, sounds, and space, Escape Berlin created an uneasiness that added tension to every interaction.
Sherlock Holmes included some strange and unexpected puzzles. These were a lot of fun.
You can’t really go wrong with a good Portal reference.
The large gamespace wasn’t particularly intriguing in and of itself. Sure, a lot of players could fit into the space, but it wasn’t well used.
Sherlock Holmes was a linear escape room in a massive space. At times it was challenging to determine where to direct our attention. When we slowed, we ground to a halt.
Should I play Escape Berlin’s Sherlock Holmes?
Sherlock Holmes was an escape room of deduction puzzling. This stylistic choice worked well for the theme and the space.
We haven’t seen too many escape rooms build tension the way Sherlock Holmes did. It was just the two of us in this largely empty space and I was on edge the entire time, in a good way.
While Sherlock Holmes created a particular atmosphere, the set itself was not particularly interesting to traverse or explore.
If you like detective puzzling, and you’re okay with a bit of intensity, I recommend Sherlock Holmes. It would be fun for puzzle-focused players of any experience level.
Update 4/13/21: If you enjoy Beast of Berlin, we hope you’ll check out our interview with Chris Lattner, CEO and creative director of The Room, on The Reality Escape Pod.
The roar in the roaring twenties was the sound of the Beast of Berlin.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Date played: September 4, 2017
Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: from 35€ per ticket for 2 players to 22€ per ticket for 6 players
Story & setting
The notorious serial killer known only as “the Beast of Berlin” had claimed another life. His most recent victim was found boldly placed within the office of Chief Inspector Ernst Gennat, the man hunting for him. Gennat assembled a special commission to track down this killer and bring him to justice.
Beast of Berlin set us off on our adventure within the latest crime scene, Chief Inspector Gennat’s beautiful office. It looked and felt like a real and functional place.
From a puzzling standpoint, Beast of Berlin played similarly to The Room’s other early game, Go West… but with moderate horror tossed in for intensity.
Beast of Berlin was a puzzler’s room escape. Some of the puzzles carried narrative weight; others were simply good puzzles.
Beast of Berlin began in a compelling and strangely beautiful detective’s office from a bygone era. It was a comfortable but intriguing space to explore.
The Room’s commitment to set detailing showed in every area of the experience. They fully decorated spaces that we barely spent any time puzzling through. This attention to detail elevated the ambiance and intensity of the surrounding experience. In spite of the level of detail, Beast of Berlin was not plagued by red herrings.
We enjoyed most of the puzzles that we encountered in Beast of Berlin.
There were a few puzzles that seemed a bit too opaque or worn down.
This detective’s office included a few gorgeous props that were just… props. We would have liked to see them worked into the puzzles.
We spent the majority of Beast of Berlin moving through the escape room without any urgency. The early gameplay was emotionally level, at times even monotonous, and didn’t foreshadow – or push us towards – the excitement that was to come. Then, after the tension escalated, the ending felt small. It didn’t return adequately on the built tension.
Should I play The Room’s Beast of Berlin?
Beast of Berlin started comfortable and relatively standard, but it became far more interesting than it originally appeared.
Note that Beast of Berlin turned dark, both physically and metaphorically. If that’s not your thing, choose one of The Room’s other escape rooms.
Otherwise, regardless of your experience level, there was an intriguing set along with satisfying puzzling to enjoy in Beast of Berlin. It will be challenging, but approachable and exciting.
Following our visit, The Room closed Beast of Berlin for refurbishing. We expect that some of the heavily worn or less integrated puzzling has now been reworked for future players.