I don’t even know where to begin. So far, we had a favourite for the worst room in Plovdiv, which deserved neither our time nor our money. This is Escape room Plovdiv. After yesterday, I think they remain undefeated, but Eight Zones have tried hard to catch up.
Let’s start with the reservation. This room does not have any, or at least not in your well-known form calendar on their site. To make a reservation, you have to write to them on Facebook. They respond after a certain time, asking if you have vouchers. No, we don’t.
The site can get any designer to perform seppuku ritually. The logo is a collection of five-petals found on the Internet. Ok, time to stop, let’s say all this can be overlooked.
We arrive at the specified location. No sign. There is … nothing. There is only an armoured door. We make a phone call. We are assured that we are in the right place. I have the feeling that we will be performing some illegal activity, not that we will play an escape room. The door opens. We enter a dark room with a small, barely visible lamp. On a wooden crate, the declarations are waiting for us. As we speak I slowly start to realize that we are in the room where we are supposed to play, this is not a reception area, we are just sitting in a room 3 by 4 meters, where the game actually begins.
EXTREMELY BAD IMPRESSION on me made the fact that we were asked first to pay for the game. Warning red lamps lit up in my brain, so far we didn’t have to pay the whole amount upfront, but apparently, the gentlemen had problems with teams refusing to pay for that nonsense that was ahead of us.
We received the information from the owner that he is opening a second room for Valentine’s Day: “The first horror room in Plovdiv”.
Never again …
The sad thing is that this room is made to print money and ride the “wave” of escape room enthusiasm. From vouchers to attitude, to the absolute minimum budget invested in everything, in my opinion, this room is a textbook on how to make a room with minimal effort and spendings. The result meets expectations. The room is dirty, literally. And the fact that there are some puzzles that could actually be quite interesting makes me mad. An example of a non-functional layout, 95% of the puzzles are in the first room, the other two are just some strange appendage, to have something just in case. This is also the first room in which there is a toilet, a real one. I hope nobody uses it. As you play, you hear people upstairs doing their business and flushing, water and stuff running through the pipes.
Vasko brute-forced a padlock. When someone puts a padlock in the room, this is what we do – brute force. We finished in less than half an hour, the owner came with a camera (photos are taken on a staircase, for heaven’s sake) and made a big deal of how we knew the code for the padlock. He hinted that in his opinion it was impossible for us to beat the Mensa team (I suppose we were talking about M-Maina, I’m a huge fan), how we escaped so fast and maybe someone told us something upfront. No, unfortunately, no one told us anything and if someone were – we wouldn’t have this episode.
Eight Zones is a disappointment for the escape genre. Unfortunately, of the five worst rooms I’ve ever been to, three are in Plovdiv, and Eight Zones is up there as well.