I’m so very angry.
To begin with, Siberia’s rooms appeared from nowhere. I hadn’t heard anything about them. I didn’t know what to expect. After a few conversations with fellow enthusiasts, I heard bad reviews, and watching their Facebook page, I found that most teams failed to get out in an hour or do so with a lot of hints. For me, the latter is a signal of extremely poor design and a really cool experience. In a nutshell, I booked our game expecting the #bottom.
The location of the rooms is perfect. We get in a lovely, stylish and clean lobby. It is obvious money was no object creating it. There is a TV, and there is water, it’s cosy. We are greeted by a young pretty lady who will be our game master. After filling the mandatory declarations, we entered to play in 1408.
The room will drive you crazy. The theme is scary. We are entering room 1408 at the Dolphin Hotel (obviously there is a movie of the same name from which this room was inspired, but I have not heard anything about it). We are hunters of the paranormal, but we are obviously also liars because we don’t believe in the afterlife, which may be changed after our visit is room 1408. The room is not linear, which we have been warned about upon entering. We end up at what appears on a first glance, a typical hotel room until all sorts of weird things start happening.
We get to why I started this review with the words “I’m so very angry”. The puzzles are there, the money is invested, the desire to make an interesting room is obvious. The moments where we knew what to do were interesting and cool, but they were immediately killed by the lack of complete logic for how we should understand that the puzzle works that way. No way to establish a connection between object A to location B, and even when we knew the object and the location, it took us 10 minutes to align microchips in order for the puzzle to work. The first item we found was a UV light. The familiar episode “lit up every damn thing in the room” followed, of course, by the time we got to what needed to be seen, the flashlight was almost out of battery, and we had to guess half of the almost unreadable symbols. Who needs that?
In short, single puzzles have laid the foundation for a good room, but tying them together is virtually impossible, making the experience absolutely frustrating. I understand that the room is taken from a Russian franchise, but you need to adapt the game to another market, check your competition a bit, explore the market. I have always said firmly that tests with 5 teams will take a bit of time and you will lose some money, but this will save you from reviews like this one and a lot of grumpy customers. And this review could have been completely different, that this is a room that any fan of the genre must visit in his spare time.
We shared all the things with the game master and even gave some real practical hints on how to modify things easily and make them more logical. I don’t know if anyone’s going to listen to our advice, but until this room is edited, a little bit and with almost no money involved (it’s possible, honestly) I don’t think anyone has to spend time and money here.
To be completely honest and since this is a blog about our games and results, we couldn’t escape (even after 4 hints). The owners decided that in 60 minutes the room restarts automatically, the final puzzles were only explained to us by the game master, we didn’t really solve them. If this is normal behaviour for other markets, it is a common practice in Bulgaria to allow the team 5 extra minutes to play, especially if the final is close. Put a timer tolerance, this should help.