|Game experience: GOOD
|The backstory of Alfred Zweig.
Well-suited for beginners.
|Might be a bit short for experienced players who have eyes (unlike us).|
‘Tempête sous un crâne’ is an escape game venue that opened its doors in mars 2016, the 21st in Paris. Despite their French-only website, their adventures are playable in English. They feature three rooms: ‘Liberty’s Castaway’ (‘Les Naufragés du Liberté’), ‘Octave the vampire’, and their most recent room, ‘Enquête de haut-vol’. On December 2017, I had already played the two latter (which I will review some day), so Liberty was the last one that I had to play. There is certainly a very literary inspiration in this venue – already reflected in its name, the title of a chapter in “Les Misérables” from Victor Hugo. “Enquête de haut vol” revolves around Antoine de St-Exupery (author of “The little prince”), and “Liberty’s castaway” will make you follow the adventures of Alfred Zweig, brother of Stefan, the famous Austrian writer.
On December 12th, 1951, you are a passenger of the Liberty, a transatlantic liner. Around half past midnight, your ship is accidentally hit by an English ship on his right side. Alarms are ringing as the ship is slowly sinking – you have now one hour to escape from your cabin, before the ship is under water. But the cabin happens to be Alfred Zweig’s, so there might be some secrets to discover here before you can unlock the door…
Located in a former parking, the welcome hall of the venue is a long corridor bordered by a fresco featuring the different topics of the various rooms. The welcome is pleasant, with a nice choice of selection of Monin syrup drinks.
The decors of the room are simple but pleasant, featuring a cabin of a mid-20th century ship. Strengthening the immersion, there is a backstory that you will progressively discover through a string of letters between the two brothers Zweig. The designers were careful not to spoil the immersion: you will receive hints through an antique phone in the room, and the time will be announced by a speaker, with the commandant telling the passenger the remaining time before the ship will sink.
There were really a lot of elements to find everywhere – some in not-so-easy places to find. The puzzles were relatively classical, though they involved a couple of nicely designed artisanal devices.
The gamemaster (one of the owner) was careful not to help us too much even when we were stuck, given that we were proceeding quickly the rest of the time – he handled the progression very well; he also always stayed convincingly in his role of steward, which contributed to the immersion. He was friendly and talkative afterwards about how he made the room, telling us a bunch of interesting details.
We eventually completed the room in 50 minutes although we were very bad in searching and missed some elements that were actually not really hidden! So this is an easy room that will be well suited for beginners – or for confirmed players like us who want to improve their searching abilities. Overall, this was a relatively classical escape game, but with refreshing touches in the scenario and the puzzles: a game recommended to all fans of Stefan Zweig, chess boards or (you’ll see) binomial distribution.
Game played in December 2017