Artimus: Freak Show

Game experience: VERY GOOD
Immersion5,0 stars    Puzzles   4,0 stars    Hosting   4,5 stars
Plus Minus
An ultra-immersive and very original atmosphere.
The quality of the pre-game experience.
One puzzle could be improved.

Book here

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Artimus is this quite recent venue in Paris where we had the chance to play the excellent Ultimate Madrigal. From outside, Artimus might look like an old-fashioned doctor cabinet:

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Inside, you might think you have entered a cryptozoologist dream:

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But you will soon discover that it is just a cover for a time travel company that will send you across space-time to investigate unsolved mysteries.

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This time, you will be sent to 1913: “Many people have been disappearing along the way of the Tyfrosi circus. His new director, Aleister Blache, the director of the very popular Freak Show, hide a fantastic creature explaining this phenomenon… You are sent there as he is away, to investigate the case and bring back the key of the mystery.”

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Artimus is definitely one of the kings of immersion in Paris: you will evolve here in an early-century atmosphere with steampunk touches, that fits perfectly with the general atmosphere of professor Artimus cabinet. Going through the different rooms – from outside the circus caravan to its deepest innards – you will evolve through a beautiful variety of settings and sounds, including a very beautiful element in the latter part of the game that should delight all fans of Jules Verne. There is also a real scenario, and you will have to analyze the hints across the game to solve the mystery.

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The number of puzzles was limited but they involved a nice variety of mechanisms, with very few padlocks. Only one puzzle at the end of the second room let us a bit skeptical and could in my opinion be improved.

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Like I said in my other review, the welcome here was wonderful, and Artimus has simply the best pre-game experience I’ve ever had in an escape game – not only in Paris, but anywhere in the world. The gamemastering was attentive, though maybe we received a little bit too many hints on a couple of occasions (we exited with 15 minutes left, so we would have had time to search a bit more thoroughly before receiving help). There was a small mistake in the room reset too, but it did not have any significant influence on the game. Overall, this was a very good hosting work.

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Between ‘Ultimate Madrigal’ and ‘Freak show’, one can say that Artimus definitely worked on the originality of its scenarios and atmospheres, by contrast to the ultra-classical mad scientist lairs, prison evasions or murder mysteries. So which of the two should you play? Without hesitation, I would say: both. If you have to chose one, though, you might decide depending on the atmosphere: early 20th century with steampunk touches, or luxurious Renaissance villa? I also have a slight preference for the puzzles in ‘Ultimate Madrigal’. Finally, the rooms are smaller in ‘Freak show’, and the puzzle structure is largely sequential, so I would recommend to be at most 4 players to play this one – whereas ‘Ultimate Madrigal’ can easily accommodate 5 players. Don’t lose a minute, your missions across the gates of time can’t wait for you! (or would that be a temporal paradox?)

Game tested in March 2018

Other reviews (in French): Escape game Paris, Le Meilleur Escape Game, Allo Escape, les Potes d’échappement, Escape blogQuotidienne de Charlie, Fille de Paname.

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