|Game experience: VERY GOOD
|The hints given by the mobile phone.
A non-sequential structure.
The customizable difficulty levels.
|A very classical theme.|
Camouflaged as a clock company, the ‘Escape Agency’ is actually a secret service operation that sends agents to solve difficult missions.
Your mission today is particularly tricky: a mad scientist has created a new product that could decimate a whole continent! The story does not say which continent it is, but for sure, we had to stop him: could you imagine all escape games of a continent disappearing?! Your mission will therefore be to infiltrate the apartment of Dr. Kang, find his deadly product, and bring it back to the agency.
In a realistic mode, you start your adventure in front of the apartment, rather than directly inside, which is a nice change. There is nothing especially spectacular in the apartment of Dr. Kang, as it is, well, an apartment, but the immersion is credible. Moreover, the help of the gamemaster is well integrated in the scenario, as it is given by a mobile phone. Finally, the sound immersion will accompany you in a stressful way as your time is running out.
This is mostly a first generation room, with quite a few keys, locks and codes – although a couple of puzzles involve some electronics. That being said, it is as good as a first generation room can be, with a couple of original mechanisms – I especially liked the final one before exiting the room, which was smart and elegant. Note that the searching process is far from obvious, and you will probably need someone in your team with very good observation skills (fortunately, we had such a person!).
The gamemaster was funny and sympathetic, and he stayed well in his role from the very start. He told us he had animated 800 games, and this definitely showed! His help through the phone was well timed too.
Overall, ‘The apartment of Dr. Kang’ is a somewhat classical escape game, but very well made and elegantly balanced, that will test both your observation skills and your brain equally. A great feature is that the difficulty is adaptable: beginner, difficult, or megalomaniac. We chose ‘difficult’ and exited with 12 minutes left; we might have chosen ‘megalomaniac’ but I’m far from sure that we would have made it: the gamemaster showed us the difference after we finished our game, and at least one puzzle is really, really harder! I would not recommend the ‘megalomaniac’ level to anyone who has played less than 15-20 escape games (the gamemaster told us that beginner, overconfident players often chose this level). Finally, the game is largely non-sequential, so a team of five players is adequate here. And if you have already played this one, stay tuned, as the ‘Escape agency’ should soon open a USSR-themed room!
Game tested in April 2018
An interview (in French) of the room designer on Escape game Paris