X-dimensions: The Secret of the Black Pearl

Game experience: GOOD
Immersion4,5 stars    Puzzles   4,0 stars    Hosting   3,5 stars
Plus Minus
The atmospheric “pirate of the Caribbean” environment.
The variety of puzzles.
The communication by walkie-talkie.
The simple welcoming hall.

Book here

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The ‘Black Pearl’ room at X-dimensions is kind of a myth in the world of Paris escape games. First, it is often touted as one of the most difficult room in the capital city – if not the most difficult. Second, it has been described as a very beautiful one, winning the Escape game awards of the best decors in 2016. Consequently, it is often fully booked, and the only time we could find a slot was in the afternoon, a time at which many of my most escape-savvy friends are working. Therefore, my team was constituted mostly by family members and friends who have, except for my sister, little escape experience, and I did not have any real hope to actually exit from this room. As you shall see, I should have been more optimistic… But let’s start with your arrival here: ironically, the ‘X’ of X-dimensions can be found just next door from the ‘Y’ of Agentys, so don’t mix letters!

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The Black Pearl! You had been looking for this pirate ship for a while… Everyone thought it had sunk in the deep Caribbean sea, but here it is! You jump on board and start exploring the supply room, when suddenly the trap shuts! To escape this ship, you will have to find your way across the Caribbean sea, guided by the voice of the phantom captain (that is, your gamemaster).

X-Dimension - Black Pearl - Wheel.jpg

The decors are very immersive indeed, with a profusion of objects, from patina-covered chest and ship’s wheel to rhum bottles, shellfishes, bones and fish nets, as well as a variety of wood planks and fabrics to cover the walls and ceilings. Being blindfolded when entering in the room also helps the immersion. A couple of electric plugs remained visible when searching the room though, and the walkie-talkie that you use to communicate with the gamemaster does not fit well in this atmosphere; a hint system in which the sepulchral voice of the captain would resonate into the room out of nowhere would have been preferable.

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There is a nice variety of puzzles, a few padlocks-based, but a few others using more advanced technology. Your perception skills will be used quite a few times (not only your visual observation!), in a more original manner than in a classical item-searching process. One mechanism in particular was very original, testing your cautiousness and meticulousness. The only drawback is that some elements of the room were slightly aged at a place of two, which interfered a little bit with the puzzle resolution.

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The welcome was simple, but the debriefing warmer. We received two well-timed hints during our game from our gamemaster.

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We were a team of 6 players, which is a bit too many in some cramped spaces – so I would recommend going there at 4 or 5 people, depending on your level. We eventually escaped from the room with a bit more than 4 minutes left at the counter: although the room is not easy, it is less difficult than what I expected (look at the picture above: a team completed it in 33 minutes! and the record of the month was 45’47”). There are several reasons for this. The first one is that when the room originally opened, it was significantly more difficult, and the escape rate was around 2%! One year ago, they simplified a few puzzles, and the rate climbed up to 10% without hint, and 16-17% with less than 3 hints. And one week before we played it, they replaced the very first puzzle – which apparently involved arithmetic operations that were a bit disturbing – by another one that involves both logical thinking and observation skills. So even if you’re not an escape game pro, you should not be afraid to go there: it’s not an easy stroll, but it’s doable with a little bit of experience and team coordination, and you should have a fun time even if you fail it!

Game tested in April 2018

Other reviews (in French): Escape Game France, Meilleur Escape GamePolygamer, Escape Game Blog, Escape Game ParisLe Meilleur Escape Game, Par Ici les Sorties, Escape Gamer, Escape Blog.

(let me know if you reviewed this game but are not listed here)

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