|Game experience: VERY GOOD|
|The scenarized puzzle structure.
A convincing medieval atmosphere.
The multiple ways to get hints.
|The walkie-talkie and the tablet do not fit in this environment.|
The Seattle venue of Quest Factor is conveniently located near university of Washington (whose campus is really worth a visit if you’re around Seattle – don’t miss their Harry Potter-style hall!) We played The Castle there, a game that follows the adventure of three Arthurian knights in their quest.
As in all Quest Factor’s rooms, the decors are really well-made. To foster the immersion, there is also a real scenario that you will “symbolically” follow (I cannot be more specific, as I don’t won’t to spoil this nice idea). On the minus side, the hints when you are stuck are given by both a tablet and the game master over walkie-talkie, neither of which does really fit in this environment.
There is a nice variety of puzzles, of very good quality overall, involving both fun and satisfying manipulations, as well as more cerebral puzzles. One involves a padlock of a kind I had never seen. Another is centered around a very smart puzzle box. The item searching was limited, but one item at least was challenging to find. I especially liked the fact that you had to decipher the scenario to guide you through the puzzles (again, I cannot be more specific).
The gameplay is made fluid thanks to the variety of ways in which you can get clues: you can use the tablet to get a first hint for each puzzle, and you can then contact the gamemaster if you’re still stuck. The only drawback of this system is that you can read from the very start on the tablet the list of all puzzles, which slightly lessens the surprise of discovering them. At some point, we made a move that could have led us to a fatal dead end, but fortunately the gamemaster saved us!
We escaped the room with about 10 minutes left on the counter, having used two hints from the tablet, and two from the gamemaster. As a team of two experienced players, it was challenging, but doable (at least with a few hints!); four beginners would also be a good team size.
The Castle was a very good experience, with an innovative structure, and I would recommend it to all players. From the three rooms we played (the two others being National Treasure and Mad Scientist), I can say that Quest Factor games are consistently high quality – we also could have a peek at their Da Vinci room at the same location, set in a Renaissance environment, which looked really nice. I wish I could have stayed longer in Seattle to try their other games!
And if you want to try any Quest Factor games, here is a 10% discount coupon generously granted by Quest Factor to readers of Escape the World: ESCAPE10OFF.
Game tested in August 2018 (photos: Quest Factor)
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