|Game experience: ENTERTAINING|
|The variety of puzzles
The educative approach regarding the history of Hong-Kong
|The anachronistic elements
The communication through an intercom
The gamemaster entering the room
Some misleading mechanisms
It is said that the ancestors of the “King of Kowloon” Tsang Tsou Choi received from the hands of the emperor Qing the property deeds of the Kowloon Walled City, in nowadays Hong-Kong. These property deeds were hidden during the Second World War within the Tsang house, but unfortunately, in 1950 a fire broke out and the deeds got lost forever.
One day, as you were strolling among the remains of the Walled City, the weather suddenly changed. A lightning bolt struck you and brought you back to the hour before the fire of the Walled City. You must now find the property deeds before the fire burns down the whole building and escape. Do you have what it takes to rewrite history and become the King of Kowloon? (adapted from LOST)
In 2013, LOST started offering escape rooms in Hong Kong, and expanded since to 8 countries. Finding myself in Taiwan, I was eager to test some of the ten rooms LOST set up between two locations within the capital, Taipei. My first excursion led me to Zhongxiao and the room of the Walled City.
The experience began with a presentation of the scenario on a piece of paper—a verbal or video introduction could have provided a more immersive start. The room itself was, at first sight, well designed to match the Hong-Kong of the mid-XXth Century, although two things came to dissipate this feeling of immersion: the presence of anachronistic elements such as digital number screens or big round SF-like buttons, and the communication with the gamemaster through an intercom.
The puzzles themselves were diverse and demanded more than just deciphering locks codes, something always appreciable. The room also required a fair amount of searching, adding some more variety to the dynamic. A few mechanisms, however, misled us unjustly for a time, such as a ringing bell making us believe that the action we had executed was right where in fact it wasn’t. Finally, the puzzles all had some educative aspect regarding the history of Hong-Kong, a pleasant addition to the concept of escape room.
Regarding the hosting, the welcome and debriefs were both short and terse, and I felt a bit of nervousness from the gamemasters, possibly because they are not too used to hosting foreigners—although the gamemasters and the game itself were both perfectly bilingual. The first two times we asked for clues through the intercom, the gamemaster dashed into the room, breaking the ambiance of the room; a discussion through the intercom or any other medium might have been better.
We didn’t manage to escape the room in time, being stuck on the last puzzle, but the gamemaster let us scratch our brains some more until we figured it out. In spite of its shortcomings, the Walled City was overall entertaining, especially regarding the variety of puzzles. Stay tuned to read other reviews from the LOST rooms!
Game tested in December 2018 (photos: LOST, Quillau via Pixabay)
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No other English review found (let us know if you reviewed this game, so that we can list you here!)