Followers of Escman League would have known about our recent escapades in Singapore. It all started when I received an email from Simon, the mastermind behind Nomis Piy, introducing us to his upcoming escape game event. Since we’ve been having Sg at the back of our mind, so we thought Why not? Let’s just head down for a few games! Also, this marks the first escape together with the full team since Ming left for NZ a year ago. It feels good to have the full team of Escman League back together again. What’s more, we also get to escape with members from Team Ca.Speeds, and met with avid escape gamers from S-capegoats, Sg. So, we did have a great trip this time.
Whois Nomis Piy
We learnt that Nomis Piy is an independent group escape game specialists focusing on organizing escape game events. Their previous event seems impressive, as reviewed by S-capegoats and Escaped.Sg. So, we made our way to the second event organized by Nomis Piy: The Abandoned Chapel.
The event is held in a meeting room in an unassuming industrial building. Some of our team members were a little disappointed with the setup of the venue, as it didn’t really reflect the theme of the game; we didn’t felt like we are in an abandoned chapel. No real stained glass windows, pews or large candle stands. Understandably, this is coming from certain expectations after playing mostly in fixed physical rooms which allows for more decorative elements to reflect the theme. Since events like this are rare here, Malaysian players may have not been acustomed to escape games of this sort.
Pre-game briefing informed us of a world renowned detective in his twilight years, who without fail returns to an abandoned chapel every year for the past 50 years during Christmas eve in search of a hidden secret. Our goal would be to uncover this secret, before the detective’s arch enemy, Nomis Piy, blow up the chapel in 70 minutes.
The highlight of the game would be the multi-level, intricate puzzle design, similar to a puzzle hunt event. Granted, these events are not common in Malaysia. There were 7-8 puzzles at the base level, in which all separate solutions will be used as clues to solve a bigger puzzle at the subsequent level, properly known as the meta-puzzle. Several meta-puzzles can be then solved to provide hints for yet more puzzles at the next level (“meta-meta-puzzles”, ok I am learning all these terms from the web, correct me if I’m wrong). So, we ended up solving a series of puzzles at multiple levels, like a pyramid of puzzles leading a one final puzzle. We have encountered similar format in our previous adventure with REG. Initially, we assumed we were able to skip some of the base-level puzzles once we have enough guesstimates of the solutions to tackle the meta-puzzle. However, Nomis Piy was clever in implementing not only the solutions, but all elements of the base-level puzzles (including worded clues, images, the logic rules etcetc) as crucial tools to solve the puzzles at the following levels. We quickly came to a dead end, realizing that puzzle skipping would not be an option here. Everything has to be solved in order to progress. These were all pencil-paper puzzles, without much interactions with props or gadgets, save that single lock and the final safe. Fortunately, the puzzles came in a variety of flavours and levels of complexity. Thus, each of us get to pick something that suits our interest and capacity. After the initial hiccup, we managed to tackle all of puzzle, and more importantly having fun doing it.
Not so cool
While we really had a good time solving really neat puzzles, we’re sad to find that very little story presence was felt in-game. We do get theme-related puzzles (ie with chapel-ish words or imageries like moon, sun, stars, candles, swords, cryptic symbols…), but that’s about it. The relevance of the puzzles to the plot was only disclosed in a slideshow during debrief. Although the puzzles did integrate well with the supposed plot, a sad little love story, the revelation came a little too late to spark any excitement, or empathy. It will be way cooler if there is a mechanism for the plot to unfold as puzzles were solved, releasing bits of of the story after solving each puzzle. We were not entirely sure of the significance of the arch enemy, Nomis Piy, amid the whole scheme of things. We’ve totally forgotten about him, not until Simon brought it up again during our discussions.
Nevertheless, we still had a great time, much due to the clever puzzles. And the puzzles alone were already worth returning for. We would definitely recommend any future events from Nomis Piy, especially to fans of pencil-paper puzzles. I would even recommend it as both an entertaining and mind challenging activity for teens and kids, as the puzzles seemed appropriate for all ages, provided with some guidance from adults. The event feels more “educational” than most physical escape rooms, in which the priority seems to be about only having fun. Promoting right brain thinking?
Follow Nomis Piy at Facebook to catch their upcoming events. That’s where we get the featured image from.