A week after our first escape in the new Breakout’s branch at NU Sentral, we have another run and this time it’s: The War For Rembrandt. Basically the setting is in the colonial era and we’re in the middle of the war where lots of artifacts and previous treasures are being stolen. We come in to steal back one of the most precious artifact before someone finds and hangs us.
As always, the anticipation is high since it’s a Breakout room, so we expect to be at least get awed or surprised with new mechanics or engaged in deep storyline or get stuck in amazing puzzle or fun things to play with..
Unfortunately… nothing.. so it’s actually quite sad, and there’s quite a few places where we at Escman League are not quite fond of:
Having played for many games now, brute force through a puzzle should be a choice and not mandatory, all puzzles should have it’s exact answer and although a lot of times we gamers does not know why we solved it, but we should be granted the “ahhh… why didn’t i think of that” moment when we were told the answer. Hence it was quite a turn off when we’re told the answer is between 0-9, you just have to guess.
Multiple one-person physical obstacle
The room has not just one, but two physical puzzles that needs us to unlock a door/window. While we do enjoy physical obstacles in rooms because it adds some diverse fun, but if the obstacle can only be done by one person, the others’ only activity in that period is… stare. If it’s short and sweet while having the “almost… almost there” feeling, it’s generally enjoyable.. but the room’s design has made the obstacle unable to be seen by others hence only the doer having to solve it alone, plus having multiple of the same thing makes the whole staring time even more uneventful. We do suggest Breakout to tweak it so that while 1-2 gamer focuses on the physical obstacle, the others can work on puzzles that needs a longer time.
Unrefined puzzle design
There’s under clued puzzle and there’s bad puzzle, but an equally frustrating puzzle are the unrefined ones. There’s one in this room which leaves the uneventful game an even worse taste. What happened was the designers decided to alter the clue’s messages this way:
O -> 1 F -> 4 N -> 9
thinking that the alphabet was confusing, hence putting the number instead would help the players, but they left the
O in the same clue, hoping that gamers would ignore it…. which evidently makes it more confusing as we were figuring out what does the strikethrough alphabet means. Even more frustrating is that the same puzzle involves this: An old telephone.
It’s of course cool to see some vintage items that does ties to the theme, but unfortunately, since there’s only a picture of it, we’re left with the imagination of how it works (in which although we’re from the 80’s, my last memory of using such a device is when i’m running around with my running nose while screaming “You don’t friend me, I don’t friend you”). Due to this, we were left to our imagination to solve this, which IMHO, a bad puzzle design.
Then, should we play The War For Rembrandt?
Generally I do think I would enjoy this room with a few tweaks, fixing what I mention above while only have a maximum group of 3. The physical obstacle would be far less boring with that number.
However, despite being a Breakout room, I had to only give it a 2 out of 5.
Image taken from Breakout’s website.