Outside the room
With many owners and enthusiasts expressing their frustration at what’s seen as a game that may turn people away from escape rooms, Cyantist hasn’t got the best reputation in the industry. I was strangely drawn to the experience, though, perhaps like a moth to a flame – could it really be as bad as people made out?
First impressions weren’t too bad. We found the place easily enough and, while there’s not really a waiting area, the member of staff on duty was very friendly and definitely gave the impression that he was keen on us enjoying ourselves. After a brief welcome, we went into the room for our introduction. That was the first sign I got that things might not be great – the instructions were quite convoluted, and I got the feeling that there was real scope for getting the room into an unsolvable state. Time would tell…
A room with more logical and mechanical puzzles, works with water and air pressure. More physics more phun! Accuracy and patience is required to solve this room.
Inside the room
Those first moments in the room really weren’t great. The space we were operating in was tiny, with us constantly having to squeeze past each other to get to additional props and no real opportunity for two people to access a single puzzle. The idea that they market this room as taking up to six people is just shocking. Yes, you could fit six people in the space, but you’d spend more time getting in and out of each other’s ways than solving puzzles.
To make matters worse, it was incredibly dingy for no apparent reason. I don’t think it was “darkness as difficulty” and, given how little story there was in the game, I don’t think it was to enhance the atmosphere. The story – or what little of it there was – related to retrieving yarbles which, if you’re up on your A Clockwork Orange language, may leave you a little confused. In fact, I suspect that fans of the said book/film are likely to be horribly confused by the whole game, because I didn’t really see any references to it aside from the title and goal.
What was more impressive is that there’s a genuine attempt to make a science-themed game room. Not a room that has science-y decoration but one which actually relies on science in order to solve puzzles. It’s a shame that they hadn’t decided to make the story more science-y to go alongside that, because it would have felt far more coherent.
Sadly, the science-based puzzles were also the ones that required us to follow specific rules. Worse still, we’d been told the *wrong* rules. We’d actually got our GM to repeat his instructions at the beginning of the game, and all four of us had understood the same thing so, at best, he’d communicated them badly and, at worst, he’d got them entirely wrong… Perhaps things were made worse by the lighting affecting the colour of props, which was relevant to the instructions. Regardless, having destructible puzzles in a room is just a bad idea in my opinion, especially in this case, where the puzzle in question was so central to the whole game.
Apparently, we were well ahead of time, so they threw in a few extra paper puzzles for us to solve. That was kind of strange because it didn’t seem to fit with the game, but it did at least feel like they were making an attempt to give players their money’s worth, which is laudable.
Soon enough we’d solved the final puzzle, collected the yarble and failed miserably to solve the paper puzzles they’d thrown in, so it was time to be on our way.
I don’t really know how long we took. Probably 30-40 minutes all included, but we just didn’t care by that point.
I’d heard poor things about Cyantist, and they were, by and large, true. I actually found the member of staff quite friendly, so the room wasn’t as painful as it might have been, but the core game was confusing, small and badly lit, which made it a disappointing experience. That’s a shame, because the central premise of creating a room with science and physical puzzles in it is exactly the sort of thing that would have appealed to me. Sadly, this game didn’t.