EscaPark Malaga: The Parallel Dimension

EscaPark logo

Outside the room

A couple of days after our first holiday game we headed back over to Málaga with our children to play at EscaPark. I’d originally intended to play their pirate game but, when we called them, they recommended the Parallel Dimension instead because it had more in the way of searching, which was good for children. The game is on the sixth floor of the building, so it’s worth taking the lift unless you want to exercise your body before your mind!

We were greeted by the host, who asked about our experience and  checked what difficulty level we wanted in the game. We opted for the easy end again – taking young children into a game is challenge enough!

Background

It’s a strange story involving being stuck in a parallel dimension and having to piece together information about a group of criminals you’re chasing in your parallel selves’ office. In reality it’s just another detective story but with a twist on why you’re having to escape and why there’s a one-hour deadline.

Inside the room

The first impression on walking through the door was of a well decorated office. I’m usually disappointed by that kind of room, but this was so nicely decorated and spacious, with plenty of interesting things to investigate, that I was immediately intrigued. Right from the outset it was clear that a lot of effort had been put into the room, and that continued throughout the game with plenty of homemade puzzles that showed a good level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.

As well as being beautiful, the puzzles were plentiful. Whatever your preference, I think you’ll find ones that interest you here. What really impressed me was that, when I recognised specific types of puzzles, the physical implementation of them was better here than elsewhere. There was also one type of puzzle that I’ve only heard tell of on enthusiast forums and was pleased to experience. In spite of my scepticism, it turned out to work well. As per usual, the standout puzzles for me were the physical ones, which I really enjoyed completing.

In a room as busy as this one, the presence of a lot of padlocks would usually be a big concern, but they’d given very straightforward mechanisms for connecting puzzle solutions and keys to specific padlocks, so there’s no need to go round the room trying out every lock in sight.

As promised, there was plenty of searching in the room, and some of it was reasonably difficult or, to put it another way, I was really bad at it; there were at least three different places I searched where I failed to find what was hidden. Nothing is hidden particularly unfairly but you will need to be thorough in this room. One aspect of the search that slightly confused me – there was a side quest to complete along the way that wasn’t explained in advance, didn’t seem to fit in the game and didn’t really enhance the experience. It’s possible that these were directly relevant in the difficult variant but I don’t believe that’s the case.

The centrepiece of the game was a very original handmade puzzle and, even better, one that worked really well for younger children. It was a good combination of search followed by a puzzle that even our five-year-old could complete. Unfortunately, there was a strong aspect of colour recognition in it that totally threw us, resulting in us having to brute-force a combination. I’m not a big fan of colour problems, but in this case the colour-matching seemed totally flawed for one item. That jarred slightly in a room where everything else had worked so smoothly but it didn’t take away massively from the game.

Result

We escaped with a few minutes remaining. Again, we’d been trying to let the children get involved, although this time we’d had to lead a bit more. Even on the easy setting, I think this is a tricky game where you should expect to need clues. After the usual photo-taking at the end of the game, we were presented with a framed version, much as you might get in a theme park after a ride, which I thought was a nice touch.

Verdict –

This is a game that I’d happily recommend, especially to families. It’s a delightfully crafted room and I really enjoyed playing the puzzles because of that. If you want plenty of things to do in what is, truthfully, a less visually exciting room than others, then I think you’ll have a good time. We didn’t play on the difficult level and I didn’t ask what it would involve but, from what I’ve seen, I have a feeling they’ll be decent puzzles that add to the game.

Detailed Room Ratings

Venue
Host
Wow! factor
Immersiveness
Difficulty

1 Comment


  1. // Reply

    Hi mate, as a fellow enthusiast I have really been enjoying your reviews, which I only discovered recently. For the many games you’ve reviewed that I’ve played, I’ve found myself agreeing with 95% of your thoughts. Just been in Valencia this weekend and played a much better than expected room at Mind Factory. An Egyptian tomb game with several rooms, loads of great theming and tech, everything worked well, and the puzzles were a very good level of difficulty – everything was work-out-able, but required lateral thinking. Thoroughly recommended if you’re in the area. Can’t wait for Time Run’s new offering in November 😀

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