This is part of a series of articles on games in Paris – a link will be added here when the summary article is published at the end.
Unlike most of the venues we visited in Paris, La Pièce wasn’t a company that I’d heard a lot about. It rarely, if ever, gets a mention on the enthusiast groups, but a couple of people had pointed me in its direction as a fun space game. Having already played The Game’s Space Mission before heading over there, I was more than a little worried that it would pale in comparison. Nothing helps you to spot flaws in a game quite like playing another similarly-themed escape room beforehand.
Fortunately, the experience is very different. Where The Game had gone for a super high-tech, serious space mission, this felt like a much grittier experience with humour interwoven in it. I loved the set we were thrown into, and I wasn’t disappointed as the game advanced and we got to explore more of the world they’d created. At times, everything looked incredibly polished, while at other points it felt more home-made, but the quality was clear throughout. More than anything, I appreciated the contrast between different parts of the game. In truth, this felt like a set of completely different, but related, themes joined together to maximise the effect.
There’s an engaging background story to the experience, with small touches within the game helping to support that, whether it was the decoration, the interaction with tech or the way you physically interacted with props. One great moment of theatre was a particular highlight both in the grand scale of the effect and in the details that you experienced when you looked closely. Yes, this adventure has been very well thought out.
That wasn’t the only place where they’d put in thought, though: there were some very solid puzzles to go alongside it. I was particularly impressed by an extended multi-stage challenge that seemed to last us for most of the game. While there were definitely moments when we were confused by it, the overall effect was extremely satisfying as we stepped our way through the puzzle and received enough feedback after each stage to feel that we were on the right track.
Even better, the puzzles and the clue system both felt natural inside the game world. It really felt like we were trying to fix up the spaceship we were on, and the mixture of physical and digital interactions reinforced that feeling. At times, some of the digital interaction bordered on the tedious, but the root cause of that was more related to us being confused by a puzzle than by the interaction itself.
We struggled a bit with the endgame due to a combination of difficult light conditions and not being a hundred percent clear on what we were meant to do. Fortunately, the finale brought with it a fitting conclusion to the story which gave us time to reflect on the highlights of what had come before and not dwell on that brief stumble near the end.
Odyssey is a gritty, humorous, enjoyable space game that I’d thoroughly recommend to visitors to Paris. It may not have the most polished decoration, but it delivers consistently good puzzles, story and set – a rare combination indeed.
We played as a team of three, which felt a little tight to reach the finale in time. I think most teams will be fine, but I don’t think a four-player team would be a problem.
That’s all on La Pièce – want to read more about other local games? A link will be added here when the summary article is published at the end.