This is part of a series of articles on games in Berlin – click here for the introduction and links to all the other articles.
Hidden down a back street in a slightly industrial-looking area of Berlin, I was concerned that I’d led our band of escapists to entirely the wrong place. Fortunately, just as I was wavering, we spotted the Labyrintoom logo and were soon holed up in their briefing room. As with our previous venue, Smart Room, we’d opted to play just one game here: The Cube.
I’d played White Rooms in Budapest and Vienna and loved the simple pleasure of playing a game where the theme has pretty much been thrown out of the window in favour of creating a sterile room where it’s all about slowly unlocking the secrets of the space until you find how to escape. The pictures I’d seen online suggested that this was very much a similar idea, and I was particularly impressed when they handed us gloves to wear before we entered the room so that we wouldn’t leave hand prints!
The Cube (3.5 stars)
Pretty, white, bright! Those gloves had definitely paid dividends, because this room looked a lot less shabby than other white rooms I’ve seen. It’s a really interesting comparison with the Budapest game: this was a beautifully maintained large space with solid white walls and no suggestion of how we might escape. First impressions were really good, and I was looking forward to unlocking the secrets of what lay ahead.
It was in the details where this room let us down. Each individual flaw wasn’t terrible, but we experienced annoyances throughout the game that made us progressively more frustrated. One puzzle required incredibly precise positioning, and another gave no user feedback, which resulted in us spending a lot of mental energy coming up with alternative ideas when we’d already solved the base puzzle. In both cases, I feel the GM should have intervened. By all means leave us a minute or two, but the fun is in solving the riddle and not in the precise implementation. Even better, fix the user feedback/sensitivities so that players realise when they’ve done the right thing. Aside from that, we saw ambiguity, some worn down props near the end, overuse of one particular puzzle style and a horribly unnecessary red herring.
The finale probably sums up nicely how I feel about this room. In principle, it’s a fun way to end the game: you have a prop but no hint as to how to use it. That sounds good but, if you don’t immediately know what to do, there’s a very good chance you’ll spend a huge amount of time in a dull search until the GM intervenes. Fortunately, we’d already noticed the key piece of info but, even then, once we’d performed the necessary action, we were presented with a final, ambiguous solution where we just needed to brute-force our way through the possible combinations. A great way to dissipate the adrenaline rush of finishing a room…
That’s all on this venue – want to read more about Berlin games? Click here to head back to the main Berlin page.