Prague Escape Review: Questerland

This is part of a series of articles on games in Prague – click here for the introduction and links to all the other articles.

Alongside the Chamber, Questerland was one of the venues with a very strong reputation when I read about the Prague scene. It’s located a little outside the centre but, with three positively-reviewed games on site, it was firmly on our list. They’re in the middle of building game #4 (Stargate meets Fifth Element?) so, if you’re thinking of visiting around the summer of 2017, it’s worth finding out exactly when that will be finished in case it influences your timing.

All three games are very linear, so I’d recommend playing as pairs if that’s possible, especially if you’ve got any experience with escape rooms.

Zombie (4.5- stars)

Oh wow. This was just the game we needed to start the day. It was a totally immersive environment: we were trapped in a futuristic bunker with a zombie apocalypse outside. You’re split at the start and have to solve some puzzles through simple communication. Nothing too complex – just enough to make it fun. We were very quickly reunited, though, and on to the main part of the game. Throughout the game, there was a fun bias towards physical puzzles but not ones that required any real physical skill – just logic.

The futuristic bunker was stunning to behold – indeed, my biggest criticism was that it was too big. It felt like there was room for so many more puzzles, and swathes of it weren’t used for anything other than their appearance. Having said that, the sense of space would be welcome for a larger team and it felt “right” for an underground laboratory.

Throughout the game, the puzzles fitted in with the story and there was almost always a good reason for why we were doing what we were doing. It’s entirely linear and you’re clearly directed at each stage, so the biggest issue with this game is that I can imagine enthusiasts completing it in twenty minutes if things just click. We escaped in 30 minutes without a clue – and we could have been much faster if we had realised where we were meant to start and hadn’t confused ourselves near the end by working on one of the final puzzles too early. In case it’s a worry, there aren’t any jump scares in the game so, as long as you don’t mind the zombie imagery, you should be fine.

Harry Potter (4+ stars)

Ah, the joys of escaping in a country where copyright isn’t as strictly enforced… This was another beautifully themed room where part of the game involved casting magic spells. I’ve seen better versions of spell-casting in rooms, but it was still a nice touch (less so for me as my wand was broken…).

Again, there’s a clear mission to complete and you’re well directed along the way. I found the puzzles slightly weaker than in the Zombie game – one was set up in a way that made you feel you’d made a mistake and another was genuinely misleading. Those were minor flaws, though and, on the whole, the game delivered well.

It’s worth mentioning that the final puzzle in the game contained some of the trickiest maths I’ve ever had to do in an escape game – if that’s not your cup of tea, then be warned! In terms of difficulty, again, it was pretty easy (maths aside) – we were out in 38 minutes with a clue for one of the misleading puzzles. Overall, though, a beautiful room with reasonable puzzles and fun mechanics.

Questerland: Bank Heist (4+ stars)

I’d heard impressive things about Bank Heist and, on entering the room, everything looked great – a serious vault door and then rows of safety deposit boxes. The game felt a little trickier than the other two and was packed with puzzles to solve on your way to pulling off the heist.

Most of those puzzles were reasonable, perhaps occasionally a slight stretch, but still very soluble. There was one puzzle, however, that I really disliked – it was a nice idea in principle, but the mechanism for it was temperamental and there were two or three possible interpretations on how to solve it. We chose the wrong one and ended up with gobbledygook, so we assumed we’d totally misunderstood what we were meant to be doing. We eventually ended up taking three clues on that puzzle because we’d lost faith in the game (in truth, after the initial clue, we should have been home and dry!).

I’m not sure whether the rating above is fair – that annoying puzzle really put me off, and its position during the game had a disproportional effect on enjoyment. The rest of the game was generally quite fun. When it comes down to it, though, I think I felt that it was a little too linear and repetitive. Talking to them afterwards, after they complete room #4 they’re going to revamp this game with an aim to target it more at enthusiasts with a central goal that everyone completes and side quests to try to retrieve as much loot as possible.

That’s all on Questerland – want to read more about Prague games? Click here to head back to the main Prague page.

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