Warsaw Escape Review: Amazeing Escape

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

Our final stop on the whirlwind that was our Warsaw escape tour was on the way out to Modlin airport. Amazeing Escapes came up a few times which, given it was a fair distance out, suggested that it must be doing something right. It was another of those destinations hidden in the middle of an industrial area that really didn’t fill you with confidence. The fact that they were in the middle of renovations – and therefore didn’t really have a proper waiting area for one of the teams – didn’t help.

I guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because, once inside the rooms, we realised that there was a reason they’d been recommended. They knew how to carry the theme and make engaging puzzles, and in both games they carried the immersion through right to the very end. Each game was interesting in its own right. If you like darker themes, then Head Hunter is going to be the choice for you while, if you like something a little more lighthearted, Island is a fun adventure although a bit repetitive in some of its mechanisms. The latter probably isn’t worth travelling out there for, but it’s definitely a decent option if Head Hunter makes you want to visit and, if you’re heading home via Modlin airport, you can squint and convince yourself that they’re pretty much on the way!

Head Hunter (4 stars)

Serial killer rooms are never going to be comfortable experiences, especially when you’re handcuffed at the start of the experience. This one goes to extra efforts to increase that level of discomfort and, while it was never unpleasant, the start of the game certainly helps to increase the immersion. They may have made things uncomfortable from the immersion point of view, but they were incredibly careful to make it safe for the players. In particular, the roof is a little low at times and, as is my wont, I bumped my head several times. Fortunately, they’d seen fit to coat every possible head-bumping surface with padding in an unobtrusive way. In an industry where that’s usually achieved by yellow and black warning tape, it was great to see something that both worked better and didn’t break the immersion.

That immersion continued throughout the game with a well thought-through set that, while not at all expansive, had a beautifully enclosed feel that kept the pressure up.  It wasn’t just the décor and discomfort that brought home the story, though: there was additional information that you received along the way which helped make the whole experience more real.

Puzzles were always on theme and, while they did sometimes venture into escape room logic, they never felt forced. We enjoyed the variety on offer, and there was a reasonable level of difficulty that led to plenty of discussion amongst the team. The only real flaws in the puzzles were in two puzzles, one where you felt like you didn’t have enough information to solve it when you actually did have it, and another which felt like we might be able to solve it when we actually couldn’t yet. The latter held us up for a long time and caused some frustration, as we tried to solve entirely the wrong thing. Are those really flaws, though? I’m not sure. For less experienced players, I suspect you’d get a clue reasonably quickly, so we only suffered because we’d gone through the rest of the game quickly.

The game was good, but the finale was definitely the highlight for me. It was clever, it was on theme and it provided closure to the experience in a way which few escape rooms do. It’s also likely to be pressured – especially since there’s no clock in the room. We escaped in 58 minutes, with a single clue, which we were shocked to find was the record. At least until we were reminded that it was actually meant to be a 75-minute experience…

Island (4 stars)

There’s nothing like a beach holiday, and this trip to Warsaw was nothing like one, so finishing the trip washed up on a desert island seemed like a fine conclusion. The set design here was one of the highlights of our time in Warsaw, not in terms of raw quality (although they were well above average!) but in variety – there are three different themes to this game, and they each add nicely to the story.

It’s a heavily structured journey where you’re given a fairly clear idea of your goals at each stage and then just have to tick them off one by one. That gave us a nice sense of accomplishment and also avoided the issues we’d experienced earlier of trying to solve the wrong puzzles. There was a certain amount of repetition to some of the challenges but, with a team of four, that didn’t feel too painful. Had there been just a couple of us, I might have felt less happy. It’s also quite search-heavy, which is worth bearing in mind if finding things isn’t your forte. Overall, the puzzles were a little bit less varied than I’d have liked but good enough to engage me throughout, and a couple of highlights towards the end definitely helped.

Once again, they finished with a clever finale that wrapped up the story nicely. The end puzzle made sense in the experience, and the events that happened after we’d “finished” the game tied it all together in a simple but effective manner. An escape time of 48 minutes for a team of four with (I think) no clues suggests that it’s a reasonably tough but fair game.

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

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