This is part of a series of articles on games in Warsaw – click here for the introduction and links to all the other articles.
Dom Kluczy isn’t easy to find, hiding as it as in the middle of a residential building and, when you do eventually find your way to the venue, there’s no real waiting area. You’d be forgiven for starting the game expecting a disappointing experience. Except at the last minute, just before you enter the game, you’re given something that makes you realise that this is going to be a very special experience indeed.
I’ve played plenty of games where there’s a bit of outside story, some theatre before the main event, but this took it one step further with a relatively small touch that added gravitas to the experience. Little touches like that can make a huge difference to how you experience a game and, in this case, it explained why a room that on paper wouldn’t have been that exciting got recommendations from more people than any other company in the city.
The Testament (4 stars)
Inside, you’re greeted by a large, beautiful old office full of interesting things to look at. It’s on the grander scale of this style of game, but it’s definitely not sufficient in and of itself to make it a great game. As you wander round the room, you’ll find a dizzying array of padlocks – they take pride in not reusing lock types: if you’ve found a code or key, you’ll know which lock it’s for instantly, because there’s only one it could possible fit. Indeed, one of the locks was so unusual that it required a set of instructions to operate.
Throughout the experience, they provide subtle references to the relative whose last will and testament is the subject of the game. You could easily ignore these and still do fine in the room, but I’d recommend paying attention. There’s a story interleaved through the experience that comes out subtly but is well worth the effort – a story that’s suggestive of a much richer world in the designer’s mind than you actually get to experience in the game. That bodes well for the future, because they are planning three more games leading on from this one.
The game is entirely linear, with just enough direction to take you from one puzzle to the next. The puzzles aren’t quite as varied as I’d have liked, with a certain style as to how they’re constructed. That said, if you like your puzzles to be presented in an engaging manner, then this will be right up your street. While the answers were all gettable (we took a single clue for an embarrassing “in plain sight” search fail), it often felt like they required just a bit more of a stretch than I’d have liked. Fortunately, there was just enough direction to make it clear which puzzle we were meant to be working on at any given point and so, usually with a little bit of discussion among the team members, we managed to find our way to the answers.
They allocate around ninety minutes to the experience. In the end, all our teams took somewhere around half that time with no more than a clue to complete the game. That worries me a little because I don’t see how you could play the full ninety minutes and still be having fun. It’s in keeping with their experience, though – I think they’ve allowed enough time to ensure that no team feels rushed. If you get frustrated, then they’re on hand to offer clues via email (yes, really) – a non-intrusive way of making the game flow smoothly.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that this is a company that’s willing to go the extra mile. One of our players had an extreme allergy to something in the room, something which had fortunately been spotted by one of our sister teams on their visit a couple of days earlier. To make it work for us, they removed the offending item, cleaned the entire room and bought a pack of latex gloves so that she could still participate in the experience in safety. I think that sums up the kind of experience they offer – it’s that attention to detail and constant attempt to craft a better experience that has people constantly recommending them. And you can add one more person to that list.
That’s all on Dom Kluczy– want to read more about Warsaw games? Click here to head back to the main Warsaw page.