Warsaw Escape Review: Dom Zagadek VR

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

We’d enjoyed the games at Dom Zagadek’s central venue, so I was keen to see what they had to offer in their slightly out-of-town establishment. Warning: it really felt out of the way, so getting a taxi is probably sensible. It’s a very industrial area, and I was a little dubious when we arrived outside, but inside it’s well presented, with friendly staff and a huge waiting area.

In addition to the three escape games, there’s a VR facility on site, which we didn’t try. Poza Swiatem (there doesn’t seem to be a translation on their site, but Cast Away or The Outside World might do) was fun but not an amazingly strong game. Room of Riddles was a fun-filled romp with computer game references and plenty of silly challenges that everyone loved. Pegasus was an out-and-out arcade game fest which will engage anyone who loves Mario and computer games from the 80s and 90s and still be enjoyable for those of you who aren’t so familiar with the genre.

Room of Riddles – Pokój Zagadka (5 stars)

There’s no description on their website, there’s no hint about what this game entails, and the experience starts in an almost empty space. Don’t worry, though, this game absolutely delivers. It’s a bright, spacious and enjoyable place to explore. The theming is probably best described as “fun” with computer game references, but don’t let that put you off if you’re no gaming fan as they’ve made it pretty vague.

That eclectic theming extends to the puzzles – I think they just came up with a bunch of puzzles that they liked and put them in the room. That saw us do one of the most fun searches I’ve experienced and take on some well crafted skill-based activities that reward you for doing well but don’t overly penalise you if you’re less coordinated. There were more traditional puzzles that involved looking carefully around the room or finding a four-digit code to unlock a box, as well as one puzzle that required some careful logical thinking. Fairly lateral thinking was necessary in a couple of places.

Really, though, we just had fun. In the end, we escaped in half an hour without taking a clue. In some ways, that feels like a bit of a failure because this is a game that should be enjoyed for as long as possible. I’d recommend playing it as a group and exploring everything together to get maximum enjoyment.

Pegasus (4.5 stars)

If you grew up on a diet of Mario, then this is probably the game for you. As you’d expect from a game that’s trying to recreate a computer game, it’s visually impressive when you walk in (in an 8-bit kind of way 😉 ). They’ve gone to a lot of trouble to recreate the Mario feel, not just in the looks but also in some of the things that you do inside the space. Don’t worry, though, there’s no external knowledge required (although one part of the game will benefit heavily from it, you can get the joy of experimenting a little to work out what to do).

I enjoyed the puzzles in the game, and they flowed well for us. A couple of them felt a little bit out of place: one that looked like it should be interesting but had quite a dull solution and another that was overly mathsy for what was otherwise a fairly lighthearted room.  That’s me being fairly critical, though – the puzzles were, overall, pretty good. The highlights included plenty of hands-on stuff, which always makes me happy, and a couple of puzzles that required strategic thinking to plan out how to play.

In general, aside from the very beginning to the game, the puzzles were reasonably linear, but this worked well for our team of three because there was almost always something else to investigate at the same time. Even if we were blocked on finishing the next puzzle, we could usually start working on the solution. Once again, we finished in about half an hour without taking any clues.

The Island/Poza Swiatem (4 stars)

The final game we played at Dom Zagadek was a research-base-in-the-jungle-themed game, where your mission was to stop a rogue scientist. Decor-wise, they’d done a decent job. At times it was great, at others it felt a little bit bare but overall it was sufficient to carry off the storyline. That job was probably made a little bit trickier by it being a relatively big space. All the games here were far bigger than the rooms in the centre of the city and while that didn’t massively affect the gameplay – I didn’t feel they’d used the space to fit in more puzzles or enhance the sense of exploration – it was a more enjoyable experience for it.

The puzzles were reasonably varied. Yes, like so many of the games, there was the harder than average maths, but they’d thrown in a good mix of challenges, so I think everyone will get involved. One of the physical challenges is pretty tough, and there’s a search that took one of our teams a long time to complete but, for me, the puzzles were judged pretty well. I never got to the point where we felt thoroughly stuck, and I didn’t feel like the physical challenges were too difficult to complete.

I’m not sure what I expected of a finale in this room, but neither the final puzzle nor the action that happened afterwards really worked for me. When you’re averting disaster, I want to see something glorious telling me I’ve succeeded, and that just didn’t come here. For the third time in a row, our team of three finished in approximately half an hour.

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

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