An Escape Enthusiast Abroad: Seattle Day 2
Our second day in Seattle was less intense than our first but no less interesting. Today was the day we finally got to try out the fabled Locurio!
Canadian Bumpkin Status: 30%
Like yesterday, we were far too busy playing escapes to really pay attention the alien world of America. But still…
I tried Mexican food in America! It is way better than Mexican food in Canada.
We have been trying desperately to get rid of our American change before we have to drag it back to Canada. It is difficult. Why do Americans still have pennies?! (No, I will never get over this)
Our first escape for the day was Escape Artist. We got there ridiculously early and interrupted the owner’s, Christine’s, lunch. Luckily being so early meant we could nerd out for a bit before our escape began.
We played their Spellbound room, which was a witch themed room. Christine had a lot of fun performing our intro complete with cloak and sound effects. I am a sucker for theatrical intros, and this one did not disappoint.
The room itself was fun. There were some neat puzzles as well as some unique set pieces. We were happy to be playing in a smaller group again. Our friend Justin had already played the room and was just watching us from the corner. It took all his effort not to tell us the answers while we bumbled around the room. And I do mean bumbling. There was a horrible search failure we had.
After Escape Artist we were back to Hourglass to play The Mad Pharaoh. Two things hindered our experience. First, we were shamefully late to the escape and had to call in. They held it for us (we ended up arriving at 3:35 for our 3:30 booking), but it meant the group who was joining us had to wait.
Which brings me to the second unfortunate thing: we had to play with randoms. This was a mistake in the booking. The intention was to have a private game but unfortunately something went wrong with the booking system and another group joined on. The owner, Seth, was apologetic and offered another time slot to us but we had another room at the time. We figured at first it would be a group of two or three who booked last minute but upon arriving we found a group of seven waiting for us. Combined with our own five players, that brought the player count up to twelve.
The experience simply reaffirmed that when it comes to escapes, I simply do not like playing with randoms. To be fair, they were fine. They solved puzzles and we attempted to communicate as best we could. But it was very clear the whole group was split in two, and twelve players who were 50% strangers was a bit of a chaotic mess. It wasn’t a horrible experience and I am not upset it happened, but I know we would have had a better time had it just been us. I had no idea what was going on half the time.
That being said, I did enjoy the room! There was one element to it that was very cleverly used. We did have a good time figuring out how to interact with it. It’s worth checking out.
Finally, we came to our last facility: Locurio. This escape is one of the main reasons we decided to go to Seattle. Simply put: it was so worth it.
After wandering down a back alley and calling from a rusted blue gate, our game master, Nate, came down to greet us. The owner, Summer, unfortunately could not be there but Nate was great (rhyming!) with showing us around and introducing us to the rooms.
First up was Locurio’s first room, Vanishing Act. This room is about four years old and is showing its age a bit. Not in terms of looking run down, but instead the types of puzzles and tropes used in escape rooms when they were first getting popular. It was still a lot of fun. The puzzles were very satisfying to solve and I loved the hint system and timer mechanic. Already I could get a sense that Locurio is better than most escapes at weaving a story into the puzzles and other design.
It was Locurio’s latest room though, the Storykeeper, that blew us away. This is the one where I realized Locurio excels at delivering a whole package experience: puzzle design, narrative, set design, sound design, and hint systems all worked together to deliver an incredibly immersive experience. There was so much attention to detail. It’s the type of room I keep thinking about after the fact.
The hint system is one of my favourite aspects of the room. It’s an odd thing to pick as it’s a rather small detail in the game, but it’s a system that works so perfectly and even adds to the whimsy of the room. And this room is very whimsical. We could not help but get sucked into the world and its characters. It simply felt magical the entire time we were in there.
I have been noticing Seattle’s rooms have more difficult puzzles than I am used to and Locurio is no exception. This room would be very tough for newbies at certain points though luckily the self-updating hints will help with this. However, for us the puzzles were very satisfying to solve. There was a good mix of “aha” and task based puzzles that gave everyone something to do. One puzzle in particular was really admirable in how it used all of our abilities. It is one of the few instances in which it takes different types of brains to solve one puzzle.
One of my personal preferences in a room is when actors are used (and used effectively). Storykeeper’s actors were fantastic to interact with. They added immensely to the experience. Admittedly, my friend Errol’s enthusiasm in the room did colour our experience, but I do not doubt that anyone would have a fantastic time immersing themselves into this game.
In case it was not obvious, I did very much love Locurio. It was such a wonderful way to end the Seattle portion of our trip. Tomorrow it is back to Vancouver for our last few games and then off home back to reality…sigh…