#32: Mystery Games (Budapest) – Secret of the Depth

While it had the edge on Mystery Games’ other offering, Alchemist’s Gold (#31), and was definitely more fun, the steampunk submarine of Secret of the Depth still had some major flaws which makes it difficult to recommend.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Location:Budapest
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:24 March 2019
Hints taken:2
Time:45m50
URL:Mystery Games

Front & Briefing

Immediately following Alchemist’s Gold (#31), we sat in the foyer waiting for our GM to re-appear and lead us into Secret of the Depth.

Theme

The aim of the game is to get a missile into its missile tube in able to launch it at an enemy ship. There were obviously various obstacles in the way of doing so.

The steampunk element was executed generally well, with some nice puzzle props and a high attention to detail on the set. However, in terms of immersion the game quite often let us down; one code was something we’d been told in the briefing but the room seemed to be expecting us to figure out on our own, and the absurdity of the number of obstacles between the missile and its final location, along with the location itself, got in the way. There were also some modern electronics in places that we originally thought were not part of the game because they stuck out so much, but indeed were there to be used. Finally, a large prop in one area that we expected to be used never was.

Puzzles

Some interesting puzzles, though quite a lot of four-character sequences. One of the nicer-looking puzzles had a mechanical failure, and it took a bit of persuasion to convince the GM that we weren’t just doing it wrong, at which point they had to direct us to a workaround. While sinning less than Alchemist’s Gold, there was at least one classic escape room game barely dressed up enough for the theme, with lighting dark enough to make it a real nuisance.

Hint system

Direct communication with the GM via a walkie-talkie. Hints on request.

Finale

Given the briefing and the theme, we expected a better finale than what we got, and indeed actually “escaping” (which, again, seemed like an unnecessary bolted on idea given the theme of the room) managed to break immersion for me too.

Debriefing

Again, the GM was very hands-off here. We paid up and decided to take a photo ourselves in lieu of any offering from the GM – and I’m pretty sure there were no other games ongoing this time around that were occupying her. She did at least take a photo of us on our own camera when we asked.

Final thoughts

It’s at the high end of a 2-star rating for this one purely on the effort put into the set, but ultimately it’s a room I just wouldn’t particularly recommend to people.

One other feature of the venue, which made me feel a little uncomfortable, was the fish tank in the reception and in the room itself; I’m not sure a loud clanky environment is the right place to be keeping pets in, though I haven’t accounted for this in the room’s rating.

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