#34: Pirate Cave (Budapest) – Pirate Cave

A really good game and a must-play if you’re in Budapest, Pirate Cave is constructed to a high standard with an enthusiastic GM and some creative puzzles.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Location:Budapest
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:24 March 2019
Hints taken:0
Time:45m26
URL:Pirate Cave

Front & Briefing

Quite far out of town but within walking distance of the Budapest Metro, Pirate Cave is located in a more traditional Escape Game location – a industrial park! The GM also seems to travel to meet teams, so we sat on a bench opposite the door until he arrived. There’s no reception to speak of, just a small briefing area where we were shown an introductory video while the GM settled himself into his command room.

Theme

Pirates! I have two games of this theme to compare against (Cryptorama’s Pirate Cove (#24), and Mystique Room’s Pirate Bay (#41)) and while the latter’s build quality gave this one a run for its money, I think the theming was slightly stronger here, if only for one set piece which was immensely fun to play.

The build quality of the whole room was very high, including the use of a decorative feature I’ve not seen anywhere before. There were plenty of other small touches and items that were fun without turning into red herrings.

Puzzles

A good mix; the starting puzzle was memorable because it had the team working together from the very start, and while the majority were fairly low-tech, they were also inventive, fun, and I didn’t feel like anything was missing.

Slightly puzzling were two areas/objects bearing the label “EXTRA” which the GM had told us beforehand to ignore; it was a little unsatisfying to know there were puzzles we didn’t have access to, and it wasn’t clear why they hadn’t just been removed from the room if they’d been judged to be unsuitable for some reason.

That said, what we did have to play with was good, including one puzzle that in retrospect must have involved live physical input from the GM, which was hugely satisfying.

Hint system

A unique system was at work here! I won’t go into any more detail – the GM alludes to it in the briefing but I think saying anything more here would spoil it before time, but it was a lovely touch, and actually regrettable for once that we didn’t need to take a hint during the game!

Finale

The finale wasn’t the highlight of the game; in fact we ended up giving ourselves a harder time of the last puzzle due to a search failure, but we were all enjoying ourselves by the end so I’m not going to hold the lack of a grand finale against the room. In fact, there was a moment part way through that is the memorable thing about this room, and one of the main reasons I’ve given the room as high a rating as I have.

Debriefing

A photo that has since appeared on TripAdvisor, and … ahoy, the Chest of Random Costumewear appears! It was pirate-themed, needless to say. The GM was also very friendly, asking us about our trip and where we were from, and was happy to take us through anything in the room itself afterwards.

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