#36: E-Exit (Budapest) – Santa Muerte

Though not a game without faults, Santa Muerte was extremely challenging and enjoyable, and delivered on what an escape room should be: memorable for mostly the right reasons and totally thrilling. A must-do room if you’re an experienced escapist visiting Budapest.

Rating: ★★★★☆
Location:Budapest
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:24 March 2019
Hints taken:2
Time:59m46 (yikes!)
URL:E-Exit

Front & Briefing

Just around the corner from E-Exit’s main location is the annex holding their newest game, Santa Muerte. The foyer was spacious and we were greeted by this game’s enthusiastic GM at the door, who’d been waiting for us after we’d finished Heaven and Hell (#35) moments ago. The same odd sheet of paper with a mission briefing as with Heaven and Hell, then into the room!

Theme

From their website: if your devotion to the Lady of Bones has been good, “the Protector of the Roadsides will stand on your side to avoid any misfortune from you and your [taxi] Cab.”

This is a room themed around modern Mexican mythology; not an area I’m very familiar with so I can’t vouch for the authenticity, but the room was certainly extremely distinctive, with an unforgettable set and various aspects evocative of Day of the Dead and that sort of thing. There were high production values and, of course, being fairly new, nothing was at all worn or shabby.

Strange to say, but I also really liked what they did with the countdown timer on this one which is usually a bit of an afterthought in a room, but for this one had been woven into the theme superbly.

Puzzles

The room boasts that it’s padlock-free; instead there are various high and low tech puzzles that are generally quite physically engaging, plus some that used some very novel mechanisms.

Some of the puzzles are fiendishly difficult and the website mentions that they don’t recommend this game for beginners. A couple were a little on the irritating side; one because there was quite an involved set of actions required to get an effect that we needed to repeat a few times to understand, and another that was a memory game that the GM was essentially unable to help us with as a result – I actually think we lucked into solving this one rather than “properly” solving it. The room was also quite linear and there were times when some of us had to just step back and wait for one or two of the others to finish a particular section.

That said, there were plenty of very satisfying puzzles and pay-offs, and the theming of the room really made them memorable. The satisfaction of completing the puzzles generally amped up towards the end of the game, which showed some nice planning.

Hint system

Voice communication with the GM; hints on request or at the GM’s suggestion.

Finale

One of the best ones I’ve experienced; partly because the game was so challenging and we escaped with mere seconds to spare, but also because the escape mechanism was simply fun. It’s definitely in the top three of the most memorable finishes I’ve seen.

Debriefing

Photos for Facebook, then the GM let us walk back through the room and do the last bit of the finale again, which we absolutely appreciated.

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