#40: Locked Room (Budapest) – Research Base

A high quality room with some slick theming and some pleasing puzzles, Research Base again demonstrated the Locked Room/ARoom’s rooms are generally solid games with little to fault.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ (Recommended)
Location:Budapest
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:25 March 2019
Hints taken:2 out of a maximum of 5
Time:52m22
URL:Locked Room

Front & Briefing

Another basement, and a large one at that! The main foyer area reminded me of a laser tag waiting area, with clusters of wooden benches, each with a TV screen in the centre presumably for briefing purposes. It was, however, devoid of people when we arrived, and we walked through the wonderful smell of pine to the reception desk. The staff showed us where the lockers for our bags were and told us to come around when we were ready. Within the room itself, as we’d expected from their ARoom branch (see #28 and #29), there was a short video on a monitor introducing the story and then showing the clock.

Theme

The aim of Research Base is to break into an underground tech research facility and retrieve an artefact from a safe. They pulled the theme off perfectly for me, with little touches everywhere reinforcing the sense that you were underground and some authentic equipment used to deck out the rooms.

Puzzles

The puzzles all suited the theme well, and there were some nice bits of tech, both to interact with directly and powering some of the electronically-operated puzzles. The game was reasonably non-linear, but had a nice flow to it; it was generally clear what you needed to do. One thing I particularly liked was that upon completing the puzzle, the game usually highlighted the effect of it subtly but clearly; I’ve found in other games with electronic mechanisms that it can be difficult to tell what exactly you’ve just unlocked by finishing a puzzle, and that wasn’t an issue here.

Hint system

Hints on request via a push-button doorbell-style button near the entrance. We took two clues, both search fails in a sense. (This is not unusual for this team!) As with the rest of Locked Room’s game, you are limited to 5 clues per game.

Finale

It’s clear where you’re heading for and how you might go about solving the final puzzle from part-way through the game, but there wasn’t really a finale to speak of. Unfortunately one of the clues we had to take was near the end, which rather took the momentum out of it, but I’ve no general complaints about the ending.

Debriefing

After congratulating us and taking our payment, the GMs were pretty hands-off. Clearly the venue was set up to have a lot of people around at any time; the photo opportunity was self-service in a photo-booth-style room with some appropriate placards to fish through for failing or succeeding the various rooms in the venue.

We liked the room enough that we squeezed another of their games (The Secret Lab (#43)) into our schedule before leaving Budapest!

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