#53: Arctic Escape (Tromsø) – Carla's Secret

A real joy to play, with great set design and a nice range of puzzles with enthusiastic GMs with a strong theme. This was my favourite of the three Arctic Escape games I played.

Rating:★★★★ (Highly recommended)
Location:Tromsø
Team:Rhubarb Rhubarb
Date:22 December 2019
Hints taken:1
Time:Unknown (lost notes – about 55m)
URL:Arctic Escape

Front & Briefing

We had time to have a quick wander around Tromsø including the very nearby Tromsø Cathedral (the yellow wooden one, not the Arctic Cathedral across the bridge) before returning to “the world’s northernmost escape room” to play their most recent game, Carla’s Secret.

The GM mentioned that this game was made in response to their previous, scary, game, VX Snatcher (which we didn’t play because we’re not keen on scary games) and was supposed to be the absolute opposite, and I’d say they pulled this off. A young girl called Carla has a friendly monster in her bedroom, and needs to persuade it to provide proof of its existence and that she’s not just imagining it.

Theme

This is an absolutely beautiful escape room and a great example of how everyday items can be used to fashion a great game. Upon entering the room looks just like you’ve entered a 9-year-old girl’s room, and everything stays in keeping with this. It’s bright, colourful, and a generally fun place to hunt around for clues in.

Puzzles

We were the first group to play the room in English, and they’d done a great job at making any text clues bilingual. Despite the everyday setting, the puzzles were varied and creative, with plenty of nods to the sort of pop culture that would keep children entertained (and us adults too, for that matter) without requiring any outside knowledge, plus some rather fiendish ones that I felt pretty pleased with myself for figuring out.

Hint system

Hints were via a screen that also showed the countdown timer. We had agreed with the GM beforehand that we’d like to be asked before getting any hints, and found the “hint available” text appearing on the screen every so often a nice way of going about it. I think we took just one hint, for a search fail that the GM said afterwards was a commonly missed thing and they were considering moving. I hope they don’t, because it was by no means impossible and was a great kick-yourself moment when they point it out!

Finale

Given the theme we had certain expectations of what the ending might involve, and we weren’t left disappointed in this regard. The ending had us all grinning.

Debriefing

A quick debriefing this time but with both the staff GMs around. They’re clearly proud of this room (and their other most recent game, VX Snatcher) and their enthusiasm shows. They’d re-arranged their schedule in order to get us into the final game of the night immediately rather than sending us out into the cold for an hour, which we very much appreciated, so we went straight into The Backroom (#54)!

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