Claustrophobia – Escape Quest Rooms

By Natalia Smirnova

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Claustrophobia is a quest set in reality with a various choice of scenarios. This is a team game with the number of players from 2 to 4 people, who are given only an hour to solve all the puzzles, find all the hidden objects and escape. It’s a fancy pastime, which replaced quests in open space, and it’s a way of flexing your thinking muscles while still relaxing.

From an incredible array of “Claustrophobia” rooms in the capital I was able to visit three: different in atmosphere, complexity and methods of transmission; and I will codename my impressions as classical medals.

BRONZE

“Motel Australia”

This room has positioned itself as a “quest for beginners”, helping people not in the know understand what this quest is in reality and how to eat it. The experience will help to solve the more complex rooms.

As the story foes, you wake up in a hotel room, and the front door is, of course, locked. And – 60 minutes have begun to run out, as you frantically run around.

By itself, the room is big and spacious, which, in fact, not the case for most other locations; furniture and other items are also in abundance. The quest itself is directed not so much towards the use of logical thinking, solving puzzles, riddles, etc., but towards the players’ attention to detail. For example, you should be able to find a key in one of the dozens of wax apples or hint card in one of the many jackets hanging in the closet.

As with all existing “claustrophobias”, the quest consists of more than one room. In the course of searching, you have to open all locked doors before you reach the most important one which leads to freedom. The “Motel” has only one such extra door, with a very compact bathroom behind it, which is where a sharp wit comes in handy more than a sharp eye.

I’ll also note a detail common to all rooms: you can take hints an unlimited number of times, the room has a special button for that. In general, operators can see and hear everything that happens from the beginning to the end, but if you just scream for advice, no one will answer. A push of a button confirms that you’re not just gripped by adrenaline and emotions and you really need a prompt. Participants are allowed to ask any smart but not leading question, or (if the situation is really bad) ask the operator to specify the direction of the search. The latter is not welcomed, but remains on the conscience of the players.

SILVER

“Professor Evil”

This quest is often referred to as “cartoonish” in reviews and descriptions because of the unusually bright decorations and the plot where you need to prevent the launch of “Life-SUX2” missiles with saddening gas, and of course, get out of the Professor’s den.

We loved this quest, but I give it second place because the first room, which slightly spoils the experience. The operator leads the team in the so-called office of Professor Evil’s assistant – a charming catlizard. And here is where the people experience a crisis and a cognitive dissonance, for the bulk of items in the room are useless. Yes, you find what you need by sorting through all the stuff – really interesting, but, in my opinion, on a smaller scale. In addition, the room has no countdown display, which makes it somewhat difficult to work. For example, when we finally made our way to the main room with the control panel, we found to our amazement that we spent more than a third of the allotted time in the catlizard’s lair and had to panic and accelerate. But the main room did not disappoint once. That’s where the real atmosphere was, and all sorts of unusual things such as umbrellas with surprises inside, or a globe with new world powers, and even special effects in the form of thick smoke (the saddening gas), which fills the room when you cancel the missile launch, or that the door to freedom, turns out to be in an unexpected place. Anyway – the room is not only really bright, but also thought through to the last detail, which can help you unravel the whole biography of Yurochka Evil from school to present day, and at the same time understand how he came to such a life.

GOLD

“Vault 13”

A complex, atmospheric quest, it took us a whole two tries to solve it. “The world wakes up after a nuclear apocalypse; you are the last generation of survivors in an underground shelter.” You understand that it’s finally safe to go out to the surface, but the bunker will only open automatically in 30 years, and to get free, you need to be able to deceive the main computer. The plot itself is already exciting and it only gets better. There are three rooms connected to each other by a bunch of logical, really interesting, tasks, two of which, of course, need to be broken in to.

The first room has a small number of objects and half of them are useful at the end of the quest. Therefore, the brain should be working at 100%, so hard that you can feel the cogs turning. And what a wonderful post-apocalyptic ambience! Each successive room is more striking than the last. The end room can scare anyone too impressionable. The program provides for experiments with radioactive plants, analysis of a sniper rifle, breaking into crates with books, and even meeting Nuka-Cola. A complete set of sophisticated pleasures. That’s why the joy of successfully solving the room knows no limit.

What can I say more? “Claustrophobias” and their derivatives are fruitful and multiply quite cheerfully, more and more ideas are invented. If the guys started with a fairly banal “Soviet Apartment” and the above “Motel”, now almost everyone can find something to their liking. There is the paranormal “Haunted” and “Salem Witch”, the film- and literature-based “The Da Vinci Code”, “221B”, “The Flying Dutchman”, “This is Vietnam, Baby” , the fantastic ” Coma “,” A Beautiful Mind “, etc.  Also a completely new project “Claustrophobia Performance” – “The Collector” is under way, where players are placed in to the lair of a maniac for an hour. “Two hundred square meters of animal terror, scenery inhabited by characters who make your trembling heart jump out of your chest” – reads the description of the location and reviews of those who have been in confirm the description. Prices for the quests, however, are also growing really fast, but the demand is still stable.

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TswH6c_Gz1ANatalia Smirnova is a grumpy Capricorn who loves fantasy and science fiction. She adores intellectual games and writes poetry and prose stuff in her spare time.

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