TLDR; A Masterpiece.
Our most magical adventure yet. Years in the making, this incredibly detailed experience is bursting with technomagic, smoking potions and a dangerous ancient ritual.
Amsterdam (and the surrounding areas) are synonymous with top notch escape rooms, and you can’t think of Amsterdam without thinking of Sherlocked.
We had actually played one of the Sherlocked games remotely during lockdown when we played The Vault. Our key take away from that game was that Sherlocked have a lot of space to play with, and they use it! Another thing worth mentioning now about Sherlocked is that they’re in the centre of Amsterdam, so very easy to get to (and no car needed).
This time however, we were finally in Amsterdam in person and were ready to physically step foot in the sacred ground that is Sherlocked. Our first game after arriving in Amsterdam was The Architect, which was fun, but the one we were all looking forward to was The Alchemist.
A few months ago, Sherlocked had a weekly online competition as part of the build up to the release of The Alchemist, and although we didn’t win anything (missed one by a few seconds), we had a great time and it was one of the reasons we decided on Amsterdam for our next escape room holiday.
Anyway, the time arrived and we made our way to the meeting point outside the exceptionally grandiose building where we were greeted by Sam and Finn who were our GMs. The greeting was in character and this is how they remained until our experience was over. After using their rest rooms, we were escorted up the many flights of stairs to the entrance to the room. They pointed out one or two important things, including a box for our personal possessions and then explained our mission. With our mission clear in our heads, we entered a room, a room which we were not expecting…
I’ve not met many alchemists, but if I had, I imagine that their home/lab would look like this. To say that The Alchemist was stunning would be an understatement; this room was one of the most beautiful escape rooms I have ever had the pleasure of stepping foot in.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the best at picking up on ‘story’ in escape rooms, but even I got this one. The story was as beautiful as the game itself and unfolded as we progressed through it. Every single puzzle was there to progress the story and nothing felt out of place in the slightest.
I would love to write more on how immersive this experience was, but I know this may turn into a long review so I think I’ll need to keep it short. But suffice to say that every little detail in this room was specially designed to bring full immersion from the start to the end, and oh my god, the end! This room has one of, if not the most, spectacular endings I have ever seen in an escape room.
I briefly touched upon the puzzles in the previous section, and they were glorious. Points of the game were linear, but there were often opportunities where we could split up or solve them in whatever order we chose. Many of the puzzles were multi-layered, and sometimes quite complex, but always fair and a true joy to solve.
The less I say about the puzzles, the better. There was some searching (all fair), observation, logic, teamwork, communication, and generally just following directions. One thing we had to do wasn’t really a puzzle but it was certainly a hell of a work out for one member of our team!
Our actual GMs, Sam and Finn did a great job. Like everyone in The Netherlands they seemed to speak perfect English (which was very handy), and they remained in character through-out our experience. Once they said goodbye at the start, we then had very little interaction with them. We were given a walkie-talkie which I gather could be used for clues, although I don’t recall it being used at all while we were in this game.
I know what you’re thinking, “A walkie-talkie, that’s not very impressive”, well I’d agree with that, BUT there was a secondary clue system which merged into the story perfectly and not only could provide clues but also help drive the narrative.
I would be remiss not to mention our human hosts again. We had a minor incident (self-inflicted) during our game, pretty much at the start, but they handled it perfectly. It was dealt with quickly, effectively and in such a way that no-one missed any of the experience. Top marks.
This is one of those games where you will play and then want to play again just to go back and see what you missed. Every single item in this game has been hand-crafted for the world they have created and the attention to detail is incredible.
We got a memento from this game that is unique to our experience and it will be cherished for years to come. We got the traditional Sherlocked cross keys pin too, obviously, but the other souvenir – just wow.
I keep trying to wrap this review up, but then I remember more of the amazing things about it. Like any escape room, mobile phones are not to be used during the game, and the way Sherlocked have come up with to get you to stick to that is cunningly clever.
This is a game that has incredible puzzles but the star of the show is the set and how you interact with this game. I would play this game again just to witness the ending again – beautiful.
Team: 4 players
Address: Beurs van Berlage, Damrak 247, 1012 ZJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review