Did we actually just commit a heist?
Form a team of highly skilled thieves to steal a mysterious object from a heavily protected safe. Don’t be fooled: while it’s a century old safe-complex: its security system is state of the art. Should you get caught, we will deny any knowledge of this operation.
We’d been holding off booking virtual escape rooms in Amsterdam as we were hoping to make it over and play them in person, but as the pandemic keeps dragging on we realised that we should play them when we get the chance. Fortunately our friend Escape Mattster was kind enough to invite us to play The Vault, by Sherlocked, with him, and there was no way we could turn down that invitation.
We’ve heard nothing but good things about pretty much all games in Amsterdam, including The Vault, so we had high hopes that it would live up to expectations. Before our game time began we received emails from Sherlocked that contained information that wasn’t needed for the game, but added to the story – we made sure to study this in detail.
At our allotted game time, and having read the accompanying notes in the email, we signed on using Whereby (not Zoom) and joined Mattster, fully ready to spend 90 minutes making decisions that could affect the entire world!
There is no denying it, if this game was played in person it would be an amazing sight to behold. The Vault itself is located in a massive basement in Amsterdam, but don’t let the fact that it’s a basement make you think it will be dark and dingy, this is a very classy basement.
The game starts off very differently to any other game we’ve played, in the sense that we didn’t start in the vault itself and had to perform some tasks to even get in. There were even opening credits (like a movie) while we were transitioning between sites.
I’ve never robbed a bank (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it), so I can’t say what it would be like, but this game has come the closest to what I would imagine a real life heist would be like. The tasks we had to perform, and how we interacted with the avatar and other interested parties made this game feel very real.
While this game was big on immersion and the set, where we felt it was lacking was the puzzles. Because of how the game was played we found that at times there was a lot of waiting for some of the team members while one person had to perform another task.
When we did get to the ‘proper’ puzzles, they weren’t particularly challenging and there weren’t very many of them. I would guess that in real life there is a lot more going on in this game than there was in the online version, but with all the story and moving around that is required it would be tight to fit in everything when you can only control one avatar.
Where this game felt a bit more real than most was when we had to perform ‘real-world’ tasks to help us continue our mission. Something we don’t often see in live avatar games is a need to open up a browser and start sleuthing around the internet – kinda like an avatar/ARG (alternate reality game) hybrid.
The puzzles involved observation, thinking on your feet, a little pattern recognition, and perhaps some logic thrown in for good measure. There are a couple of tasks which need to be completed but these can really only be done by one person and they will need to be comfortable with quick thinking.
The end certainly gave us closure to our mission and had us making a decision which we weren’t expecting to have to make, fortunately we were all in agreement and we believe we made the right choice.
Our avatar, Codename: Alpha, worked well as our operative on the ground and was quick to relay information to us as it was needed. We didn’t feel like we were being overly guided, which for an experienced team was nice, but as is the usual avatar trick, I think Alpha strategically left the camera in certain places for just long enough for us to spot something that was needed.
There is no doubt this was an impressive set with a strong story, but we felt it was lacking in puzzles. With a lot of waiting and simplified puzzles, this game left us wanting more from our time in the Vault, either way, we’ll certainly give the ‘real’ room a try in real life when the world allows.
It’s also worth noting that in order to play this game, at least someone on your team will need access to Whatsapp and be able to make phone calls and send/receive messages.
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 2 – 6 players
- Price: €149 flat fee
- Devices: Computer
- Platform: Whereby / Browser
- Inventory: No
- Time Zone: Amsterdam (CET)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 1hr 20 mins