TLDR; We loved this room!
You’re on a relaxing aerial tour of a remote jungle when everything suddenly falls apart. You’re stranded at the foot of ancient and mysterious temple ruins – home of a massive fabled treasure. Adventure has come knocking and the treasure could be yours for the taking! Fortune favors the bold. Will it favor you?
A number of months ago I was looking around on the Escape Room Enthusiast group on Facebook and I noticed a post by a company in Nashville, Tennessee announcing the release of the new room ‘Ruins: Forbidden Treasure’. Normally I wouldn’t pay much attention to these posts as the chances of getting over to play it would likely be slim, but something stood out about this room and the build quality looked exceptional. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and suddenly I discovered that The Escape Game were offering this room as a remote experience! The mythical room could finally be played!
If you’ve seen any of the visuals for this game already then you’ll know that this room is something special. Fortunately, the whole experience was seamless and enjoyable from start to end. Booking was simple, all emails came through when they were supposed to (although I did miss one and panicked a little), and the preamble before we started the room proper was smooth.
When we joined the Zoom call at our allotted time and met up with our teammates, the wonderful team behind Deadlocked Escape Rooms, Charlie and James, we were greeted by our host Val. Val did the introductions and made sure we were set up and ready for our mission.
With the formalities out of the way, we watched an entertaining intro video and were handed over to our live avatar, “Jungle Scout”, and our mission was underway.
We’re quickly starting to learn that not all live avatar rooms are created equal, which is concerning as there is a good chance we may have reached the pinnacle far too soon. Ok, there’s a chance we will find a better experience but for now, at least, the bar has been set very high.
This room was set up with everything we needed to be successful: an inventory system so we could investigate items we’d discovered in more detail, and 360-degree camera views of all the rooms we entered.
We could interact with our avatar and say what we wanted him to do, but Val was also on standby adding and removing items to/from our inventory when they were needed and then no longer required. This was a nice touch as it stopped the inventory getting clogged up with obsolete items.
Jumping ahead a little, the ending was clear and satisfying. I think in person the ending would have been stronger but even online it came across well and gave us a sense of completion.
For me, I like escape rooms that build up in difficulty and let you feel like you’re breezing them, then BOOM, complex puzzle. The Ruins started off pretty sedately and had us questioning ‘could it be so simple?’ And then before we knew it we were saying ‘now what do we do?’.
Online rooms will always be harder than physical rooms as you have to contend with only one pair of hands, potential lag, and communicating clearly with your team and your avatar. Ignoring those issues, we found the puzzles in The Ruins to be spot on, spot on in terms of difficulty and in fitting the theme.
There were little things with the puzzles that just felt right. In person I may have cried a little at how good they were, but even online it felt special. No stupid maths puzzles, no onerous searching, just quality tactile puzzles. If you wanted to be Indiana Jones for an hour, then this is the room for you.
Technically we had two games masters in this room, Val and our Jungle Scout, and both of them were great. It is a completely different skill set to run a room online than it is in person. Your avatar needs to not feed you too much information while at the same time helping you discover. That balance was perfectly achieved in The Ruins.
At one point we did experience some issues with lag (it was peak time for internet usage in the UK), but Val quickly picked up on this and asked our avatar to slow down a little to negate the lag. Having the inventory system meant we could still work on puzzles.
We were told that there was technically a limitation on how many clues we could have, limited to three, but there was some wiggle room on that so I think you could have more if you needed to. Fortunately, the guys at Deadlocked are geniuses so we just coasted along while they did all the hard work. If we needed clues I think Val would have chimed in to get us back on track.
This was a really good room, in person it would be a great room. There will always be limitations to what you can do in a remote escape room, but the guys at The Escape Game are doing a wonderful job of bringing their experiences to the world. This room stands out above the rest on set design, but strong puzzles and a good inventory system make it pretty close to perfect. If you can’t get to Nashville, get online now!
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 3-7 players
- Price: $25.00 + tax per person
- Devices: Desktop/Laptop
- Platform: Zoom. Inventory runs best on Chrome
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: CST/CDT time (Nashville, TN)
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 49:33 (no clues)
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.