Escape Rome: CSI [Review]

Location: Escape Rome, Via Carlo Botta (Termini region), Rome, Italyescape_rome_logo_small

Date completed: March 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 7; Difficulty: 6.5; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 7

Requirements:

  • Basic Italian or English
  • A team member with good eyesight
  • 2-5 players

A major diamond was stolen and players have one hour to find out who is the culprit. To do that, you will need to do some basic CSI forensics, access databases and, of course, solve some puzzles along the way.

As a forensics based game, CSI requires methodical searching. You start your game in an office with simple furniture, shelves and the normal equipment you find in a place like this. Do not rush and look at everything. Make sure a person in the group has eagle eyes, they will come handy!

Escape Rome gave us quite a challenge in this escape room although a lot of the difficulty was of our own making!

The first puzzles in CSI are not too difficult to deal with. You may not find the answer or all the pieces immediately, but you will know where to go. Once you get access to more information about the case, the game starts to become more complicated. Pay attention to all details and try to make associations between the data you find and the suspects. An important point to note here is that one of the puzzles will require someone familiar with European brands. We won’t say for what and why, however, players outside of Europe might not make an association as quickly and may need a hint at one point. This isn’t a game breaker and doesn’t detract from the game.

This room has more mechanical and association puzzles with some deductive logic. There is not much pattern analysis or math here. In a sense this is a good thing, because it makes CSI completely different from Escape Rome’s other medium-level room, Secret of the Vatican. Different types of people can have fun here.

CSI - 7(It was easier when we could blame Col. Mustard and his pipe!)

Where we encountered serious difficulty in CSI, we forgot one of the golden rules: in good escape rooms, everything you need to solve the puzzles will be within your reach. It may sound obvious, but many teams fall for the self-inflicted trap of using external knowledge. eg. Chemists going for the periodic table puzzle and matching elements that would result in acidic or basic combinations, when you actually only needed to put the Elements names together to form a word. Basically, we made things complicated for ourselves!

We have to admit that the “external knowledge” trap hit us not once, but twice while we played CSI! The problem we faced happened because we found some items that, funnily enough, both Trapspringer and I had used before for work or other activities. So we were looking at them and could only see what we were trained to see. It did not cross our minds to use them in any other way… Thankfully our attentive gamemaster Daniel noticed our trouble and gave us the proper hints. Yep, hints in plural, because even after the first one, we were both insisting in using the items the same way we recognised! Oh, well, lesson learned! 😀 It took us 56 minutes, 40 seconds and 4 hints to get out of CSI, but we did!

The setting in CSI is simple, and most items you will find will be connected to the game. Music plays a good part in creating the atmosphere, with interesting sound effects. The final puzzle was, in my opinion, an easy one. but as we got there with less than 5 minutes to think about it, I was glad it was not a brain-wrecker! 😀

This room is probably best played with 3-4 people, as search is a very important element. There are many bits and pieces. If you find something, tell your team!

We also played Escape Rome’s Secret of the Vatican and Bodies rooms.

Out of the room

Service: Daniel and the other staff at Escape Rome were friendly and approachable. Briefing before the game was great, as well as the debriefing afterwards. Our gamemaster was sincerely interested in our impressions of the room – and the other rooms we played there as well. We had a good chat about puzzles in general and he recommended an awesome trattoria (pasta restaurant) for us to have dinner, just around the corner, called Vecchia Roma.

Escape Rome has a large waiting area and they offer water and lollies to all players. You can hang your stuff at the reception or bring it with yourself to the room.

Communication: You do not talk to the gamemaster during the game. If you are stuck, you can press a white bottom on the wall and a hint/image will appear on the countdown screen. The gamemaster will also send a hint if he thinks you are spending too much time on the same activity. Escape Rome tends not to give out hints in the first 10 or so minutes, letting players settle down, find stuff, think for themselves and get into their own momentum. Daniel was flawless in the way he assisted gameplay flow by providing well timed subtle hints for all three Escape Rome games.

IMG_6744Surroundings: Escape Rome is located in the Termini region, Southeast of Rome’s city centre. It’s a 5 minute walk from Vittorio Emanuelle subway and 10 minutes from attractions such as the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Basilica of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) is also within walking distance from Escape Rome. It’s not much from the outside, however, it is beautiful inside and has Moses (with horns), pictured right, by Michelangelo!

There are plenty of places to eat around there. Word of advice to foodies: try not eating at restaurants right next to touristic points. Go one or two streets adjacent and find places with a high proportion of locals. Also, Italians tend to have dinner after 7pm/1900. Beware of restaurants that serve dinner before that time.

 

 

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