Date completed: March 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 6.5; Difficulty: 5.5; Atmosphere: 6; Fun: 8
- 2-6 players (we recommend 2-4)
- Basic English or Italian (for hints)
- Acute senses
Adventure Rooms is a very popular Swiss franchise of escape games with venues all around the world. We heard about them when they opened in Adelaide (South Australia), but we have not had the chance to go there yet. So, when we found out they had a venue in Florence (where we were spending a few days), we decided to give it a go.
In the Black Queen game, the challenge is to use your senses to solve the puzzles around you and escape from the Queen’s prison. Of course, if you firstly manage to get rid of the handcuffs tying you and your team mates to the wall.
Getting rid of the cuffs was just the starting point a surprisingly long series of tasks. In Black Queen we counted more or less 18 different puzzles/tasks to solve, while most escape rooms we’ve played had an average of 10. It was not a bad thing at all. The puzzles were not particularly hard, so eventually you go through. And because the first part of the room is not very linear, you can play with a larger group and everyone will have something to do.
There is a good amount amount of hide and seek to be done in this dark dungeon, but not too much. Most puzzles are mechanical or association-based and you won’t need language to solve them (although you’ll need English or Italian for hints). It was actually very fun to “do” a lot of things instead of only deducing them.
When our gamemaster briefed us that 4 of our senses would be necessary to escape, she was not kidding. There are a profusion of sense-based puzzles, so be ready to listen, observe, touch, and smell stuff in order to keep advancing. Anyone attempting to play this room with a cold, with blocked nose or ears, will have a very difficult time.
Some of the puzzles also require real cooperation of at least 2 people. Unless you have two elbows in each arm, one task is completely impossible to solve alone. On the other hand, it’s pretty simple in a duo. There are heaps of props in this room (furniture, toys, lights, decoration, all the crazy thingamabobs), and they are all related to the puzzles in a way or another. However, they are not directly connected to the plot, but there’s not much of a plot after all. Basically, it’s “solve everything to get out of this prison”. And have fun.
Unfortunately, one of the puzzles with mechanical items could be subjected to human error – and it was. We needed a hint/solution to the next step as the issue we caused to a device was not easily reversible. Despite that issue, that took some precious minutes from us, we manage to escape with 4 minutes to spare. This room is probably better played with 3 or 4 people, so many courses of action can be taken at the same time.
Our gamemaster did a good job in explaining things to us even though English was not her first language. There’s no walkie talkie, intercon or white button in Adventure Rooms Firenze and hints are given through a screen at the gamemaster’s discretion. Ours did a good job in sending us information only when needed.
Experienced players won’t see much new stuff in Black Queen, however the quantity and the sensorial puzzles create a fun challenge. Also, there are so many different props that one or two may be interestingly unusual. In our opinion, this is an excellent room for beginners. If they manage to finish the Black Queen, they will have learned a lot of useful knowledge for future escape rooms.
Out of the room
Service: Our gamemaster was very friendly and we appreciate her effort in speaking to us in English. In Adventure Rooms Firenze you bring your belonging into the room, as there are no lockers outside.
Communication: You do not talk to the gamemaster during the game. If you are stuck, the gamemaster will send an image hint on the countdown screen.
Surroundings: Adventure Rooms Firenze is located in Florence’s historical centre, which means that some of the most beautiful pieces of art in he world are at walking distance. Reserve some time to see the Birth of Venus at Uffizzi Gallery and the statue of David of Michelangelo at the Academia. In the Piazza Della Signoria, there a nice restaurant with affordable dishes called Il Bargello (we found out about this place as it seems to be a haunt for local tour guides, but not their tours – a good sign). Try the local dishes with boar meat!
The Black Queen is also available at the Adventure Room venue in Adelaide, South Australia. It has been reviewed by Escape Rooms in Sydney. We went to this venue recently and had a chat with the people who run it. It looks like the major puzzles of the Adelaide version are same as the one in Florence but that there were a lot of differences in other puzzles throughout the game. Even the start is slightly different.