Lost Space: Looking for Venus [Review]

logo-lostspaceLocation: Lost Space, Historical Centre, Florence, Italy

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

Creativity: 4; Difficulty: 3.5; Atmosphere: 1; Fun: 6.5

Requirements:

  • 2-6 players
  • English, Italian or Chinese (Mandarin)

It’s hard to write a harsh review. Any player would prefer to experience only good rooms and write good things about them. Looking for Venus was an awkward experience for us. We were extremely well treated by a lovely gamemaster at Lost Space – and that’s the reason we ended up having fun. However, the room was so bare… It was..’meh’.

In this room, Venus, the Roman goddess of love, is angry with humanity because they forgot the true meaning of love. In your dreams, you go to her temple to recover this secret and appease her wrath. And that’s what we found…

watering canThere was a (very) small tapestry of the Birth of Venus on the wall and not much else. A white plastic table. An Ikea-like bedside table. An ashtray with scented salts. A blue plastic watering can. We started finding messages and instruction written in blue pen on notebook paper. Nothing Roman or godlike at all.

We giggled, thinking “nah, this can´t be serious”. But when you advance through the game, you open new spaces that are even more empty and devoid of detail. They are barren. There are two ‘gadgets’ in this room that are part of puzzles, but it´s not clear how they link to the story. It seemed like someone thought they were cool and put them there. Is this room even finished or was the company trying to make money with something half-built?

When we first saw the description of Looking for Venus on the internet, I immediately said “I want to play this one!” Lost Space has other two room: Escaping from Prison and The Death of the Special Agent. Both themes we had seem before, but a Roman goddess of love? That was new.

We should have noticed the ‘signals’. The gamemaster said most people enjoyed the prison room, and that her personal favourite was the Special Agent. She subtlety hinted we should play that instead. However, we insisted on Venus.

There was nothing fundamentally wrong about the puzzles and they weren’t too bad. They were very easy and only very loosely connected to the story. Requiring association, logic, observation and memory, we deduced most of the puzzles without even finding all the clues. Some teamwork helped solve the memory/deductive logic puzzle even quicker. One puzzle was more a ‘task’ than a puzzle – as long as you followed the instructions, you would solve them. The final ‘challenge’ (can I use that word to describe it?) was clearly written from a Chinese perspective (the owners of Lost Space are Chinese). Trapspringer, who lived Hong Kong for a while, said he could have guessed the answer at the start of the game, had he known what the end puzzle requires. We finished the room under 30 minutes, placing us as the record holders.

As I said in previous reviews, we don’t mind easy puzzles. Escape rooms deal with all sorts of people and it is fine to be easy. Our issue with Looking for Venus was the lack of atmosphere and the sensation that there was no effort at all to decorate the place whatsoever. The room felt like it was built (improvised?) on the cheap with items  bought from a sale. I don’t know how much it would cost to have columns, vases or any other Roman-like stuff, but a room with such a theme deserved more than what we saw. Maybe with GOOD investment, Venus can became a good game.

Unfortunately we did not play the other rooms at Lost Space to see if the issues in Venus extended to the entire venue. However, we believe escape room businesses should not offer a game half-baked and probably no where near the standard of the other rooms. This experience also highlighted to us the importance of good staff. The only reason we had fun was because our gamemaster was super passionate, so we just kept playing and laughed off the situation. She gets a thumbs up for sure.

Lost Space had the cheapest prices per player in Florence (20 Euros), where we also tried Adventure Rooms and Fox in a Box. Our advice is to spend a bit more and get a more elaborate game. If you happen to try Lost Space’s other rooms, let us now what you thought of them in the Comments section!

 

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster was very passionate, gave us a good briefing and was quick to answer the walkie-talkie. Debriefing was also well done. She was the best part of the experience.

Communication: Lost Space gives you a walkie-talkie to talk to the gamemaster. However, you can only ask for hints if you find two little plastic arrows hidden in the room. We only found one, so we could not ask for hints. Fortunately, we did not need any to finish the room.

Surroundings: Lost Space is located near 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 original Birth of Venus by Botticelli (pictured below) at Uffizzi Gallery and the statue of David of Michelangelo at the Academia. If you go to those places, our advice is to book for a tour. You’ll skip the massive lines and tour guides in Florence are very knowledgeable in their history.

Botticelli-The-Birth-of-Venus-c.-1482

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