Date completed: March 2016 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 7; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 7.5
- Intermediate English or Italian (for hints)
- 2-5 players
- Full mobility
We surely lost count of how many locks we have opened since we started playing escape rooms, a bit more than a year ago. So, when our gamemaster in Trap Milano said The Pyramid had no locks at all, we were quite surprised. “Not even one?”. Nope. An entire room with a lot of puzzles, but no keys and no number locks to open. Wouldn’t it be enough to call your attention?
Besides that, The Pyramid also has a very interesting story. A pharaoh named Hor had no descendants, so he built a pyramid full of challenging enigmas. Whoever could get out of that mysterious trap would be worth of the throne of Egypt and would become the next pharaoh. Those who perished had their souls lost in the underworld forever.
As spending the rest of eternity inside a pyramid is not our idea of a nice afterlife, we did our best to tackle the challenges of The Pyramid. It was not easy: it took us a good while (almost half an hour) to readjust our mindsets to a zero-lock room.
“Why?”, you may ask. Trapspringer and I normally use basic cryptography concepts to solve puzzles in escape rooms. First of all, we map the results we must achieve. What do we need to go on? A normal key? A 4-digit combination? A letter combination? We assess that in the room and then start searching for things that may provide answers. When we can’t see an obvious objective (in this case, a lock), it is much harder to define which tasks to tackle first and how. But we eventually got there.
The room had a nice mix of logic puzzles, hands-on activities and some traditional “table puzzles” as well. Props were extremely interesting and beautifully crafted. The room had some inbuilt technology, but nothing was evident and it seemed more like “pharaoh magic”. We enjoyed this aspect, because nothing seemed out of place. The very few modern objects in the room (such as a small light) could be easily explained by the story: we were not the first expedition that entered that pyramid.
There is no need to know Italian (or any other language) to play this room. The only little piece of paper you find with some Italian text is not necessary to solve any of the puzzles. If I did not read it wrong (which is possible), the paper just talks about the previous expedition.
(Hor left many traps for you. Can you disarm them all? Photo: Trap website)
There are enough things for a large group to have fun here, and a team of 4-5 is probably ideal. They would be able to do all the searching and also work on some of the most demanding puzzles, especially at the start as the first part is completely non-linear. At some point I was dealing with “puzzle pieces” bigger than me, so extra hands will be handy (bad pun unintended)! Be also prepared for puzzles which test your senses, some formal logic, and also a good amount of physical movement. You need at least one person with full mobility to go through this room – better if you have two. People with basic astronomical knowledge may solve one of the puzzles quicker.
Our gamemaster had apologized for not speaking English very well. He shouldn’t. Not only was his English good (waaaaay better than my Italian), he also gave great hints when we needed. He did not give out any answers, but phrases we had to interpret to go on. We had fun with some of them, especially in a puzzle that we overthought things a bit! Oh, the Egyptian Gods and their funny needs! 😀
We got out of the room with 3 minutes to spare and were very impressed by our first zero-lock room. Although it was challenging for us to understand the objectives of the tasks, we always knew what to work with. There were no red herrings in this room, and one of the managers of Trap Milano explained it is part of their model. If it is in the room, it has a purpose. The debriefing after the game was very detailed.
(The entrance to The Pyramid is on the right. On the left, eerie The Tomb.)
This room is worth a visit if you go to Milan, and in case you decide to play more than one room in Trap, tackle The Pyramid before trying The Tomb. The increase in difficulty and tasks is sensible. They announced a third room (probably called Antartic) would open soon, please let us know in the comments if you have tried it because we were really curious!
Out of the room
Service: The staff at Trap Milano was very attentive and friendly. Our gamemaster was kind and explained things very well even though English was not his first language. Most of the staff had a very good level of English, besides their native Italian and some could also speak other languages.
They have a cloak cabinet behind the reception for jackets and bags, or you can bring your stuff into the room with you. According to Trapspringer, this venue also has great toilets, worth of mention in a review.
Communication: You do not talk to the gamemaster during the game. He will send hints through images or text through a screen if he believes you are stuck, and they came timely. You can also request extra hints pressing a button on the wall.
Surroundings: Trap Milano is located in the Milano Centrale region, more or less 12 minute walk from the train station. During the day there is plenty of commerce around to shop or find something to eat. The region concentrates many of Milan escape rooms, such as Trap, Secret Rooms, X-Door and Intrappola.to. From there it is very easy to take the metro to the city centre, the Duomo (Milan Cathedral) or further West to see Da Vinci’s Last Supper.
(Arrive early to visit the Duomo – lines are massive to buy entry tickets)