Date completed: April 2017 (5 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 7.5; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 8
- No language required; hints in English or Spanish (Castillian)
- 2-5 players
It’s 1936, the Spanish Civil War is raging and Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Familia basilica, then under construction (as it still is now), is attacked by Anarchist militias! They set the workshop of the genius Antoni Gaudi on fire, and you have one hour to recover his architectural plans for the Sagrada Familia from complete destruction.
A number of escape room venues in Spain tap into the rich local history to provide inspirations for their rooms. In Gaudi’s Secret, Lock-Clock draws upon events which marked the development and continue to affect the construction of Barcelona’s landmark attraction. If you have visited the city before, you will be familiar with many items in this recreated workshop.
Gaudi’s Secret is set in a beautiful and well-lighted room that represents the Catalan architect’s studio. There is a beautiful model of the basilica in the center and plenty of work tools around. The stained glass window, which resembles the ones created by Gaudi at Casa Battló and Palau Güell, are especially attractive for the eyes, even if some of these elements were blatantly components of a puzzle.
As in Lock-Clock’s other room, Aztec Treasure, realistic historical elements are brought into the design of the decor and puzzles in the escape room. A fair amount of venues in Spain follow that trend (as we also covered in the review for Barcelocked), and we believe it can create quite unique experiences. For travelling players such as ourselves, it is a win-win situation: we learn more about the region while having fun with our escape hobby. To bring that point home, the Gaudi walking tour we took the day before we played Gaudi’s Secret turned out to be incredibly useful in a certain part of the game. As with all good escape rooms, this knowledge was not something players would have to be equipped with, however, it was obvious that the game designers knew the subject matter.
The puzzles and the associations were not overly difficult. However, the main challenge of the room lay in the last part of the game. It was a major puzzle combining many of the previous puzzles throughout the game. This was not done in the stereotypical manner of combining pieces you find into an end puzzle. In this instance, they managed to get all the main parts of the game leading to this point to become a pretty neat (and difficult) association and deductive exercise.
Gaudi’s Secret was also fairly creative in executing puzzles with traditional escape room concepts in an unusual fashion. There were not many physical tasks in this room, but the one that required a bit of it was the source of a nice “a-ha!” moment.
The gamemastering at Lock-Clock was smooth and the only issue we experienced was fixed through some prompt advice and did not result in breaking the flow of the game. Our gamemaster was fairly nervous about her level of English, but her doubts were unfounded. She was fluent and we didn’t have any issues along the game.
As the clock ticked towards 45 minutes, we managed to save the plans for the Sagrada Familia and got out excitedly (ready to recover some lost treasures in Aztec Treasure)! We did not have a chance to try Lock-Clock’s newest room, After Party, which seemed great for bucks/hens parties: you wake up in a trashed apartment and have no recollection of the previous night – only that you were going out with friends. Maybe on a future trip to Barcelona!
Out of the room
Service: Our gamemasters were really nice and did their best to make our multi-lingual group comfortable. The reception area is very large and Lock-Clock often runs art exhibitions and music presentations in parallel with the rooms. Check their website and Facebook page to see any extra activities going on. They have a cafe there too.
There are lockers for belongings and the toilets are spacious and clean.
Communication: Gaudi’s Secret Treasure can normally run in English or Spanish (Castillian), but if requested beforehand, there are gamemasters fluent in Catalan (the language spoken in Barcelona), Italian, French and Russian. Hints will come through the sound system if you ‘speak to the walls’.
Surroundings: The venue is located in the Gothic Quarter, also know as the Old City. We highly recommend having a map or a navigation app to walk around! Many companies run free walking tours in the area, a great source of information about Barcelona’s history.
You will also be at walking/subway distance from Paseo de Gracia, an avenue that hosts two of the most famous creations by Gaudi: Casa Batlló (on the right) and Casa Milà (La Pedrera). We highly recommend booking in advance and facing the huge crowd to visit one of these sites – there is a reason their are considered masterpieces of architecture. We entered Casa Batlló and loved the legends around its conception. Do think it was inspired by the wonders of the ocean, or by the scales of Saint George’s dragon?