The Paradox Room: La Corporación Pineapple [Review]

Location: The Paradox Room, Area Central shopping centre, Santiago de CompostelaSpain logoparadox3-150x150

Date completed:  April 2017 (3 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8; Difficulty: 8.5; Atmosphere: 7.5; Fun: 8

Requirements:

  • Intermediate English or Spanish (Castillian)
  • 2-5 players
  • One player not colourblind

In a not-so-far-away future, people have the Smart Yourself app installed directly on their brain cells. It allows humans to access information, book activities, transfer data and chat via brainwaves, which is extremely handy. However, a hacker group which opposes the practice decides to expose its weaknesses in the most violent fashion possible: initiating the auto-destruction protocol of Smart Yourself and literally mindblowing the major part of humanity from the planet.

As scientists, you and your team mates have one hour to enter the HQ of the Corporación Pineapple (Pineapple Corporation), find the files of Dr. Raven, the lead scientist behind the app, and stop the auto-destruction protocol. Being such a dangerous set of codes, you will have to unlock many layers of security to succeed. It will not be an easy task! And looks like Dr. Raven is a big fan of a certain soft drink…

We entered the Corporación Pineapple through one of its offices, and one of the things we loved most about this game is how puzzles were integrated with the environment. There was a lot of (meaningful) search involved, such as finding information about where things should be based on what was happening in the story. Prepare to check every file, drawer and equipment at your reach. A very basic knowledge of computers will come handy, as you are trying to find an app deactivation protocol. But do not worry, it is indeed very basic (i.e. knowing where to click).

The game was mostly non-linear, and we could have started from many different fronts. Also, we played in Spanish (Castilian), but puzzles can be presented in English as well. After our run, the gamemaster Adrian showed us how the transition from Spanish to English game worked (because the props were not the same), and it was brilliantly simple. There was no need to add/change anything, as all required items were already in the room. The way it was made, I believe staff in charge of resetting the room would be really happy!

Although search was a strong element of this room, the variety of tasks and skills required was huge. A very rough count showed almost 30 different steps to solve the entire room, so be organized and quick! Puzzles were very layered and we collected many “parts” of puzzles before we could advance. The association puzzles were more difficult than average (which produced some good ‘a-ha’ moments once they were solved), and the observation ones required a bit of logic as well. Our deduction skills were tested at least twice. It was worth splitting efforts at some points and regroup only when we believed one of us had reached a result, because there was a lot to do!

Corporación Pineapple also poses a bonus challenge to the players: Dr. Raves is one of the safekeepers of the original formula of Poca Cola (something like “Little bit Cola” or “not-so-much-Cola”, in Spanish), a popular soft drink. If you can retrieve the formula before your time ends, not only you will have saved humanity, but found one of the biggest secrets of the world! Measure you time well, because due to how extensive the game is, it may not be worth looking for it!

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We actually found the formula AND deactivated the self-destruction protocol before the time ended. We  had just a bit more than three minutes left on the clock, and used the help of Gwendolin (a smarter cousin of Siri that send you hints through a screen when you request them) along the way. Our team was composed of three experienced players, and Corporación Pineapple was surely on the hard side of the spectrum! Our eyes, ears and voices were put to the test, as the room challenges how teams will communicate across the space after a certain point.

It was pretty late at night when we played this room. Had it been slightly earlier, we would probably have stayed a bit more to play their other game, Estación Gato Negro (Black Cat Station). In that one, you play the hackers who want to explode the Smart Yourself app. Paradox Room duel mode is actually a team of scientists versus a team of hackers, one in each of the rooms, finding out who will prevail in the end. We probably have to organize another walk towards Santiago de Compostela and play Paradox again!

Out of the room

Service: Our gamemaster Adrian was lovely and welcomed us in Spanish, but was pretty fluent in English as well. Paradox Room is located in a shopping centre, so you can find facilities such as toilets or places to have a snack just a few meters away.

Communication: To get hints in Corporación Pineapple, you talk to the walls and the “AI” Gwendolin will reply by voice and images through a screen. It is not actually an AI, but it’s quite fun. Many of the signs available for photos at the reception area make reference to Gwendolin.

Surroundings: The Area Central shopping centre, where Paradox is located, is 5-10 minute drive from the historical city of Santiago de Compostela. We got there by taxi, which is a very affordable method of transportation in Spain.

It is a bit hard to talk about Santiago de Compostela without mentioning its massive cathedral, the end point of pilgrimage many routes around Europe. We got there after finishing a 10-day walk (+- 190km) across Portugal and Spain, and the architecture of the place is incredible. If you are going just for a visit, avoid mass times (midday is reserved for pilgrims) and try to get into one of the guided tours that take you above the roofs.

Still in the city centre, towards the Plaza de Platerias, there are two parallel streets full of restaurants. Try the local dishes, they are delicious!

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