Keysroom: La Fortaleza [Review]

logotipo_keysLocation: Keysroom, Pontevedra, Spain

Date completed:  April 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 9.5 (10 for 2 players); Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 9

Requirements:

  • Intermediate Spanish
  • 2-5 players
  • One player not colourblind
  • One player with full mobility

When a nuclear disaster is about to happen, what do you do? You infiltrate your enemies headquarters, steal the plans and save the world, right? Not really. In La Fortaleza (“The Fortress”), you and your team try to do it and get caught! Now you are in double trouble: you need to find a way to unlock yourself AND avoid a huge explosion!

La Fortaleza is one of the most intense and puzzle-overloaded games we’ve played to date. It is really hard to finish in time with 2 people, not because the puzzles are ultra-hard (they are more on the medium level), but due to the enormous amount of them. We managed to unlock 2 minutes of bonus time and really needed it! But you know what? Loads of puzzles also mean loads of fun! We enjoyed every minute and blasted through the fortress, where Trapspringer’s perfect aim was really handy!

The game started with us chained to the walls by our waists (?!), in a wooden cell. From the first seconds, teamwork was essential to advance. Right in the starting area there were already elements which would be important along the game, so check everything around you. Once we freed yourselves, the puzzle craziness began! In the cell and the corridor alone, we already found 4 or 5 puzzles.

Although very exaggerated, the decoration of the main area fortress was one of the most interesting depictions of a stronghold we have found in a escape room. The people from Keysroom probably took their time to buy items from military disposal stores. They may also have a lot of work in resetting their rooms, because props are everywhere! Within this militaristic theme, some things appeared to be just decoration, but they were not. Look at every little mask, bullet, map and poster you can find!

fortalezaMost of the puzzles in La Fortaleza were of the association type. While this kind of puzzle tends to be the one we solve quicker, the variations on the types of associations were cool – way beyond matching numbers or colours. To a lesser extent, dexterity and observation were also important skills in this room. We were surprised that some props were quite tiny for such a large room, and when one of them rolled under a bunk bed, we almost froze in fear of never finding it again! There were other props which are chunky, though.

The game was mostly non-linear and allowed players to follow different  layered paths at the same time, which is essential in a game with so many puzzles. I focused on the ones that required a bit of maths or language (there is a puzzle that requires the ability to read Spanish), while Trapsringer solved most of the physical ones. At some points, paths converged and teamwork was required. Playing with only two, it literally required some stretching! People with basic geography and facility to think out of the box may get to some solutions quicker then others.

As mentioned, the room was very large and required us to move around a lot. The puzzles were fairly physically interactive and would at times be spread out. With two players, this required us to have a good memory to remember where everything was. The challenge for us was to think very quickly on what we found and to then associate it with some part of the room in the shortest time possible. Although teams with more players could cover more, communication will become an issue and I could foresee chellenges in keeping everyone informed of what is laying around, what has been covered and what has not. Choose your teammates well!

We were on a roll and completed puzzles in La Fortaleza almost as quickly as we were finding them. Even so, the 2 minutes extra time was needed for us to get through the final bit and we did not have one millisecond to take a break at any point during the game. Completing the game with minimal time left, we took a (necessary) small break before trying to prevent a 24 Days Later style zombie outbreak in Keysroom’s Rabia.

Out of the room

Service: On the day we played, Keysroom had an entire team of female GMs that were extremely nice and did all they could to accommodate us at a late game slot and to communicate with us in English. If you book in advance, you can ask for an English-speaking GM on their website. as we got there last minute, we did a mix of English and Spanish.

There was fresh water and hot coffee for players. You leave your belongings in the game briefing area, which is locked.

Communication: In case you need a hint, you say “pista” (“hint” in Spanish) out loud and the GMs will send you a message through a screen. If you need an English-speaking GM, write it on the “special requirements” area while booking on the website.

Surroundings: Keysroom is very close to Pontevedras’s city centre, which has a nice mix of modern commerce and historical places. The city is in the Portuguese route of the Camino de Santiago, and many of the churches in the city are related to the pilgrimage. The Church of the Pilgrim Virgin, with its round walls, is worth a visit.

 

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