The Mystery Rooms: Chapter 2 – The Medieval Quest [Review]

mystery-headerlogoLocation: The Mystery Rooms, Fitzroy (Melbourne), VIC, Australia

Date completed: June 2017 (4 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 10Difficulty: 7.5 to 8.5; Atmosphere: 8; Fun: 9.

Requirements:

  • Fluent English
  • 4-6 players
  • One player not colour blind

In the second part of Mystery Room’s adventure to restore the separation between the real world and fantasy world, players are invited to join the Knights of the Round Table and discover what happened to the legendary sword, Excalibur. Chapter 2 – The Medieval Quest is a huge game set in Camelot,  and players must use Merlin’s magic to help King Arthur and recover Excalibur, a talisman for Strength.

Although it is called Chapter 2, Medieval Quest was the first game we played at Mystery Rooms. The three first chapters can be played in any order and the numbers are more of an indicative of “era” (older history first) and difficulty (easiest first). We ventured through Avalon with a couple of friends who were facing an escape room for the first time, and the four of us had a blast until the last thrilling seconds!

Our team of valorous knights (of the round office desk, most of the time…) started the adventure in a grey, stony chamber. A letter from Merlin contained the first clues we had to advance in our quest to recover Excalibur. The first chamber of The Medieval Quest contained some obvious puzzles, however, these were very useful in allowing our friends to get a feel for escape rooms. Trapspringer and I were quite impressed with how quickly our companions switched on into “escape” mode.  They were already discerning which elements of the environment were important by the middle of the second puzzle.

Once we solved the first chamber, a gate led us to a new area, and by the beard of Merlin, it was huge! Mystery Rooms says The Medieval Quest is the largest escape room in Melbourne, and they are probably right. The place resembles a room in a medieval castle, with nice decoration and stained glasses. Although it was spacious, the pressure started mounting when we saw the amount of puzzles ahead of us. And it seemed there were still plenty of places to explore.

THEMEDIEVALQUESTFULLAs per recommendation of our gamemaster, one of us went straight to investigate the puzzle involving the Round Table while the others explored the rest of the room. That was sound advice  as that puzzle was quite complex and elaborate. People familiar with Arthurian lore might be able to identify some elements quicker, but no external knowledge is necessary. The flow of the game in this area was non-linear and puzzles there could be solved in any order, allowing groups up to 6 people to be busy at all times.

Overall,  the puzzles in Medieval Quest were clever and varied. Many of them were inspired by Camelot or classic medieval fantasy settings.  Those puzzles inspired by elements of nature were more hands on and creative in execution – they were definitely very memorable and quite original in two instances. For those players who are brainiacs, deduction and logic puzzles will also feature prominently. Regardless, almost all of the puzzles required some form of physical interaction.

If things become too complicated, you can request support from one of the most creative gamemaster interactions we’ve seen to date.  Players will probably identify where to ask for help once they enter the second area and it was built in a way that made us almost whisper for clues. But because we were valorous and pure-hearted knights, enlightenment reached us every time! The participation of an in-character gamemaster in Medieval Quest was brilliant. Although other rooms around the world do it, this was the first time we’ve seen a gamemaster playing different roles. Furthermore, we found out after the game that Mystery Rooms have cleverly designed a subtle method of allowing the gamemaster to adjust the difficulty of The Medieval Quest should it become necessary. They do this seamlessly and invisibly – players won’t even become aware of their intervention. This clever and flexible game design makes this room suitable for beginners and experienced players alike. It is hard to describe this in more detail without spoiling anything, but it added a lot to the fun and to the atmosphere of the game.

We finished Medieval Quest with the clock ridiculously close to 60 minutes with the gamemaster counting down out loud. By the end of it, we were sweaty and breathing really quickly, but we recovered the Excalibur, the talisman of Strength. We would later recover the talisman of Wisdom in Chapter 1 – The Lost Tomb, after which we would go on to search for missing talisman of Courage in Chapter 3 – The Last Stand. Mystery Rooms is building a fourth room, to be playable by those who finish the initial 3 chapters. We will try it as soon as possible!

Out of the room

IMG_1267
The wood cabin waiting area

Service: Our gamemaster gave us a straightforward and easy to understand briefing, which was easily understood by our two friends who were first time escapees.

The large waiting area, which was made to look like a wood log cabin, had a number of amenities including a kettle, tea, water, biscuts and other puzzles for brain warm up. There was even a toilet room in the shape of Tardis. With a Where’s Waldo poster on the inside wall. Someone has a sense of humour there. 🙂

There are lockers for personal belongings  and a bar area in the front part of the venue which connects all three quests.

Communication: As indicated in the review, The Medieval Quest has one of the most brilliant hinting mechanisms we have come across. At different sections of the room, players will be able to interact with the gamemaster in different ways matching the theme and what is going on.

Surroundings: Mystery rooms is located in Fitzroy, accessible by public transport and a 10min walk from famous Lygon Street, where you can find the best Italian restaurants in Melbourne. Make sure to recharge energies there, it’s totally worth it!

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