Date completed: October 2017 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!
Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 7.5; Atmosphere: 9; Fun: 9.
- 2-5 players (we recommend 2-3)
- Fluent English
- Acute Senses
- Familiarity with Sherlockian lore enhances the experience
It is very probable that 221B Baker Street is one of the most famous addresses in the world. If you were a young investigator in London in 1885, that is where you should go to if you discovered that an evil genius was trying to bomb your city, and that is the story behind this immersive game in Quest Room. Investigation shows that Professor Moriarty plans to explode a bomb somewhere in London and players are sent by Scotland Yard to consult Sherlock Holmes – but he is not there. Not to fear! Sherlock has left guidance and clues on his investigation. It is up to the players to think like the brilliant detective, act like him… and be completely Sherlocked.
There are many good things to be said about Sherlocked: seamless tech, beautiful setting and fun. For a fan of detective stories like myself, it was specially pleasant to see one of my favourite characters so well represented in a game – both his good and polemic aspects.
The game starts in Baker Street, outside of Sherlock’s house. Within an area that London streets, our first task was actually to find a way to get into 221B. The lighting, decor and tasks you are required to perform were an starter to what we would experience inside: a very hands-on game.
Differently from most detective theme escape rooms we’ve seen before, in Sherlocked we were not investigating a crime or solving a mystery that had occurred in the past. We were actually part of a story that was going on at that very moment. More than mere gatherer of clues or observers of the narrative, we were well into it. Every time we interacted with the environment the way Holmes would have done, something would pop up and give us guidance to the next step. There were no traditional number locks in this room, and most objects seemed taken directly from the books and movies: his famous hat, the violin, the scientific equipment. There were direct references to major stories, such as “A Study in Scarlet” and “The Return of Sherlock Holmes”.
Having said that, knowledge of Sherlock Holmes stories did help with a some tasks that were not very intuitive, as well as understanding the more ‘abstract’ parts of the room. It is not mandatory though, and the game is solvable even if you do not know elementary things about Watson and his friend. You may have to apply one of Holmes famous quotes: “when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Gameplay in Sherlocked was very linear and there was a lot to read between one task and another. It would be a problem in a less immersive room, but the way the actions unfolded around us actually worked with the narrative we uncovered. Trapspringer and I basically played with every prop that was not marked as ‘don’t touch’, and the embedded tech worked flawlessly. The decoration of the room resembled the Victorian style of the stories and the Sherlock Holmes Museum in London, with the sort of intricate equipment that you would expect in house of The Great Detective. A number of elements we interacted with also made (non-essential) references to the news and current affairs from that time as well. It was a nice touch.
Playing with two worked well for this game, which is a better fit for smaller groups. There was a lot of interpretation, logic, decryption and basic math involved – none resulting in traditional lock combinations. I can’t actually remember if there was any combo lock in this room. The tasks, as well as the puzzles, were very creative and uncommon. We admired Quest Room’s work with Sherlock’s character, which was written by Conan Doyle with multiple facets: genius, chemist, bee keeper, sociopath, wrestler, musician, drug addict. While most escape rooms limit themselves to the genius detective stereotype, this game made creative use of other aspects of Sherlock’s personality. We mention this because there is a part of the game that may seem to clash with the setting until you think about who Sherlock is. If you make the connection, it’s actually quite well done.
Our search skill almost failed us during the game and we needed a nudge from gamemaster Andrew to go on in our adventure, but most of the time, the game flow was very smooth. We managed to summon our inner detectives and stop the Napoleon of crime from blowing London up with a few minutes to spare, and apparently our performance in the final puzzle was quite good, according to the venue owner, Nikita.
This room was strong all-round and one of the highlights of our Brisbane trip. It is surely good for escape room enthusiasts, and even better if you are a Sherlock fan. I am one of those people that notice when the dog does not bark, so I thought it was great.
In Quest Room we also played Escape the Jigsaw.
Out of the room
Service: Andrew was an attentive, welcoming gamemaster. There were lockers for our belongings and water. After the game we had a very nice chat with the owner, Nikita, who is very switched on to different styles of rooms. He told us about future plans and his style of game design, and we would surely go back to Quest Room to try more.
Communication: A walkie-talkie radio is provided to facilitate communications with the gamemaster. Hints are unlimited, but to appear in Quest Room’s leader board the room must be solved without clues.
Surroundings: Quest Rooms is a short walk away from Brisbane Southbank Parklands, one of the most beautiful areas in the city. Its public artificial beach and the flowery arborized land create the perfect area to relax, refresh yourself from the Queensland heat and chat about escape rooms with friends.
(Photo: Visit Brisbane)