Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to go on Honeymoon and play an escape room but while visiting Barcelona, there was no way that I could go without the chance to play one of the raved about games around, La Mina, the 90 minute game at Unreal Room Escape. This would be our first international game and we had no real idea of what to expect. We arrived at a backstreet of Barcelona, ominous of what we were going to find as soon as we pressed the doorbell to be let in…………..
For more than a hundred years, the St. Louis Mine was used as a source of mineral resources, until an unexpected explosion caused all its workers to be trapped inside. Since then many are those have speculated with all kinds of hypotheses about the event . The company Dunklerde has managed to reopen the Mine and has expressed its commitment to take over the recovery of all the victims who were trapped in the place. However, its real ends are not entirely clear, since according to expert voices, the Mine no longer has as many mineral resources as before. This situation has fuelled the old rumours of the existence of a strange and valuable source of minerals in the Mine, which is why some claim that the real objective of this company is to find them. Will the rumours be true? What mysteries does the St. Louis Mine hide?
The sign next to the bell quite clearly tells you that you need to wait until all your group has arrived before ringing it. So, we followed the instructions and we waited, we waited a little more and then the door swung open and we were welcomed inside by a mine worker who was very hurried and very panicked about what was going on inside the mine. It very quickly became apparent that the game has already begun and that this company were big on theatrics. After our brief but useful introduction by our host (in excellent English too), we were left to begin our journey into the St Louis mine. Now, this is going to be a very difficult review to write because I don’t want to give away anything at all about what goes on inside the mine. What I can say is that this place will blow your mind. With any 90 minute game, you expect a good number of puzzles but the sheer number we encountered was unreal and not only that, the sheer amount of ground you cover to do so is insane. Many companie would be jealous of this floor space for multiple games let alone for one! This is one of the biggest rooms we’ve played and the use of space is incredible. If you are an inexperienced group of players, you need to bring a larger group to help with all the puzzles that need solving. We played as an experienced two and felt we really gelled with the game. We quickly picked up on a lot of clues and this resulted in us make fairly rapid progress. Our only stumbling blocks came when we were met with points where we had to do something that we’d never been asked to do in an escape room before. It’s a little bit like when you meet water in a room and you doubt yourself.
‘If I pour this in here…..’
There is at least one occasion in the room where you come across a similar situation. Here though, you can cause irreparable damage to the item. We were VERY hesitant about it but after a nudge from our host, it seemed we were right!
Searching is another very important part of the game and with such a vast area, you can become overwhelmed about where you need to look. Communication is key here. We found that one person picked up an item that we didn’t need until much later on but it took me a good 20 minute to realise they’d picked it up in the first place. The room has a great mix of normal and unique. Enough of the norm for you to get some quick wins but some really unique puzzles to get you thinking. There were three or four moments in the game where we came across something we hadn’t seen before. It shows the level of thought that has gone into the game play.
“But what about the language?” I hear you cry. There are a few puzzles in the game that do require reading but the great news is that they all have English translation. Even better, they make perfect sense. We didn’t find an issue with understanding any of the game at any point. All was perfectly understandable.
I’ve already mentioned the sheer size of the game and the space does mean that there are times where you will need to revisit areas. Without giving anything away, it also means that your host can manipulate an environment you’ve already visited. Imagine our surprise when we returned to a familiar location only to find that it has changed from when we were last there! Wow and aha moment abound in this room.
The games master has a really difficult job in this game. Not only are they are monitoring you over a vast area, there is a large number of effects they are involved in initiating, the alteration of the physical space as it plays out and also as your guide. Clues are given to you over a walkie talkie. We were given a nudge in the right direction a couple of times and asked for help once but other than that we were left to get on with the game. A sign of a really good host.
This is potentially the best themed room we’ve ever been in. The level of theatrics used in the room is astounding and there were points where the set was so realistic that you couldn’t work out where you were going to go next. It was flawless. It didn’t take long for us to forget we were in a building in Barcelona. You genuinely feel like you are heading deeper and deeper into a mine. The effects used in the game immerse you further and further in. Then, there is the dirt. Yes, this is a really dirty mine. Don’t go in your Sunday best because you will come out dirty, they have really gone to those lengths! Puzzles in the game were perfectly themed to the environment. Much of them were built into the game to look like working mine equipment too. I cannot say enough about how much work has gone into the recreation of this place!
If you find yourself in Barcelona and itching to play a game, I can’t recommend this one enough. Although not in the centre of the city it is easy to get to using the local transportation system. It’s also conveniently located right next to a shopping centre for anyone who might not want to play with you. But one word of warning, you will get dirty and you will get hot, make sure to play at a time when you are either heading back to your hotel or you are getting changed afterwards. This has hit my number one all time favourite game. With new venues opening in the city soon and The Narcos on the same sight, I doubt this will be the last time we visit Unreal Escape Rooms.
Escaped: 75 minutes