RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 1:20
A unique take on a classic art heist story puts us in charge of identifying the fakes rather than committing another crime – and this twist works *really* well!
The Room takes a different approach with their games, where, though still themed, they’re much less about story and much more about the activity.
The gallery has 18 masterpiece paintings on the walls. Some of them are forgeries. You must scavenger hunt for clues, solve challenges and ciphers to uncover hidden messages and codes to eventually escape the room.
While this may not necessarily be the next New York Times Best Seller novel, the gameplay experience proves that with the right amount of scenic and complimenting puzzles, it’s still possible to become immersed within even the lightest of storyworlds.
As leading art experts, it’s our job to investigate The Gallery and analyze each of its priceless works of art to help determine which are authentic and which are frauds. The Gallery’s very reputation depends on it before the posh opening night party planned for later this evening!
Although the scenic is a bit stronger than the story, it’s still somewhat of a light point for The Room. The Gallery exists in a single rather large rectangular space – decked out for its latest exhibit with works of art lining all its walls. Each is highlighted by an ornate lamp and labeled with a descriptive plaque.
At first glance, each piece of art is the real deal – but upon further inspection, differences from the actual originals exist to tip off the start of our investigation.
Puzzles are unquestionably where The Gallery kicks things into high gear. In a unique approach that stays solidly true to the theme, players become actual art experts, literally analyzing portraits to determine their authenticity. These fakes are good – in some cases really good. It becomes vital to identify the smallest of details out of place.
Logic puzzles and some light discovery round out the tasks in The Gallery to really give a solid total package gaming experience full of aspects that appeal to virtually any type of player. Each step along the way is logical and intuitive, remaining highly challenging for our experienced group, but not *too* much so as to scare away more novice players.
There was one rather large math equation towards the end of the game that – needless to say, we were not exactly a fan of. The lesson here, kids, is to remember to pay attention – because there was an intentionally placed advantage hidden in the room that we foolishly overlooked which would have allowed us to essentially bypass the math entirely. And yes, this was shared with us prior to entering. And yes, we clearly did not pay attention.
I’d say that means we deserved our math punishment!
The Room may not boast the most elaborate of stories or the highest scenic budget, but what they do have is arguably most important: truly compelling, unique and enjoyable gameplay that stands on its own amid its competition. The Gallery was our favorite game at The Room (though we greatly enjoyed them both) – and honestly remains near the top of our list for games to recommend within the Tampa market.
The venue’s staff and owner are incredibly enthusiastic folks who clearly have a passion for their product. Sometimes you can just tell by talking to someone for a second or two how much they care about what they do, and this was absolutely the case for the several hours we spent visiting The Room.
It’s worth noting that The Room came highly recommended to us by a reader prior to our visit. We of course always stand firm that we will form our own opinions and give every venue a fair shot – but I’d be lying if I said I don’t get excited to check a place out that someone has raved to us about. In a sense it sometimes puts those venues at a bit of a disadvantage, because we walk in with high expectations that can be difficult to meet. The Room absolutely meets those expectations, and in the case of The Gallery, with its clever and engaging gameplay, exceeds them. In a world full of duplicates, The Gallery stands out as a true work of art!
Venue: The Room
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28.50 per person
We thank The Room for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.
This review is for The Room’s Tampa location. Scenic and show quality may vary from location to location, but puzzles are the same.