Amsterdam Catacombs has been lauded as one of the world’s premiere horror-based escape rooms, with some even describing it as the very best! Like many similar experiences, they had to drastically change how they operate when Covid 19 hit, and as such, took it online. This means that now you don’t have to be in The Netherlands to give this a shot… so we sent Hugh and his team into the murky depths to check it out.
Descending the ancient stony steps of The Postoornkerk Church in Amsterdam, the darkness rises up to meet us like an old friend welcoming us home.
The camera crackles slightly as our plucky avatar, Dr David Fimblewood, enters a hidden room in the dimly lit catacombs of the holy building. He nervously chats to us through the screen in a continuous bid to reassure himself that everything is fine.
But everything is not fine.
Candles flicker ominously in front of skulls resting on an old, dusty piano. There’s something wrong in this room, something off; a feeling that Dr Fimblewood is not alone. As your eyes scan the corners of the chamber, you notice something that sends a chill through your bones so powerful that it can be felt across the ocean.
A dark and dusty coffin sits undisturbed and silent.
But for how long?
Welcome to Logic Locks’ multi award-winning escape room ‘Amsterdam Catacombs’, beamed live from Amsterdam to your sitting room in order to stave off the twin demons of lockdown and boredom.
In the before-times (which I think will be the correct way of describing the pre-COVID era) you could visit the catacombs yourself with an intrepid group and try to solve the mysteries within.
What Logic Locks have brilliantly done is transform that experience into an online escape room, where you will guide the affable Dr David Fimblewood (a funny and engaging guide who provided a lot of much needed levity in the dark) as he breaks in to the church and contends with the horrors within.
What follows is what can best be described as a 90-minute interactive movie where we help solve tricky puzzles and uncover some disturbing secrets in the tunnels beneath the city.
There are shades of the 2014 film As Above So Below in the staging of the rooms, and the POV camera gives this a very eerie ‘found footage’ vibe throughout. To say more would spoil a story rich in genre treats and scares and really deserves to be discovered with as little forewarning as possible. Suffice to say, this is a treat for horror fans that will scare and delight with aplomb.
A party of four of us ventured into the unknown in Amsterdam and found the game to be tough but fair. Whenever we hit a particularly obtuse puzzle, the good Doctor would give us enough time to work it out before nudging us towards a solution if we hit an impasse. The puzzles range from the straightforward to the surprisingly challenging, and open ears and a notepad are a must for your quest.
The rooms are decorated and designed beautifully, with the added bonus that they actually do reside inside an ancient church adding to the creep factor; never do you feel that you are dealing with props and artifice, the guys at Logic Locks are to be commended for their attention to detail.
A willing attitude is also imperative to the enjoyment of the room. Our hardy band were delighted to play along with the game’s conceit and threw ourselves into some of the more outlandish supernatural moments of the game that really came to life and supplied some wonderful chills. Even though sitting at home playing the game, this gave the experience a very immersive quality that really came to the fore when some of the underground tunnel’s darker elements came into play.
As the story builds to a crescendo and moves into its final phase, there is a real sense of panic and urgency that threatens to explode from the screen. My only complaint is that we couldn’t be there in person to face the horror that lies in the final room (though in truth, perhaps it’s for the betterment of my underwear that we weren’t).
This was the first time I had ever attempted an escape room and found it enormously fun and engaging. The guys at Logic Locks were very helpful and friendly (after a slight technical snafu, they went above and beyond in getting us up and running) and gave us a night that we won’t soon forget.
If you are looking for an exciting challenge that you can engage in with your friends while still socially distancing, I cannot recommend Amsterdam Catacombs highly enough. A brilliant way to spend an evening… just make sure you keep your wits about you to ensure that it isn’t your last.
By Hugh McStay
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