This review of The Test was based on a visit from January 2016.
An alien life force has been experimenting with the human DNA. They tempered with few of us and mixed their genes with ours. You are being abducted to complete the tests and find out if it was successful. Are you intelligent enough to represent our species? If you pass you will be set free.
Never mind all that. This room is known as (probably) the first to advertise itself as having no padlocks. And that’s not subtle wordplay meaning they have combination locks instead of key locks. They genuinely don’t have a single ‘lock’ in the room. They then later upped the claim they don’t have any furniture either (I’m not sure why aliens would transcend furniture but hey ho). This is also largely true assuming you don’t class shelves/storage units as furniture, and these are really only there to avoid putting things on the floor; there’s no locks there either.
So if there’s no locks then how does it work? Well the aliens test your intelligence by giving you (almost) everything you’ll need to pass the test, and tasking you with figuring out how to use it all. This is non-linear room design taken to the extreme. But that’s not to say that it’s simply a matching up exercise. Once you’ve worked out what to do there’s still an element of solving as well, and in some cases the puzzles are pretty difficult. Because of the approach there’s not much in the way of story, but once you open the safe (the one locked item in the room, apart from your exit door) you discover something that will shed a different light on what you’ve seen so far, which is pretty clever.
We escaped the room in just over 40 minutes without taking any clues. I always like achieving a ‘flawless victory‘ and it was of particular delight to the the owner, who’d been told by previous visitors it would be impossible without a hint.
Does this room work? Yes and no. It was reasonably enjoyable, and very interesting, but felt like ‘having no locks’ was more important to it than just being good. I’ve already mentioned the lack of story (it’s very much just a room full of puzzles) and the lack of furniture left the room feeling a bit cold and stark (especially with the slightly overwhelming blue colour scheme). As we move ‘beyond the padlock’ rooms should have fewer of them because real life isn’t full of padlocks. But real life is full of stories, and if those require things being locked away sometimes then we shouldn’t artificially avoid that.
I would recommend this room to experienced teams who are looking for a challenge and something a bit different. Newer players might find it a bit much both in terms of difficulty and weirdness.
Want a second opinion? Check out TheLogicEscapesMe’s review here.