By Snow & Saol
During one of our first Escape Marathon days we arrive a little excited in front of Hint Hunt's Zen Room in the very center of Paris. If you ever come by car, allow time to find a parking lot or opt for a parking lot taking into account that they are quite expensive. But be aware that by public transport it is really very accessible.
It will make us feel a little calmer after having already done other rooms of the sign just before. We are received by a smiling young MJ. At the end of the afternoon, there will be only him and us in the room. The exchange is very funny, we are in a super good mood (well what we are going to make an escape is enough to put you in an excellent mood, isn't it?).
The Zen room is the first room with an Asian touch that we play and I must admit that we can't wait. Can you imagine... an escape that offers you 1 hour in Japan without ever having to take a plane.
So we have 60 minutes to retrieve a treasure from a thief's house in Japan, it's one of those times when history doesn't really have much interest for us. 1 hour to retrieve something: that's what it comes down to.
So we enter and are pleasantly surprised by a very realistic atmosphere and decoration. We really believe we are in Japan. A soft background sound accentuates the calm atmosphere of this place, at least until the serial-escapers arrive. We start with the excavation, be careful, we were told not to take down what's on the wall, so this time one of our members proposes a foolproof excavation technique. Everything that has been searched we pile it in a corner of the room. Ok why not, that will prevent us from searching 4 times the same things (because there are some trinkets anyway).
And then Saol, in order not to do like everyone else, decides to search the pile we have searched. What a waste of time! And here he is saying every few seconds: "there's this" or "did you see this and that? "So he managed to find 5 things in the pile of things already searched! (He even found something that the MJs had lost some time ago). So our advice: search one after the other. I don't take it badly, I know that I'm blind in the search during escapes (what's this little voice that says: "not only during escapes?").
In any case take into account that there is a search, but not that. There is a lot of observation, manipulation, things to be turned upside down.
This room is playful and non-linear which is cool.
The puzzles follow one another very well, but they make us find ourselves on the final puzzle, they are interesting without being revolutionary. Most of them are related to Japan, but unfortunately they are not really integrated into the decor, which breaks the immersion a bit. But since it's not a room with a development of any kind of story either, it's not the immersion and narrative coherence that is the strong point of the room.
We finish the room in 42 minutes, marking our time on Hint Hunt's record board, which allows us to leave with a small bottle of sparkling wine.
So you should know that we don't play to win records, but sometimes the logic of the room fits us so well that we go out quickly and have fun, and that was the case here.
The Game Master takes the time to debrief with us before taking a nice picture with a lot of disguise. It will be done in the same good mood as the room itself.
To summarize: We liked this room which is not very complicated, but makes you dive into the world of Japan (not manga eh, more traditional). The puzzles are fluid, non-linear but not really coherent. It is a fairly complete room with manipulations, excavation, observation and reflection and is affordable for beginners.