Salzburg, Aug 2017
Scavengers Escape’s Salzburg branch has three games, and our choice to play the Mozart one was mainly dictated by timing and by it being described as the hardest of their games. It seemed likely to be another game based around padlocks and old furniture, and broadly it was – but though traditional, it was also a solid and satisfying game.
Our host introduced the room and story with gusto, throwing herself into the role. We were detectives hired to retrieve a valuable manuscript of sheet music, from the chambers of the collector suspected of stealing it. It was therefore officially a modern day setting, though with decor and theming of a much more period style, and plenty of classical music references throughout.
Hints were given via an intercom device built into a piece of furniture in the corner. The host’s attention seemed sometimes distracted by managing groups arriving or leaving, but that didn’t interfere badly with the couple of times we needed help, and despite that the gamemastering was one of the venue’s strengths.
Period furniture is often a lazy choice for escape game design, where a room has been built by acquiring a job lot of second hand desks and cabinets and slapping padlocks on them. Mozart’s Mystery keeps a much higher standard of design with genuinely nice furniture and decorations, though let down a little by a tendency to use simple white stickers to add clues to objects, and by a musical instrument so out of tune the game’s namesake composer would be horrified to be associated with it.
I’d got the impression from word of mouth that Scavengers Escape would be an unimpressive venue, but it comfortably beat my expectations. In fact, the two rooms I played in Salzburg made an interesting contrast, being perhaps a similar level of quality but for very different reasons; where the strength of the other was in its novel and showy tech, Mozart was fun in a more intellectual way.
On one hand the game uses a series of escape room tropes that more jaded enthusiasts may find same old, same old. But classics of the genre are classics for a reason, and this game uses them well. A couple of weaker puzzles and a slightly slow start to the game didn’t prevent it being a satisfying game that we were glad we’d made time for.