Location: Raleigh, NC
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-5)
Price: $28 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Castles, Card Games, and Crimes Most Foul
David Perrin, President of the Banque Nationale de Paris, has been murdered! Your crack team of crime scene investigators have been called in to the historic Castle of Loches to quickly deduce who the murderer is and bring them to justice. Your superiors want this done quickly, as they don’t want the castle’s reputation sullied by this event. Stay organized and gather the evidence, and you might just be able to solve the mystery in time!
As we’ve spoken about in our previous Tower Escapes reviews, their location is quite the draw. The old water tower is great for historically based rooms, and the location for The Castle of Loches is based on an actual site in France. The stonework inside the room provides and excellent environment for this adventure, and we’re always happy to engage with a room that has roots based in history!
The Castle of Loches is definitely The Tower Escapes’ most elaborate set, but it is still a no frills affair, with everything included in the room being important to solving the mystery. We were told up front that we should be careful and only move that which we felt we needed to, as there were clues which were in certain spots for a reason. We are generally against destructible state puzzles like this, but we appreciated the heads up, and as we progressed through the room, it became more clear what was moveable and what should stay put. For the most part, anything that needed to stay put was also affixed, keeping our anxiety about moving something important low.
This room also contained some of the most original puzzles The Tower Escapes has to offer. While there are a few excellent technical moments, the majority of the room is very mechanical, but this plays into the room’s favor as it is better able to hide the amazing ah ha moments that some of the puzzles deliver. Most interactions are highly tactile and utilize the space they are contained within well. The game itself begins with an ever so slightly non-linear run of puzzles that quickly become linear, but the linearity allows the flow of the room to be gated well, delivering new clues at a steady and appropriate pace. The final puzzle is highly intuitive and allows for a fun climax to the room, validating your sleuthing when the door satisfyingly pops open.
One of the worst things to come across in a room is a trick lock that isn’t clued properly. Luckily, our group has seen almost all of them and know how to open the vast majority, so half of us were able to quickly solve the one that was included in Castle of Loches. However, newer players might be incredibly lost at this point as most trick locks are designed to be puzzled over for a long time and generally aren’t a good fit for escape rooms. There’s also a very small bit of outside knowledge, but this is easily overcome at the end of the game. One puzzle is a repeat of another Tower Escapes room, damaging some of the value of having a separate game, though most casual players will tend not to come across this problem. One particular puzzle was problematic as there was exactly zero logical clues to tie into its solving, however, after chatting with the owner about this particular interaction, we’re confident that a more logical and well clued puzzle will come from a new iteration.
The Castle of Loches is a good escape adventure that, as of our escape, had a few bumpy issues here and there. Luckily, after speaking to the owner and giving our feedback after the game, I’m very confident that he was open to our suggestions and will iterate the room to ensure that these problems are quickly ironed out, if they haven’t been resolved already! The toughest room at The Tower Escapes, The Castle of Loches is definitely not for the uninitiated, but I think with a couple of rooms under your belt, you’ll be ready to take it on! Enthusiasts will find some really original puzzles to engage with, and I recommend giving this one a shot. Gather your team of investigators and solve the mystery here!
Full Disclosure: The Tower Escapes comped our tickets for this room.