Room review: Encounter: The Boutique

This review is left here merely as a record.

Their description: A murder has just occurred in a boutique involving the sales representative, Miss Rochelle. The forensic team arrived earlier to mark out the crucial evidence. As police inspectors you will be the next team to arrive at the scene.

Will you be able to solve this murder case? Or was it even a murder in the first place?

Encounter’s consistent strength, across its rooms, is in achieving a realistic setting. In that aspect, at least, The Boutique delivers. In a less well-designed room, a low signal to noise ratio might be frustrating; in The Boutique, the extraneous information simply feels like a natural part of, well, being in a boutique. Nor does it get in the way of puzzle-solving. Like Encounter’s other rooms, you aren’t meant to blindly search for things. Rather, by observing the setting, you realise what you need to zero in on.

All this makes the start of The Boutique fairly satisfying, though teams might feel a little lost at first since the puzzles aren’t obvious.

But then there are some weaknesses. An early puzzle is disappointingly tedious; a mid-stage one has enough ambiguity that you can know exactly what to do yet fail in the execution, which is always a frustrating place to be in. If you’ve done Encounter’s other rooms, certain parts of this room (not the puzzles, to be fair) might also feel a little familiar.

That’s not to say that it was a bad room. The puzzles don’t require unfair leaps of logic, there’s a nice undercurrent of suspense (tamer than The Apartment and The Hospital, if you’re wondering), and Encounter continues to pay scrupulous attention to the storyline. You’ll find some answer to the mystery, if you make it to the end…

In all, the room is WORTH A TRY, though not one of Encounter’s stronger offerings.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 3.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 3/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3.5/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 8
My suggested number of players: 3 to 4

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