Month: December 2019

Room review: Amazing Chambers: Princess Radin Mas Ayu

Full disclosure: After I emailed some unsolicited feedback on the two games I played during their soft launch, Amazing Chambers offered me 50 per cent off this room and/or 1603 Changi Naval Battle. After playing a third room (undisclosed to them), where I saw that one of my general feedback points from a previous room might indeed have been taken up, I accepted the discount for this room.

Their description: Princess Radin Mas Ayu is a tale of a beautiful Javanese princess with the plots of love, deceit and betrayal.

You secretly amassed the villagers to search Tengku Bagus’ home after receiving a tip-off about the possible kidnapping of the Princess’ father.

Discover what happens next as the plot thickens.

Amazing Chambers rate this as their second-hardest room, and I was glad to discover that this was for the right reasons. Its main strength is simply its lack of obvious flaws, allowing for unmarred satisfaction.

Unlike their Badang and Sang Nila Utama rooms, Princess Radin Mas Ayu did not have any red herrings or misleading aspects. It included multiple clever and rigorous puzzles (whereas other rooms tended to have a single standout one). Of the rooms I’ve played so far, this also required by far the closest engagement with the storyline (and I did learn a lot, having not known anything about the Radin Mas story beforehand).

I don’t want to oversell the room, mind. It still suffers from obviously anachronistic tech — though at least one instance is used to cool effect — and immersion-breaking moments. The exposition remains wall-of-text-y, although there’s more of an effort made than usual to integrate it into the setting. And despite the need for storyline engagement, most puzzles are not part of the narrative per se.

Nonetheless, out of the four rooms I’ve played so far, this is the one room at Amazing Chambers that I can say is RECOMMENDED for experienced teams, with some rewarding puzzles in store. Beginners should try one of their other rooms instead.

Puzzle difficulty: 4/5
Puzzle logic: 4/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 3/5

Their suggested number of players: Up to 10
My suggested number of players: 3 to 5. For logistical reasons, it helps (but is not strictly necessary) to have more than 2 players.

Room review: Amazing Chambers: Badang the Magnificent

Their description: If you ever had the chance to have a superpower, what would it be?

Well, step into this vortex and travel back in time to meet Badang who was blessed with superhuman strength. It was said that he gained his immense strength after he devoured something from a mystical creature. He soon gained popularity as he began to defeat many strong men in competitions and was summoned to the court of the King of Singapura, Sri Rama Wira Kerma.

In one of these competitions, Badang was said to have picked up a large smooth rock from on top of a hill and flung it so far away that it landed at the mouth of the Singapore River. The rock came to be known as the Singapura stone.

Your quest? Enter the portal and time travel to the court where Badang had been invited to stay in and you only have an hour to uncover the truth before the portal closes.

Badang the Magnificent is an interesting exercise in integrating a traditional folktale into a sci-fi time travel adventure. I did learn quite a bit about the Badang legend, having previously known little more than what’s in the description above. To this room’s credit, this information is conveyed in a more entertaining form than the walls of text that, unfortunately, at least one other Amazing Chambers room has.

The rigour of one early puzzle is compromised by a detail that felt, to me, like a deliberate red herring. There are more red herrings later on, in the form of locks that remain locked for the whole game. (I don’t consider this a spoiler, since I think the presence of unused locks — with nothing to indicate that you don’t need to unlock them — is unfair game design.)

Those are the main flaws in an otherwise decent experience that has a couple of magical moments and a cute finale. Although there’s an attempt at maintaining a storyline, you shouldn’t expect close integration of puzzles and narrative. Keep your expectations in check, and you might find this room WORTH A TRY.

Puzzle difficulty: 3/5
Puzzle logic: 3/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

Their suggested number of players: Up to 12
My suggested number of players: 2 to 4

Room review: Amazing Chambers: Sang Nila Utama and The Lost Crown

Note: This room was played during the company’s soft launch (as a regular player, without revealing that I’m a blogger). Some details may have changed since. If you’ve played it more recently and would like to share your experience, please do get in touch!

Their description: Sang Nila Utama – a Srivijayan prince from Palembang was said to have founded the kingdom of Singapura in 1299.

While his ship was out at sea, a great storm suddenly erupted and the ship was tossed about by the huge waves. On the advice of the Nakhoda (ship’s captain), Sang Nila Utama threw his crown overboard as a gift to the sea. At once, the storm died down and he reached the shores of Temasek safely.

About a century later, rumour has it that the crown, which has been kept hidden at Sang Nila’s last resting place in Bukit Larangan, has been recovered by an obsessed archaeologist who then hid it at a secure and secret location.

Infiltrate into the Archaeologist’s hidden home in the middle of the forest to retrieve the crown and discover his other hidden treasures. He may have set a trap or two to fend off any intruders. Be observant and avoid detection or you and your team will lose the chance to escape!

Sang Nila Utama and the Lost Crown feels like an Indiana Jones-themed room that happens to take the myth as a reference point — another example of how Amazing Chambers integrates folktales into broader genres. With its attempts at drama and changes of setting, this could be a fun adventure for beginners and younger players — which, to be fair, is probably its target audience. For us, though, it had a few too many flaws.

The experience starts off with tech that may excite beginners, but struck us as hilariously incongruous. There’s a strong puzzle midway through — true to the apparent Amazing Chambers formula of having one standout, rigorous puzzle in each room — but soon after that comes a puzzle that contains what I consider an inexcusable flaw (though it doesn’t make progress impossible).

The finale is a mix of ambition and less-than-ideal implementation. I do appreciate how the room uses audio in its narrative-building, which is a rarity in Singapore — I just hope they’ve fixed the issue of too-loud background music.

Apart from that one inexcusable puzzle, I’d still say this might be WORTH A TRY for beginners, but perhaps NOT RECOMMENDED for players who care about thematic coherence.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 2.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2.5/5

Atmosphere and setting: 2.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 2.5/5

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