Chapel & Catacombs
Lockhill is a company already well known for its Sanatorium game that placed really highly in TERPECA. With such reputation we clearly had high expectations for their newer game and, oh boy, they clearly delivered.
Let me start from mentioning that it is a really big scale investment. Unlike their first location, which is in the center of Athens, this game is on the outskirts in Nea Ionia (but the metro connection is very convenient) what allowed them to get a big part of an industrial building, what gave them a lot of space (550m²) which they used really well. What they built is truly impressive. This game gives the word “exploration” a whole new meaning (but I don’t want to explain why in more details). Oh, and did I mention it last 130 minutes?
One of the trademarks of Lockhill is the exceptionally high immersion. You can expect game masters and actors to stay in the character for the whole duration of not just the game, but your whole stay there including the briefing, payment and debrief. Here it’s no different and you are already immersed in their world before even entering the Lockhill village (which is not already a start of a game but just the start of briefing). Obviously the immersion is maintained for the whole game, so with the huge area I mentioned earlier one can say that you can find yourself lost in it both metaphorically and literally.
As rightfully expected, this is a scary horror game. However it does not need intensive jump scares to nail the feeling of tension and anxiety throughout the entirety of the game. Creators of this game found many ways to keep players on their toes without being too intrusive, so even if some of the scariest Athens games may be too much for you, you can still have a great time here.
Regarding puzzles, you can likely guess that they are not the main focus of this game, but they were still decent. I think there was a good amount of them for a game of this kind and I did not get the impression they were either a stretch, not too interesting or too little of them as I sometimes feel in scary games.
I was on two escape trips to Athens in short succession with two different groups and I loved it so much during the first trip that I included it as one of the games I will repeat during the second one. Even though I am not too keen on repeating rooms since I tend to remember almost everything (especially after a month), I did not want my friends to miss such an awesome game. It was a very good decision because they loved it as well. This was my favourite game during the first trip to Athens and even after playing whole crème de la crème of Athens this is my favourite scary game. During the debrief after my first game I couldn’t start the conversation with anything else than “THIS WAS FREAKING AWESOME”. However, to put a spoon of tar in a barrel of honey, having the comparison of two playthroughs I have to admit I felt the second one was not as good as the first one in a number of aspects. I noticed a few changes in the gameplay (especially the beginning) and I think I liked them more in their earlier versions, but I guess that shouldn’t be a big deal. More notably, we felt rushed in the debrief and we were out of the venue basically two minutes after ending the game and we were not even offered a photo after the game even though we were there on time and ended the game with half an hour remaining. Nevertheless, even when experienced in only 95% of its glory it is still a breath taking experience that I can’t recommend enough.