As much as we enjoy an escape room experience, we’re always open and looking for something a little different. We’ve enjoyed an outdoor escape experience in the summer, visited the (so far) most immersive escape room, and for the perfect end of the year, we’ve moved even a bit further from a traditional escape room.
We visited Labyrinth Ljubljana, an interactive adventure game, located in capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. As they write on their webpage, they are the first (and possibly only) of a kind – worldwide. Here’s how our visit went – I’ll keep it spoiler free and not reveal anything you cannot find on their website.
As much as we enjoy an escape room experience, we’re always looking for something a little different.
First, let’s have a look what we’re getting into – a quick summary, mostly summed up from their website:
- The game takes place inside an actual maze, covered in darkness
- Up to 5 groups can be inside at the same time (from 2 to 5 people per group) – From an escape room perspective, I was really sceptical about this one. Continue reading, to see how it turned out!)
- The game takes around 150 minutes
- The game consists of one entrance (a bit more about that a bit later) and one exit – with a maze between them
- Players enter the maze individually, and has to return in the limited time. The next player continues his team’s exploration of the maze.
That’s the basics of the game – let’s see how it works in action.
Let’s see it in action
We booked the game as a group of 5. All the group time slots were taken, so another 4 groups were playing the game at the same time as us. First, we were given a bit of an introduction and background story. We were also explained the rules, and how it works.
Team members enter the maze individually – one person per group at a time. Each group is given a flashlight – it’s pitch black inside the labyrinth, and you cannot go far without it. Here’s the catch: the flashlight only works for a limited amount of time. Each time you come back, the time increases a bit – so you have let’s say, half a minute for first visit, 40 seconds for second, etc. – gradually increasing, up to around 5 minutes for the last visits inside the labyrinth. You have a timer on the flashlight, telling you how much time you have left, so you can plan your path accordingly – and return before your light turns off. When the time is up, the flashlight has to be in the charging station, adding more time for your next team member. If you’re late, a system of light guides you back to the entrance, but your team just missed the charging time and will have to wait one time slot, until the next charging.
It’s pitch dark inside the labyrinth – and team members enter one at a time, with limited time on the flashlight.
Communication is the key to success. Each teammate that returns brings back another piece of the puzzle.
When you return to your starting point, you put your flashlight to the charging station, and you have a little bit of precious time to tell your teammates what you found, and where you’ve been. Communication really is the key to success. You have some papers and pens available to draw out the approximate map, and each teammate that return can help you fill it in, and brings another piece of the puzzle, making it easier for the next team member to go deeper into the labyrinth, explore more, and come back with even more information (also, the time on your flashlight increases every time it charges, so each subsequent visit to the maze lasts longer).
And so it goes – on and on, one team member after the other, going on their journey into the maze, exploring it deeper and deeper, until they find the exit. At that point, they can either come back (if the timer on the flashlight allows them to), and share the right way with their group – or leave, leaving them hanging a bit :).
The game ends when all the groups came out, or when the time runs out (the game itself lasts around 2,5 hours, plus about 30 minutes of introduction and rules in the beginning). In our case, the last members of the groups got through just as the time ran out.
Sooo… where are the puzzles, and where is the challenge?
There is no real (traditional) puzzles inside the maze – not the kind you are used to from escape rooms at least. You can find the exit without figuring out a single thing – but it’s quite a bit harder. There are some hints around the maze and in your starting areas that can make your exploration substantially easier – maybe finding a shortcut, or actually figuring out what is going on – the labyrinth is a tricky place, and it can play tricks with your mind, almost, as it was alive.
To be completely honest – we didn’t figure out any of them :). We had some ideas what it could be, or where we could find some things to help us, but never took the time to test it out or look for them – everyone was too busy delving deeper into the maze.
You can find the exit without figuring out a single hint – but there are ways to make your exploration substantially easier, if you use your brains and are aware of your surroundings.
How do multiple groups exploring at the same time work?
I was really skeptical about multiple groups competing at the same time – but it turns out, it wasn’t the slightest problem. Even though the maze has one entrance, it’s kind of separated into more entrances, just enough apart not to disturb other groups right at the beginning (or when entering the labyrinth). When getting deeper into the maze, you run into other players quite frequently – but there’s where a part of the magic happens. The longer the game runs, more connected the groups get also, and more they help each other out. It’s often more than welcome to find someone in the maze, especially at later stages of the game, and explore together – labyrinth can be a tricky place, and you can quickly start to panic when you get to the same place for the third time, with no sight of exit, no idea where the way back to the entrance is, and numbers on the flashlight mercilessly counting down.
You can quickly start to panic when you are alone, deep inside the maze, with no sight of exit, no idea where the way back to the entrance is, and numbers on the flashlight mercilessly counting down.
You have to move, actively explore – and, when you are way too deep into the labyrinth with way too little time, run for it. All together just really get your heart beating
We were looking for something different, and boy, oh, boy, did we find it. We moved away from traditional puzzles, and moved into the unknown. Labyrinth Ljubljana does an excellent job at offering you to get to know the feeling of being inside of a maze. On your own. In the dark. With limited light source. It’s way more physical as a regular escape room – you actually have to move quite a bit, actively explore – and, in the end, when you are way too deep into the labyrinth with way too little time, run for it. All together just really get your heart beating – and, for me, in a really good way.
Is it all good?
Not many places we visited are perfect – and Labyrinth Ljubljana is no exception. As mentioned before, we went in in a group of 5 – 4 of us liked it, and one of us, not really. As it says on their website, the game isn’t appropriate for everyone. To sum it up:
- The game involves climbing ladders, climbing through tunnels, holes – attendees should be able to do that without much difficulty.
- Some might find it scary – the game consists of many narrow hallways, some ladders, narrow spaces (and of course, darkness everywhere). People with fear of confined spaces or darkness will not have a good time!
- The game does put you a bit out of your comfort zone – some might not like it, for some, that’s exactly what they need to get their adrenaline pumping :).
If you’re organizing a group visit, make sure everyone knows what they’re getting into, and are ok with it!
My only complaint is, that you can be left waiting for a bit. As mentioned above, if your team member is late from the previous time slot, you won’t be able to charge your flashlight until the next time slot – so you could be waiting for up to 4 minutes or more in the end. It is your team members fault, in the end, but it still isn’t that great. Especially, if one of the team members gets out from the labyrinth, but just when the time slot ends, and you don’t get the flashlight back fast enough – you, once again, miss a time slot.
In a group of 5, you get approximately one fifth of playing time – I thought that would bother me, but the time you are at the starting zone is great to plan with your other team members for your future visits to the maze. I think a group of 3 or 4 would be better overall.
Maybe the debriefing could be a bit better also – I wrote about the importance of factors for a great escape room experience, and some of them apply here also, including the importance of a great debriefing.
Overall, it was an awesome experience. Something quite different from your regular escape room – and it could be awesome for you also, if you’re looking for something different. I think I covered most of the things you have to know as an escape room enthusiast, let’s sum them up:
- Puzzles are not an important part of the game. They can help you, but are not necessary.
- Make sure you group knows what it’s getting into – it might not be great for everyone!
- The visit takes longer than that of an average escape room – make sure to reserve around 3 hours of your time for it!
If you’re okay with all of the above – don’t hesitate, I can wholeheartedly recommend you a visit!