Escape Room Reviews: Testing Facility
Company: Escape Chronicles
Room: Testing Facility
Date Played: 4/9/17
Player Count: 2, but 3-4 would be ideal
Premise: You’re here to help the professor, and his helpful AI assistant. Except, there was one little tiny barely noticable glitch, and the AI is trying to kill you. So maybe fix that.
Immersion: Our setting is the company break room, which is a pretty easy look to set your sights on. Luckily, this room does a great job. There are several custom items that totally fit the room and are very fun interactions. The characters are pre-recorded, but in a really nice touch, it seems that the designers have recorded hints and reactions to common-but-wrong actions that the GM can trigger.
Highlights: I can't explain why, but I really like it when there's a computer in an escape room. It's not super common. The aforementioned tech items were neat, but a lot of low tech puzzling is also present, as well as some easter egg kind of content. The whole thing seems to be designed with a little bit of Portal flavor, but never actually feels like it's ripping anything off. The end game is undoubtedly easier for more players but working around that little problem was fun.
Lowlights: This sounds a little bit silly when I abstract out all of the spoilers, but there was one part where I got the sense that the GM could see exactly what I was doing to solve something, and I felt surprisingly self-conscious. Like I didn't want to look like I was guessing or doing something dumb. I worry for the owners and future players about the durability of some of the props. We received one unsolicited hint that kind of wasted some of our time by directing our attention away from the puzzle we were working on.
And Finally: The Testing Facility had not been open long when we got to it, and I hope more people have discovered it since. Looking back over my diagram* I'm reminded that there was actually a lot of neat things going on in here. I might be in favor of a room providing a larger number of smaller tasks to create the feeling of forward progress. This room does that by breaking into non-linear chunks in between story beats, so your group can split up to take on various tasks that lead you all back together for the next burst of plot. Plus, it's great to have a functional plot in the game! It's taken me by surprise as I write this, but out of 21 games played, the Testing Facility comes in at #3!
How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.escapechronicles.com/rooms/testing-facility/
*What, you don't have a drawing of the each room you've played in which you've labeled the points of interest and flow of events that you can refer to later on?