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Written by Rob Schultz (human).

Filtering by Category: Escape Rooms

Escape Room Reviews: The Pharaoh's Curse

Company: The Hidden Passage
Room: The Pharaoh’s Curse
Date Played: 2/4/18
Player Count: 2, which is not enough.
Success:  Total failure!

Premise: Walking along one day you slip into some quicksand and find yourself in a spooky underground chamber! 

Immersion: A little bit of a mixed bag. The production design is fantastic. The rooms and walls and props look great, but there are a lot of digital keypads for ancient Egypt.

Highlights: A lot of care went into this room. The puzzles are pretty clever. The customer service was excellent.

Lowlights: The mix of ancient and modern set design. We skipped over some elements that seemed so off-theme that we didn’t initially think they were part of the game. I felt bad about accidentally opening a lock too soon and skipping over a couple of things. One other lowlight, of course, is losing by a lot. I felt new. (Except of course, our first few games when we were new were successes.)

And Finally:  Most of our group no-showed on us. Word on the street is that this room is large and has a lot to do, and is worth doing with a medium sized group. I'm sure this would have helped, and it's not Hidden Passage's fault (as far as I know). Playing as a duo, we weren’t even close to finishing. As we exited, I thought that maybe I had not seen enough of the room to give it a fair place on my list, but we succeed in rooms all the time as a couple, and I think the things that bugged me would still bug me if we won.  More than I regret losing, I regret squandering the opportunity to experience this game as it was meant to be played. Still, if I have to put a subjective number on it, I guess that out of 44 games played, I’d rank this at 35. 

How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.thehiddenpassage.com

Escape Room Reviews: Alice in Wonderland

Company: 60Out
Room: Alice in Wonderland
Date Played: 1/21/18
Player Count: 6, which was too many.
Success:  Success!

Premise: It’s a room escape with a bunch of Alice in Wonderland stuff! Alice has been accused of a crime, and if you can’t clear her name, well… then it’s off with her head!™

Immersion: I mean, I didn’t feel like I was in Wonderland. The production design of this game was of the typically good quality of 60Out, and falls pretty solidly into the ‘game show’ style. There are a couple of locks uncharacteristic of 60Out and unlikely to exist in Wonderland.

Highlights: The first section has the best interactions. Everyone in our group seemed pretty pleased with the process of making a cup of tea.

Lowlights: Our game had a show-stopping bug. We stood around through multiple reboots and ultimately had to end the game. Aside from that, there’s a section that seems to involve a surprising amount of random guessing and a lot of unsolicited advice from the GM. The flow of story events seems kind of clunky - I wonder if there were last-minute changes made after the game was built. 

And Finally:  Our group is lucky enough to have gained a couple of members recently, but this was not the right room to bring the whole family. It doesn’t have enough space or things to do to keep 6 people happy. Even without the room breaking down, I don’t think this would have ranked very highly for me among the 60 Out canon. Out of 43 games played, I’m ranking it at #34

How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.60out.com/los-angeles/rooms/alice-in-wonderland

Escape Room Reviews: Labyrinth

Company: Trapped! Escape Room (Cleveland)
Room: The Labyrinth
Date Played: 12/27/17
Player Count: 3
Success:  Success! Sort of.

Premise: Stuck in a labyrinth! Nobody gets out of those. Most get eaten by the minotaur!* *There is no minotaur

Immersion: This room is built on the strength of quite a bit of custom woodworking, probably just like the labyrinth of myth. Unlike that labyrinth however, this one is not a maze of twisty passages. It has a little bit of a rec room feel, perhaps due to the lighting. 

Highlights: This company really roots for the players. Our GM loaded us up with some big hints on the way in, and towards the end there are multiple warnings about a puzzle that can only be attempted once. When something between my flu-addled brain and the sheer, call of the void curiosity led me to touch something I should not have, another GM came in and reset the game so we could try again. And again. And again.  

Lowlights: A lot of the custom props and sets have taken a beating over the months or years of customers playing with them. I don’t have a term for it, but we definitely passed at least one puzzle based on one of two choices looking much more worn down. Unsolicited hints and a couple of cliché elements are minor nitpicks.

And Finally:  It might be the cold talking, but I felt less like I was solving this game than just putting my head down and lumbering through. Wooden pieces that needed to be jiggled and coaxed into place felt like fudging the combinations instead of clean and correct answers. And that ending. I appreciate them taking care of us because it would be unsatisfying to get to the end of the game and do the wrong thing, lose, and have to leave. But since all that happens when you get it right is the GM comes in and you have to leave, the choice doesn’t have much weight. Out of 42 games played, I'm ranking this one at #29.

 How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.trappedcle.com/room/the-labyrinth/

Escape Room Reviews: Black & White

Company: Escape Room Cleveland
Room: Black & White
Date Played: 12/27/17
Player Count: 3
Success:  Success!

Premise: You’re trapped in an escape room where everything is black and white.

Immersion: This escape room looked just like an escape room. Except that there was no ceiling. Escape Room Cleveland feels a little like a science fair, booths set up in a gymnasium. You can hear people talking (or frantically yelling) in the other rooms, although once we got down to business, it wasn’t much of a distraction. 

Highlights: This is a very puzzle-y room. ERC’s hardest, according to one employee. I was happy that an object I thought was useless decoration turned out to have a valuable purpose. 

Lowlights: Very little in the way of wonder or delight. This is a workmanlike room focused on a series of tasks. A few too many of those tasks are pen-and-paper, activity book types of puzzles. One prop was broken and we didn’t interact with it correctly until prompted by the GM. The big uncomfortable futon actually is useless decoration.

And Finally:  If you’re into some heavy puzzling (like we are), this room will scratch that itch. I think I’d have a hard time recommending it to non-enthusiasts though. I want to be clear that I didn’t -dislike- this room, just that there are better games out there, so out of 41 games played, I’m ranking this one at #29

How to book this room yourself: Visit https://www.escaperoomclev.com/black-and-white-2/