Sold Out Tour & Extension Open

Sold Out

The original set of tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: The Hayden Farm is SOLD OUT.

This tour was so popular that it sold out in 6 weeks.

Tour Extension

But there is good news! We worked with 13th Hour Escape Rooms to open up a few more spots on this tour. These extra tickets are now available for purchase.

These are the final tickets available for this tour. It is not feasible to add another extension.

We hope that you’ll join us on this adventure.

Details

  • Sunday, April 5, 2020
  • 13th Hour Escape Rooms in Wharton, New Jersey

Tour Includes

  • 4 escape rooms
  • Bus transportation to 13th Hour Escape Rooms from Manhattan, NY
  • A day with Lisa and David as escape room guides
  • A talk by Lisa and David
  • A catered meal
  • Networking with other Explorers
  • Event t-shirt
  • Teammates who are as excited about this trip as you are!
  • … and surprises! Always surprises.

Join the Group

13th Hour Escape Rooms is consistently a favorite among locals and visitors who can make the journey to Wharton, New Jersey. We’ve loved their games and awarded them multiple Golden Lock Awards: The Great Room (2017) & The Grand Parlor (2018).

Since many folks in NYC (locals & visitors) can’t figure out how to make a trip to 13th Hour logistically viable. We figured we’d solve this problem by throwing a bus at it.

The tour group includes locals from New York and New Jersey as well as escape room players who are traveling across the country for this event. It’s going to be a wonderful group of players.

We hope you’ll join us!

Our goal with this tour is to make these outstanding games accessible to players who will love them. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re considering grabbing one of these last few tickets, but have questions or concerns.

Overhauled: NYC Escape Room Recommendations Guide

Earlier this week we published a significant update to our New York City Recommendations Guide.

Stylized New York City skyline.

Last year the New York City market faced a crisis when the New York City Fire Department began a series of surprise inspections and shut down many of our local escape rooms. Some are still closed, some will never open again, and many were down for the better part of a year.

The chaos complicated so many things for so many companies.

It feels like things have stabilized, so we felt comfortable putting together a total overhaul of our local guide.

That said, all is not resolved. There are some stellar New York City companies who have not yet reopened. They are struggling through bureaucratic hell. We hope they will open their doors again soon, and join this recommendations guide.

Check out our updated guide: New York City Recommendations Guide

Clue Chase – Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle [Review]

Bermuda Triangulation

Location:  New York, NY

Date Played: January 27, 2020

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock [A]

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We had a great time in Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle. The set looked great, the puzzles were satisfying, and there were some really amusing interactions.

Clue Chase now inhabits the space previously occupied by Escape Entertainment. Clue Chase’s older games were set in larger spaces. We really loved how they transformed the smaller space in this new venue.

It’s so good to seen quality new games finding their way into New York City. If you’re in the Boroughs, put Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle on your playlist.

In-game: View of the pirate ship with a partial map in the foreground and art in the background.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A strong set – and Clue Chase’s strongest to date
  • Solid puzzle play
  • Multiple tangible interactions
  • A fantastic scene transition

Story

The time travel agency had dispatched us on a mission to acquire another artifact. This time we found ourselves aboard a pirate ship in 1715.

The ship’s crew had mutinied and locked the captain in his quarters, taking all of the valuables. Thankfully they hadn’t understood the power of the artifact and had left it behind.

In-game: A painting of a sea battle.

Setting

We stepped inside of a well-detailed pirate ship. The ceiling was draped in cargo nets and the walls were wood. The builders clearly put a lot of effort into obscuring their anachronisms, filing off paint and brand names from locks.

Clue Chase did a lot with this smaller space to make it feel exciting.

In-game: Wide view of the pirate ship set with cargo netting along the ceiling.

Gameplay

Clue Chase’s Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: closeup of a barrel labeled "xxx"

Analysis

➕ The set looked strong. From floor to ceiling its wooden walls and overhead netting conveyed sense of place. The props felt like they belonged.

➕ The sound effects in Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle added energy to the gameplay. They created ambiance and added excitement to interactions.

➕ We solved the puzzles by interacting with the items on the ship – touching, turning, tossing, and the like. The interactions were varied.

➖ There were multiple opportunities to brute-force the last bit of a solve in Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle. It would even by possible to brute-force the final solve of the game, which would be a shame, because it was a pretty cool puzzle.

➕ The puzzle flow was non-linear, but then brought us together for the most exciting moments of the game, without bottlenecking.

➖/➕ Although we found one group solve to be a bit too process-oriented, we found it entertaining to work through together from across the vessel.

In-game: closeup of two black pumps.

➖ Before we entered Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle our gamemaster gave us specific instructions that pertained to the win condition. We listened well, and when the time came, we knew what to do. That said, it would have been more engaging to uncover what to do with this sequence through gameplay. This was a missed opportunity to integrate the gameplay with the gamespace.

➖ The ending fizzled. We wanted more excitement from the acquisition of another artifact.

➕ In Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle Clue Chase created a scene transition that blew their previous games out of the water.

Tips For Visiting

  • Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle is located at Clue Chase’s Herald Square location. They have a different location at Bryant Park.
  • Clue Chase’s Herald Square location is located in Koreatown. On this block, we recommend Mandoo Bar for dumplings and Spot Dessert Bar for crazy and incredible desserts.
  • Take public transit; Clue Chase is half a block from many subway lines.
  • As with all Midtown Manhattan escape rooms, if you’re driving a car, prepare to pay dearly for parking.

Book your hour with Clue Chase’s Pirates of the Bermuda Triangle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Chase comped our tickets for this game.

Cards Against Humanity & Escape Rooms?

Last year we played and reviewed The Last Defender at the end of its run in Denver, Colorado. We absolutely loved it and awarded it a Golden Lock Award.

Promotional art for The Last Defender.

The Last Defender blended elements of escape rooms, puzzle hunts, and immersive theater into one 16-person game. Exploring Cold War nuclear deterrence and the notion of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.), The Last Defender was as challenging as it was grimly hilarious.

One of the most impressive aspects of The Last Defender was that while we played it in late 2019, it debuted in 2016. We had been hearing about it for years. It was clearly ahead of its time.

In-game: 3 players in orange flightsuits working at the Operations cabinet.

After we published the review we learned that The Last Defender was returning home to Chicago, and the team behind it was launching a new game – Nova To Lodestar, and both of these games were going to live inside of a boardgames cafe funded by Cards Against Humanity.

We recently spoke with the folks behind this incredible collaboration:

  • Nathan Allen, Writer & Director
  • Sandor Weisz, Puzzle Designer
  • Max Temkin, Cards Against Humanity co-founder

Cards Against Humanity’s Board Game Cafe’s Intentions

Temkin: “The boardgame cafe is Cards Against Humanity’s ambitious plan to provide a community center of sorts for Chicago’s gaming community,”

Tables at the beautiful Chicago Game Cafe

The venue has everything that you’d expect from a boardgame cafe plus a small event space for talks, learn-to-plays, and other gatherings… and it has room for 2 permanent escape rooms by The House Theatre.

The Last Defender’s Success Wasn’t Overnight

Allen: “House Theatre has its name because ‘the house’ is the audience and we were trying to find ways to make the experience of being an audience member more vital and exciting. We were called immersive long before immersive theater was a thing.”

In-game: a character in a black rabbit costume standing before a multi-colored world map.

The Last Defender’s Goals & Ambitions Drove Its Success

The House Theatre’s aspirations when creating their first foray into escape rooms were to:

  • Translate narrative into game design.
  • Build empathy through characters and story.
  • Make the players themselves the protagonists, so they relate to one another.

Cards Against Humanity Wanted To Collaborate With Theatre People

Temkin: “We went to SCRAP in 2012. I had just been chasing after escape rooms. I felt like escape rooms needed theatre people because they bring in sound, light, actor, narrative, and prop design. They understand that this is really about story.”

Nova to Lodestar is a response to the lessons of The Last Defender

Weisz:The Last Defender was my first attempt at building something that immersive and complex. I’m really happy with where we landed, because while the puzzles on a whole are difficult, I feel like the puzzle design is elegant, which is the quality I value most.”

“As we approached Nova To Lodestar, we both wanted to stretch the bounds of what we know an immersive game to be, and to focus less on any kind of conventional puzzle format. With every design decision, we’re asking ourselves how this affects the emotional stakes and emotional payoff. Everything is in service of that.”

Nova to Lodestar preview poster art depicts a doomed space crew.

Allen:Nova to Lodestar is a response to what we learned. To further deepen the connection of the player and their agency.”

“We’re doing things like eliminating the clock, I hate clocks in games. It is inherently destructive to didactic feeling. In The Last Defender, skilled players race the clock, rather than trying to prevent the missiles from launching. In Nova To Lodestar, you can’t see the clock – it’s resource management that is the time limit, but you’re never confronted with time. The clock is a resource of ore – which keeps the players in a constant state of decision making – not just winning or losing. Nova To Lodestar is also less puzzle-based and more focused on a broader notion of gameplay.”

“We’ve turned the game from tactical to strategic. It should feel very different in the way you play.”

The House Theatre Is Avoiding Binary Win/ Lose Conditions

Allen: “I want to make experiences that aren’t so binary. Did you get out?”

Initially The Last Defender had binary win/ lose scenarios, but they added a third in-between scenario and it made the game far more interesting. We didn’t experience this particular conclusion, but I personally loved the threat of it while playing.

The Last Defender May Continue To Tour

I cannot confirm particular locations, but The House Theatre is hoping to tour The Last Defender to different parts of the country with Chicago as its home-base.

Cards Against Humanity is Far More Than A Board Game Company

Temkin: “Cards is weird as a company and a game. None of us are game designers, I dabbled in it but never thought that it would be a career. Our goal isn’t to make a lot of board games, our goal is to make people laugh. Not gamers, just people. A lot of Cards Against Humanity is just sitting around with your friends laughing and not on your phones.”

“We aren’t always thinking that we need to make another comedy card game to create that feeling.”

“Cards is a catharsis of laughing at something you aren’t supposed to laugh at… and The Last Defender is the same way.”

Back in 2016, Cards Against Humanity made a 6,000 person month long escape room/ ARG… is that happening again?

Weisz: “When that game ended, I was so high on the goodwill of this little community we had built that I couldn’t imagine not doing it again and keeping that community going. But it turns out it didn’t need me; it kept itself going on its own. The Slack communities from that game are active to this day!”

“I’ve since built another ARG — for Field Notes — that was smaller in scale but had the exact same effect: a really lovely, and loving, community of solvers, who are still friends today. To me that’s the best possible outcome of an ARG game like that.”

“I love making ARGs and definitely want to do it again. It’s just really hard to start one up on my own. I have no idea if there’s a model there where I can charge people to participate. If I get enough encouragement from the community, maybe I’ll give it a shot.”

Closing Thoughts

Speaking with these guys, I felt a strong connection to their goals and approaches.

I’ve always seen the rise of escape rooms and tabletop gaming as part of an equal and opposite reaction to the shift of socialization largely happening on a screen.

Additionally, their theatrical approach to game design is completely in line with our larger vision for the future of escape rooms and immersive gaming. The ideas that we talked about are among the many concepts that are underpinning the RECON, the Reality Escape Convention that we’re hosting in Boston this August. I hope that you come join us and help build a stronger community and future for escape rooms and immersive games.

Learn More

Escape Rooms & Survivor Season 40 [Podcast]

Prior to Survivor Season 39 I sat down with former Survivor contestants and escape room fans Peih-Gee Law and Anthony Robinson (also of No Proscenium) to discuss the upcoming season and talk about escape rooms.

With the start of Season 40 on the horizon (ok, now 1 episode in), we recorded another conversation in the same vain.

We talked the messiness that was Season 39… and we dug into what’s happening in the “all winners” Season 40… and we talked escape rooms/ Survivors playing escape rooms.

No Proscenium – Episode 236 – 20 Years of Survivor

Survivor Season 40 Winners at War logo

Timestamps

  • 0:00 – Housekeeping
  • 7:15 – Anthony introduces the episode
  • 8:40 – Introductions of Peih-Gee and David
  • 10:00 – What has David been up to since last podcast with Anthony + what are escape room tours?
  • 14:27 – What has Peih-Gee been up to since the last podcast?
  • 16:25 – How selling jewelry is like playing Survivor
  • 19:00 – What escape rooms have Peih-Gee and Anthony played recently that they liked?
  • 22:36 – David praises Doldrick’s Escape Room in Orlando, FL
  • 23:35 – Peih-Gee chats playing an escape room with other Survivor players for charity
  • 27:00 – Talking the most escape rooms ever in 24 hours + how many could you play in a row?
  • 29:15 – Peih-Gee talks longer-format weekend-immersive games
  • 31:35 – The ugliness of Survivor season 39
  • 36:45 – Peih-Gee talks how her time playing compares to the season 39 situation
  • 40:25 – Other dark times in Survivor history
  • 45:48 – Using bullying and negativity as a game tactic
  • 48:45 – Survivor season 40 initial thoughts
  • 50:00 – Survivor season 40 winner picks + who would you go after first?
  • 54:10 – Preexisting relationships + how much pregaming happens?
  • 58:15 – Getting back to season 40 winner picks – dark horses
  • 1:03:10 – More season 40 winner picks – bigger threats
  • 1:10:45 – Talking fire tokens and edge of extinction
  • 1:14:00 – What Survivor challenges do you want to see again?
  • 1:18:15 – The classic Survivor family visit
  • 1:20:10 – Last thoughts on season 40
  • 1:20:45 – What are Peih-Gee and Anthony eager to play?
  • 1:23:40 – Closing housekeeping

Thank you to REA reader and Survivor fan Greg Marinelli for the timestamps.

Orlando, Florida: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: February 17, 2020

In Orlando, escape rooms are completing with the biggest names in entertainment for a share of your time and your money. While it might be hard to pry yourself away from the parks, it will be worth it. There are some outstanding escape rooms in Orlando.

Stylized image of Cinderella's Castle at Disney Orlando.

Market Standouts

  1. Captain Spoopy Bones, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  2. Super Bomb Squad, Doldrick’s Escape Room
  3. The Quest, Escape Goat
  4. Special Ops & Playground at The Escape Game (or just about anything at The Escape Game)

Since we visited in November 2019, Doldrick’s Escape Room has opened Spoopy’s Ghoulish Graveyard Gameshow, which we’ve heard is outstanding as well.

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Tech Heavy

Newbie Friendly

Next on the RECON Stage: Strange Bird Immersive

We are thrilled to announce that Haley and Cameron Cooper from Strange Bird Immersive in Houston, Texas, are speaking at RECON, our upcoming escape room convention.

The Duo

Haley and Cameron are kindred spirits. Like us, they are two sides of one… everything. They are partners in life, and also in the creative and business aspects of experience design.

Many times, people have told me how beautiful it is to see David and me together on the stage, presenting one message together. Haley and Cameron will bring that same complementary energy to the RECON stage.

Haley Cooper on the left and Cameron Cooper on the right, both in costume as actors in Strange Bird Immersive's The Man from Beyond

Haley

Haley is the voice of Strange Bird Immersive through her blog Immersology, which chronicles the unique challenges of storytelling through gameplay, and Strange Bird’s discoveries and approaches to tackling this.

Fun Fact: The first email we ever received from Haley was titled “April Fool’s: Escape the Cat Café.” She is David’s kindred spirit for sure… cough Escape Room Random Player Theory cough.

Cameron

Cameron is the magic behind the scenes at Strange Bird Immersive. He uses light, sound, and video to bring memorable moments to life. His work affects the players in ways they may not notice, but brings Strange Bird Immersive’s storytelling to a level that few can rival.

Fun Fact: When I first spoke to Cameron, I was calling Strange Bird Immersive from the porch of a crowded restaurant in Baton Rouge, trying to determine whether it would be feasible to drive 5 hours to play The Man From Beyond the next day. I was confused because I didn’t know Cameron. He hadn’t sent us email about April Fool’s cats and we didn’t read his blog. But Cameron – my kindred spirit for sure – made our impromptu visit happen.

The Dramatic Twist

… is the topic of their talk. It’s a storytelling technique that is underused in escape rooms. They’ll talk about the impact of this moment in experience design. Furthermore, they’ll give you actionable insights – from their different vantage points – as to how you can shape your stories.

The Man From Beyond

Haley and Cameron Cooper have a stellar resume. Their first escape room, The Man from Beyond, won a 2017 Golden Lock Award and is currently ranked as the #1 game in North America by Top Escape Rooms Project (TERPECA).

They believe in the ability of escape rooms to transform audiences in a personal and lasting manner. They have already done so. The Man From Beyond is the only escape room to date that has brought tears to our eyes. I can assure you that you don’t want to miss their talk at RECON.

Who Else?

If you want to be the first to know, follow RECON on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.

RECON eye & penrose triangle logo.

Attend RECON

  • Date: August 23-24, 2020
  • Location: Boston, MA

Your ticket to RECON reserves your space at these talks. You’ll have a chance to learn from Haley and Cameron – as well as Nick Moran and Errol Elumir – and join their conversations. Furthermore, you’ll have the opportunity to discuss their talks with others, as you help each other determine what these insights will mean to your businesses.

Tickets are on sale now at the early bird price!

Mass Escape – 44 Winterwood Lane [Review]

A broken seal

Location:  New Bedford, Massachusetts

Date Played: December 12, 2019

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

44 Winterwood Lane had strong worldbuilding. A great introduction, a beautiful candle-lit representation of the game clock, and a brilliant scene helped pull it all together.

In-game:

Mass Escape packed quite a few challenging puzzles into this bewitching experience. 44 Winterwood Lane could be improved by pulling those late-game challenges deeper into the story, and using them to tie off the narrative as thoroughly as the beginning opened it up.

Overall, Mass Escape is a fantastic company making unique and flavorful escape games. They have a style unlike anything else we’ve encountered and it’s a style that we truly enjoyed. 44 Winterwood Lane was our least favorite of the 3 games that we played at Mass Escape… and we still liked it a lot.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Ghost hunters
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A few great set pieces
  • An illuminating game timer
  • Memorable, haunting moments

Story

Our estranged aunt had recently passed away. We didn’t know much about her beyond the fact that her daughter had mysteriously died many years ago. Nevertheless, we had an appointment with her estate’s caretaker to claim our inheritance.

In-game:

Setting

We stepped through the doors of an old rundown estate, a shadow of its former glory. It had a high ceiling and imposing antique furniture. An assortment of candles lined the ceiling; every few minutes one would extinguish.

The set looked good and well weathered. However, some portions of the set looked considerably more lived-in and finished than others.

In-game:

Gameplay

Mass Escape’s 44 Winterwood Lane was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Mass Escape set the tone of the experience from the opening moments of the escape room. They minded the details, sealing our fate as we tried to claim our inheritance.

➕/➖ Although we’d come for the money, as the story of this place unfolded, that turned out to be a side quest. Predictable as it was, the twist added intrigue to 44 Winterwood Lane. However, the plot got a bit murky.

➕ Mass Escape integrated an unorthodox gameclock into the set. It felt native to the world. This was set dressing, ambiance, and time keeping all in one.

➖ The scale felt off in one room. Some of the set pieces lacked the estate’s majestic allure. Portions of the game felt empty, but at the same time full of potential red herrings.

➖ We encountered extremely well camouflaged, unclued searching in 44 Winterwood Lane. Granted, this was for a bonus puzzle. In a game where searching was generally well clued, however, this seemed challenging for the wrong reasons.

44 Winterwood Lane hid its mysteries well… and revealed them in turn. We especially enjoyed when an object magically appeared.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is metered street parking.
  • Mass Escape’s escape rooms all have a main quest and bonus quests. You can choose whether or not to spend your time on the bonus quests; they are clearly delineated as such.

Book your hour with Mass Escape’s 44 Winterwood Lane, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Escape Virtuality – Runaway Subway Train [Review]

Fare?

Location:  New York, New York

Date Played: December 18, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Runaway Subway Train felt like a scavenger hunt with locks that didn’t work… in a moving train-like space.

This wasn’t a good escape room, but at the onset, it seemed like it had potential.

In-game: Red bench seating in a train car. You can see a gold hinge running along the back of the seat.

The sad reality was that Escape Virtuality just had us identifying codes and putting them into locks. There was almost nothing to solve and half of the challenge that we encountered was struggling against the worn out locks.

We badly want new and amazing escape rooms in New York City. We wanted to be able to tell you that the Runaway Subway Train is worth your time and money… but we can’t. The only people to whom we can recommend this game are potential owners who want a $39 lesson in how to waste potential.

Who is this for?

  • Scavenger hunters

Why play?

  • The game has unrealized potential

Story

Our subway was out of control and about to crash – in an hour!

In-game: A subway map along the back wall of the train car.

Setting

Our team was split up into two adjacent subway cars. We entered through train-like pocket doors. Each car had roughly the same subway car structure of bench seating with advertisements above.

While everything had the right structure, the details weren’t there. It looked like a subway, but only if you haven’t been inside of one with any level of recency, which is unlikely in Midtown Manhattan.

In-game: Double doors between train cars.

Gameplay

Escape Virtuality’s Runaway Subway Train was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty and a split-team beginning.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and making connections.

In-game: An ad for a plumbing company who's slogan is, "We're #1 in the #2 business"

Analysis

➕ The first few puzzles taught us how this escape room wanted us to play it, for better or for worse.

➖ There were few puzzles in this escape room. The gameplay was almost entirely of the “observe and input” variety. We spent most of our time searching or waiting on our teammates to struggle with an input.

➖ Because this game required us to observe and input, we spent a lot of time trying anything we’d observed in every lock. There was no way to know what would be important. Guess all the things!

➕ There was one challenging, layered puzzle in Runaway Subway Train. This solved well with teamwork. It was the highlight of the gameplay.

➖ We encountered some misleading cluing, which might have been the result of ghost puzzles. These included a switch that triggered nothing and cluing a code to a digital lock when the input went into an analog one. We also encountered puzzles that weren’t clued at all.

➖ The one reveal was a missed opportunity. Instead of adding intrigue, it was hard to see, and looked worse than what had been there before.

➖ The locks in this game were in rough shape. We open locks more often than most players and we struggled repeatedly to open multiple combination locks.

➖/➕ The set design was subway-like. Escape Virtuality built in all the key elements of a subway car, but for New Yorkers who ride the subway everyday – and probably rode the subway to get to Escape Virtuality – they didn’t sell the concept with their build. They did, however, make it feel like our subway cars were moving. This was the best part of the set design.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking is a challenge in Manhattan. Take the subway (1 to 28th Street or the R/W to 28th Street.)
  • There are tons of restaurants in this neighborhood. We enjoy Hill Country Barbecue and Market.

Disclosure: Escape Virtuality comped our tickets for this game.

Riddle Room – Vanishing at The Velmont [Review]

Vexing Vacation

Location:  Warwick, Rhode Island

Date Played: December 15, 2019

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per player

Ticketing: Public & Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Vanishing at The Velmont was a delightful, beginner-friendly escape room filled with clever puzzles and interactions.

In-game: An abstract representation of the hotel's lobby.

The biggest drawback to this escape room was that throughout the game nearly every prop, wall, and surface felt unfinished. It was generally clear where we were and what we were interacting with, but few items were built to a degree that sold Riddle Room’s fiction.

Ultimately, this is a fun game – and for us, that’s what matters most. We’re glad that we played. We think that this would make a phenomenal initial introduction to escape rooms for newbies. The issues of polish didn’t change the fact that Riddle Room crafted some incredibly cool moments. If you’re in Rhode Island, this game is worth playing.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Great, beginner-friendly game design
  • A number of fun interactions
  • Clever and unique puzzle design

Story

We had always wanted to spend a night in the legendary Velmont Hotel, but it was always far too expensive for us. After a series of strange disappearances occurring in a particular room, the rates had come down… so we figured, why not?

In-game: the front desk with an old phone and slots for the room keys.

Setting

Vanishing at The Velmont took us through a few different spaces within the Velmont Hotel. Each space had a unique look and feel and progressed along a logical path.

The overall build quality was heavily variable. The setpieces ran the gamut from really cool and solidly constructed to flimsy and shoddily built. Most everything in this game had a neat concept behind it. We wished that the level of construction was more consistently strong.

In-game: Astatue in the wall of a hallway within a hotel.

Gameplay

Riddle Room’s Vanishing at The Velmont was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

 Vanishing at The Velmont had lot of content, but a progressive difficulty curve. The first act was straightforward and taught us how to play the game.

➕ Riddle Room constructed multiple unique puzzles into Vanishing at The Velmont. They generally involved custom-built mechanisms. They were unusual and satisfying to interact with.

➖ There was opportunity to add finish and polish to many of the props. For example, cut down on handwriting, except where justified by the story, and refine some associated audio in cluing. Additionally, too many setpieces looked unfinished.

➖ Although Vanishing at The Velmont had a lot of excellent puzzle content, it relied a little too much on key-for-key-style solves.

 Vanishing at The Velmont provided opportunity for collaboration and sharing. When we repeated an interaction with an interface, instead of feeling tedious, it was a moment for another teammate to have a go at a nifty prop.

➕ Riddle Room justified a classic hint system with one sentence of story.

➖ In order to follow the story, we needed to read quite a bit. We couldn’t feel the story arc through gameplay alone.

➕ We moved through multiple sets in this game. We enjoyed the variety in layouts, set designs, and puzzle types.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Riddle Room’s Vanishing at The Velmont, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Riddle Room comped our tickets for this game.