3600 Escape Room – Conspiracy Theory [Review]

Connect the dots.

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

In Conspiracy Theory, we were investigating the apartment of a conspiracy theorist friend who had gone missing.

Our friend’s studio apartment had pretty standard furnishing and decor.

It also included a non-standard escape room countdown clock; 3600 Escape Room counted our time down from 3600 seconds.

Puzzles

3600 Escape Room hid puzzles throughout the apartment, making use of standard home goods. They also snuck in a few unexpected objects for more interesting puzzling interactions.

The puzzles were well-structured with generally clear cluing and elegant solutions.

Standouts

Our gamemaster delivered written hints through a mail slot in the wall. This was on-theme and creative. It was also multi-purpose. She paid close attention to us as we puzzled along and even delivered a Capri Sun in answer to a joke one of us made about the Kool-Aid man. We all had a good laugh… and David drank it.

A CapriSun with a post it that reads, "It's no Kool-Aid but I can send it through the wall :)

Conspiracy Theory included a few standout puzzles. We particularly liked one input device and another “destructible” clue. These were both creative and unexpected.

3600 Escape Room made use of some standard escape room puzzle types. They thought outside the box to successfully deliver one of the clearest solutions to something we often see poorly executed.

In-game: A wall of newspaper clippings with circles and strings connecting them.
Image provided by 3600 Escape Room

Shortcomings

In another standard puzzle type, 3600 Escape Room delivered a rather weak tool and a lack of adequate cluing. Fresh batteries matter.

As with most studio apartments, the layout was not spacious. One corner in particular was relatively inaccessible and certainly not accessible for multiple people at one time. This created minor bottlenecking.

There was a hole in the bottom of a set piece that was easily accessible and sharp. It should be permanently plugged for safety.

The apartment was just an apartment and the setting never did anything to up the level of excitement.

Should I play 3600 Escape Room’s Conspiracy Theory?

Conspiracy Theory was a fun play through. While it was a simple apartment and aesthetically not much to behold, the puzzle resolutions were elegant and satisfying. This creativity in puzzle design – along with an attentive and playful gamemaster – made for a great time.

In this game, 3600 Escape Room demonstrated creative design ability and solid puzzle flow. During our visit, we peeked into their next game, still under construction, and we look forward to them incorporating more exciting aesthetics and world building into their next room escape.

They have a beautiful lobby, and a family / corporate friendly approach to the escape room business. I would absolutely recommend Conspiracy Theory to beginner players. This would make for a great first game. Experienced players may want to scope out their upcoming game, which we are looking forward to playing on our return visit.

Book your hour with 3600 Escape Room’s Conspiracy Theory, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: 3600 Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

 

Premier Escape Rooms – Table 4 2 [Review]

A glass of wine and a cigar.

Location: San Antonio, TX

Date played: January 7, 2017

Team size: 2; we recommend 2

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $63.60 per team

Story & setting

It’s your typical love story: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl go out on a date to the local Italian restaurant. Ants cut the restaurant’s power, locking them in. It happens all the time.

Played in part in darkness, Table 4 2 was about the size of a small walk-in closet and lightly decorated to look like an intimate Italian restaurant. Visually, there wasn’t a lot going on.

In-game: A table with a red & white checkered table cloth and two chairs. A bowl of fruit and cheese along with a pair of candle sticks rest atop the table.

Puzzles

Designed for two players, Table 4 2 wasn’t overflowing with puzzles, but it didn’t need to be.

It had a typical escape room feel with scavenging, deductive connection building, and a bit of reasoning.

The first half of the game was a lot more cohesive than the latter portion.

Standouts

We rarely find games designed for two players; I love that Premier Escape Rooms created one with some leftover space.

The first half of the game was straightforward and enjoyable.

There was a simple physical interaction that was well built and far more satisfying to complete than it probably should have been.

Shortcomings

The second half of the game wasn’t as cohesive as the first half. The clue structure became a little more haphazard and it built to an ending that didn’t feel particularly satisfying.

Aesthetically, the space felt like an Italian restaurant only in the most abstract way.

Premier Escape Rooms built a solid tech interaction into Table 4 2. However this interaction was tied to a puzzle that didn’t feel anywhere near as satisfying as it could have.

This last bit of criticism wasn’t really Premier Escape Rooms’ fault: Table 4 2’s far wall butts up against a neighboring cigar shop and the game smelled of cigar smoke. I know some folks enjoy that smell, but we’re not among that group. Maybe a HEPA filter would help?

Should I play Premier Escape Rooms Table 4 2?

I cannot claim that Table 4 2 brought a lot of excitement. Its draw is the 2-player, private experience. For a pair of less experienced players, I think it’s a good, intimate room escape.

If you’re experienced players, take a pass unless you’re really keen on playing something small with a partner.

Book your hour with Premier Escape Rooms Table 4 2, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

 

Escape Room Buffalo – Brewery 2 [Review]

Order some wings and pound a Labatt. Welcome to Buffalo.

Location: North Tonawanda, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

In Brewery 2, we needed to puzzle our way out of a bar. Despite the name, the setting was actually more bar than brewery.

The set of Brewery 2 had a homemade bar vibe. It was playful, hacked together, and adorable.

In-game: A beer tap, and cash register. A Coors Light neon sign hangs on the wall.

Puzzles

Escape Room Buffalo designed the puzzles into the structure of the bar and its associated paraphernalia. Through these hands-on puzzles we physically engaged with the different components of the set.

Standouts

Brewery 2 encouraged us to interact with every part of the set. We appreciated the tangible puzzles.

Two puzzles in particular relied on technology that largely worked with the theme.

Shortcomings

There was a puzzle interaction where we received some components far earlier then we earned the cluing that instructed us how to use them. This would have been fine except that there were clear ways to attempt to solve the puzzle and some of those paths could consume the game components. We ended up needing to summon the gamemaster to restock us after permanently losing these game components to a set piece.

Brewery 2 wasn’t refined; it was hacked together.

Should I play Escape Room Buffalo’s Brewery 2?

While we didn’t brew any beer, or even drink any, we had a good time at the bar. It was adorably handmade. It may have been hacked together with a design flaw or two, but it was robust enough to withstand the interactions between players, puzzles, and set.

Brewery 2 would be welcoming for new players. Given the beer theme and low level of difficulty, it would also lend itself to a light-hearted and laid back playthrough for experienced players.

Book your hour with Escape Room Buffalo’s Brewery 2, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room Buffalo comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Join us at the Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference

We’re giving Tuesday’s only free seminar at the Transworld Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference. And that’s not all…

Transworld Niagara Falls Room Escape Conference Logo

There are going to be a ton of great speakers including:

  • Matthew DuPlessie, 5Wits
  • Dave Ferrier, Trapped PHL
  • Shawn Fischtein, Escape Games Canada
  • Elisabeth Garson, Steel Owl Productions
  • Nate Martin, Puzzle Break
  • Anthony Purzycki, Trap Door
  • Room Escape Divas

There are many more whom I haven’t heard speak, but I think will have something interesting to say, including:

  • Nicole Ginsburg, Escape The Estate
  • Marty Parker, Room Escape Adventures
  • Brian Warner, Evilusions

Buffalo / Niagara reviews

If you’re planning to attend, check out our in depth coverage of the Buffalo / Niagara region escape rooms.

A reminder to all: You need a passport or enhanced license (if you aren’t sure if you have one, you don’t) to cross the border into Canada (or the US). This is worth noting because the escape rooms in Niagara Falls, Canada are very close to the conference.

Our talk

Goldi-lock-ing Your Escape Room Business: Learn the Difference between Magnificent, Average, and Tragic Escape Room Design

We want to help you understand the tangible differences in execution between escape rooms.

We’re going to do this by looking at common interactions in escape room design and walk you through some of the differences that set apart the best and worst that we’ve seen in our approximately 300 games as reviewers.

We’re going to talk about all of the greatest hits:

  • Locks
  • Blacklights
  • Gamemastering
  • Books
  • Trap doors
  • Customer service
  • … and more

Bring your questions and an open mind. We’re here to help.

The panel we’re moderating

Co-Working, Co-Existing… and THRIVING!

Speakers:

  • Mindy & Davy Plaisance, Rise Escape Rooms
  • Dwayne Sanburn, 13th Gate Escape
  • Megan Mouton, Clue Carre
  • Moderators: David & Lisa Spira

A panel of top room escape companies talk about co-existing, working together and operating nationally-renowned escape room games.

This panel will cost $50 per person if you pre-register or $55 per person if you register at the conference.

Our booth

We don’t yet have the details, but we’ll have a booth.

Come find us, we’d love to chat.

Get your tickets for the Niagara Room Escape Conference, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Interview with Cory Goerke about his Escape Room dark comedy sketch

Cory Goerke, Writer/Director and Bejan Faramarzi, Producer, created this wonderfully dark comedy sketch.

Cory is a Game Guide at The Escape Game Austin. This video is not in any way affiliated with The Escape Game. However, we wondered how much of this video came out of his experience working in the escape room industry. Here’s a little more background on this piece.

Room Escape Artist: Your video hilariously captures the common reaction from people who are knee-jerk turned off to the idea of escape rooms. What made you decide to film such a literal interpretation of that reaction?

Cory: Well I don’t know about you, but I find these reactions hilarious. I wanted to play off those assumptions and fears of escape rooms to show just how ridiculous these reactions are.

Escape rooms are still commonly misunderstood. They are definitely the new kid on the block in terms of entertainment medium.

People have been watching movies since the late 1800s. When The Lumiere Brothers released Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, it was simply a shot of a train pulling into the station and coming directly towards the camera. No sound. No color. However, it was freaking people out. They had never seen a moving picture before and suddenly they’re seeing a giant train barreling towards them. There are even stories of people running out of the theater, afraid that the train was going to break through the screen.

People have these reactions to things they don’t fully understand yet. It’s usually the people who have the knee-jerk reactions who end up having the most fun when they eventually play an escape room.

You’re a game guide with The Escape Game Austin. What parts of the video were inspired by your observations of real life teams?

Coming from a background in film, I quickly realized that our escape rooms are playable movie sets. The players that come through are actors in their own little movies. It’s a unique experience each time a team plays one of our escape rooms.

As a game guide, I watch who, in each team, will display certain character tropes. I definitely took note of these when writing the sketch.

Screengrab from the video: A female escape room player in a dark room with a flashlight. She is inspecting an item on a high shelf.

I chose to focus the sketch around couples rather than a random group of people playing together because it’s always exciting to put couples in escape rooms. If you get a couple that is really competitive, things can get pretty heated. It’s fun seeing them work through the ups and downs of their experiences in the escape rooms. I definitely wanted to amplify this group dynamic in the sketch.

The Escape Game is one of the most family-friendly companies out there and your video is hilariously dark in contrast. Discuss?

Well, the sketch is not affiliated with The Escape Game. However, you’re absolutely right; this sketch is pretty much the exact opposite experience from The Escape Game.

When creating this sketch, I asked myself what it would be like to put specific groups of famous people in an escape room. I ended up being influenced by The Donner Party. They seemed like the worst group of people to play an escape room, hands down. This is what takes the sketch to a dark place. I ran with that to up the horror aspect.

I worked with Bejan Faramarzi, the producer of this project, and he managed to find an abandoned bar in Austin that had a similar feel to the original Saw movies. I loved the location.

These aspects, paired with the comedy bits, created the humor in this dark scenario. I was lucky to have actors that could deliver this crazy dialogue in a hilarious manner. They capture that frantic feeling that you would expect from an escape room if you’ve never played one before. It’s hard not to laugh at it when you watch.

Can we expect more?

Absolutely. I have some very exciting projects coming out this year, highlighted by directing my first feature film at the end of the year. I’ll be directing a hilarious new show called Drunk Therapy, which I developed with the insanely talented Rebecca Dunagan.

This escape room sketch has received an amazing response. There’s a lot of material I would love to explore when it comes to escape room culture and working at an escape room. I’ve been working with some incredible writers to develop this escape room concept into a TV show format. We will probably have a pilot ready to go a little later this year.

Perplexity – Perplexity Lab #42 [Review]

The answer to the universe?

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per ticket

Story & setting

Our lab partner called in sick on the very day that emergency decontamination triggered. We had an hour to find his half of our research and escape before the incinerator toasted our lab.

Perplexity Lab #42 was a sterile, white, lab-ish environment filled with puzzles of a science-y nature.

A glove holding a vial of yellow liquid.
Image via Perplexity.

Puzzles

Puzzles were the focus of Perplexity Lab #42.

With a little physics, a little bio, and a little chemistry, there were a lot of tangible grade school science-based puzzles to solve.

Standouts

With a bit of science magic, Perplexity Lab #42 had a great puzzling moment. It was a simple solve, but excellent execution.

Perplexity did a good job of keeping things tactile.

Perplexity Lab #42 had a number of strong implementations of more typical escape room style puzzles.

Shortcomings

Among the specimens kept in the lab, the selection of red herrings was breathtaking.

There was quite a bit of unnecessary reading material included in the name of realism. We had one person burn a lot of time exploring this redundant and largely useless material.

The set looked like purgatory. It was flat white and while it did have a lab feel to it, it wasn’t inspiring.

One rather clever puzzle suffered from some issues of readability and orientation.

The conclusion wasn’t particularly satisfying.

Should I play Perplexity’s Perplexity Lab #42?

If you’re looking for a puzzle-centric game, Perplexity Lab #42 has some excellent puzzle offerings. Tangible and creative, there’s plenty of challenge worth exploring.

The catch with Perplexity Lab #42 was that its red herrings, usability issues, bland environment, and reading material merged to create some tedium that hamstrung the experience.

While it wasn’t easy, it was certainly beginner-friendly and also offered enough puzzle intrigue to keep experienced folks entertained.

Book your hour with Perplexity’s Perplexity Lab #42, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Perplexity comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Brain Xcape – The Old Prison [Review]

Punch-drunk prison.

Location: New York, NY

Date played: February 20, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $31-60 per ticket depending on team size and day of the week

Story & setting

Shut inside an old, grim, and foreboding prison, we had to work through its dark mysteries and find our way out. From the walls to the larger props, Brain Xcape crafted an intense and detailed prison set.

In-game: A weathered concrete and brick wall with a gross old toilet and sink.
Possibly the first prison escape game that doesn’t involve shoving your hand down a toilet!

The setup was simple. There wasn’t a complex narrative or backstory explanation prior to beginning the puzzling.

Puzzles

The puzzle types varied, but within typical and expected escape room tropes.

Early on, many of the puzzles in The Old Prison lacked sufficient cluing. As the game progressed, the logic flow improved.

Standouts

Our adventure in the Old Prison began rather unusually. We welcomed this deviation from the norm.

In-game: A weathered metal prison door with an alarm bell mounted to the concrete wall beside it.

Brain Xcape focused on immersive set design and it showed. This was one of the most intense and captivating prison sets we’ve experienced. Brain Xcape hired Punchdrunk, the team behind Sleep No More, to work on this set, to great effect. We appreciated stepping out of a Manhattan building into another world.

Shortcomings

On their website, Brain Xcape claims to be “NYC’s Most Immersive Escape Room Experience.” While the set was captivating, it lacked support in the form of action – the searching, puzzling, and reveals – to be a truly heart-racing, blood-pumping immersive prison experience.

The weakest puzzles centered around props that did not wear well. The puzzling, sloppily forced onto them, was poorly clued and difficult to uncover. One early puzzle of this type was as frustrating as it was unsatisfying.

A 4 digit Masterlock 178 padlock with a text bubble that reads, "Don't forget to push!"

The later portion of the escape room, in particular, was riddled with identical Masterlock 178 padlocks. While a few of them wouldn’t have been out of place in a prison, the sheer volume broke our rhythm at every turn. We had to continually try every possible combination absolutely everywhere until we found a pattern to the gameflow.

Should I play Brain Xcape’s The Old Prison?

If you’re most interested in set design, The Old Prison would be an excellent choice. You will find that you step into another place and time.

Brain Xcape’s commitment to set design is truly impressive. There are other sets that are on par with theirs, but you won’t find objectively better sets in NYC.

In-game: A weathered wall with some tally marks on it.

That said, while Brain Xcape has mastered one aspect of escape room design, to build a complete immersive experience they have a ways to go on other fronts.

If you’re more interested in narrative, puzzle design, or technology, The Old Prison won’t be your idea of a good time. It was old-school escape room gameplay in an outstanding set.

We believe that Brain Xcape is interested in beefing up these other areas to deliver a more complete escape room experience. If they can commit to puzzles and gameflow as thoughtfully as they’ve committed to set design, they will be a force to be reckoned with.

Book your hour with Brain Xcape’s The Old Prison, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Brain Xcape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

The Escape Game Austin – Classified [Review]

Bazaar & puzzling.

Location: Austin, TX

Date played: January 5, 2017

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $31.99 per ticket

Story & setting

We needed to stop a terrorist cell by gathering intelligence about an impending attack. This was your typical prime-time television counter-terror staging that steered clear of any specific world events.

We entered a Middle Eastern market. It was detailed, vibrant, and original. The initial setting was striking and beautiful.

In-game, a vibrantly colored bazaar market. Rugs hang from the ceiling. Assorted foods and pots sit on the shelves.

As the game progressed, we found ourselves in a dark and far more generic escape room environment.

Puzzles

Classified was primarily linear.

The challenge came from searching and making connections between relevant finds. It was not a puzzle-focused room escape.

Standouts

This was our first gamespace set in a market. The initial set was not only original, but also detailed, and polished.

The first half of the Classifed had silky smooth game flow.

Classified included neat, well-hidden physical interactions with some of the larger set pieces.

Shortcomings

Classified felt disconnected. The second half of the game lacked everything that made the first half special. It wasn’t beautiful, interesting, or exciting. It also lacked the flow of the first half. It became more challenging, but also dull and tedious.

Should I play The Escape Game Austin’s Classified?

Classified had a great first act. The visual impact of walking into such an unusual and beautiful space was energizing. The gameplay was a older escape room style that made it feel more like a scavenger hunt than The Escape Game’s other offerings. While the initial set was creative and exciting, the second act didn’t live up to the expectation set in the first half. That said, it was still more polished than many escape rooms of its era.

The Escape Game Austin has moved forward since designing this game and we recommend that you try their other games first. We visited Gold Rush, Prison Break, and The Heist at The Escape Game’s Orlando location, but took a peek at them in Austin and feel confident recommending them here as well. They’ve done a beautiful job making slight modifications to construct each of their games into the slightly different space in their Austin facilities.

While Classified wasn’t our favorite of their offerings, The Escape Game Austin is a top-notch facility with excellent staff that will deliver a fun, family-friendly experience.

Book your hour with The Escape Game Austin’s Classified, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: The Escape Game Austin comped our tickets for this game.

Trapped – Room #9 [Review]

We checked out early.

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $25 per ticket

Story & setting

The hotel staff had warned us that we didn’t want to stay in Room #9, but as weary travelers, we didn’t heed their warning. Now we had to escape before we disappeared like all the room’s previous guests.

Room #9 was an uninspired, uninviting hotel room from 1978. It had sparse furnishings, a few wall hangings, and a cramped closet.

While this set up was creepy enough, the atmosphere in Room #9 didn’t reflect the fiction. It was a bit grimy, but not intense enough to carry the dramatic story.

Trapped logo, reads, "Trapped A Buffallo Escape Room Experience" The "T" looks vaguely like a key, the "D" has an open door in it.

Puzzles

The puzzles derived their challenge from haphazard cluing.

Other challenges relied on careful searching and re-searching.

Standouts

Our gamemaster delivered an outstanding introduction to the room escape. She created a fiction with drama, intrigue, and excitement. Her delivery was polished and engaging.

Shortcomings

Our gamemaster aptly described this room escape as “nonlinear” and “chaotic.” The chaos stemmed from partial access to too many puzzles. Whereas a nonlinear game would have multiple puzzle paths that could be followed simultaneously, Room #9 had multiple puzzles partially available, which couldn’t actually be followed through to completion. These were huge time-burners that disrupted any possible puzzle flow and wore down any enthusiasm for puzzling them out. By the time Room #9 revealed the missing information, it couldn’t reinvigorate our energy. It was painfully difficult to tell what was relevant at any given point in the game.

Room #9 stomped on momentum at every turn. It had multiple locks of the same digit structure, necessitating that we try a derived solution in every one… excitement muffled. It had multiple locks on the same box or space, necessitating a stoppage even after we input a correct code… excitement halted.

While the gamemaster did generally provide clues as needed, she wouldn’t provide them for certain puzzles. When we got stumped on one of these, our game stalled out with no way to move forward.

Some previous team wrote additional numbers on the wall beneath a number-based puzzle. The team at Trapped never bothered to paint over past players’ incorrect scribbles.

Should I play Trapped’s Room #9?

We appreciated how masterfully our gamemaster set the dramatic scene for our haunted adventure in Room #9. She was so incredibly likable and her delivery so compelling that we wish we were writing a different review.

Unfortunately, however, our excitement ended when we left her presence. The uninspired environment couldn’t bring those emotions to life. That, combined with poor clue structure, deliberate chaos, built-in progress stoppages, and inattentive maintenance left us eager to escape, but for all the wrong reasons.

Full disclosure: Trapped comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Lockout Austin – The Cursed Ship [Review]

The Lost ship.

Location: Austin, TX

Date played: January 6, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

Stranded on a desert island, we stumbled upon a ship that had run aground. We had to power the ship and lift its curse in order to set course for freedom.

Lockout Austin had crafted an island-meets-ship-esque design into the room. While by no means a convincing vessel, the design worked in a storybook sort of way. It was a playful shipwreck adventure.

In-game: Closeup of an anchor tied against the side of the ship's wooden hull.

Puzzles

On The Cursed Ship, we unearthed quite a bit to puzzle through. We always understood what to puzzle with, and while a lot was happening, it was also clear which puzzle components connected.

Much of the puzzling was interactive, incorporating the ship-esque set components.

Standouts

The Cursed Ship included a few particularly fun puzzles.

Lockout Austin designed this room escape to force teamwork. Before we’d solved any given puzzle, multiple people had interacted with the components. This all felt natural and deeply satisfying as a group experience.

In-game: The ship's wheel and control console.

Despite the team-oriented design, individuals still experienced their own starring moments.

While the curse-lifting was a tad hokey, Lockout Austin pulled it off through the playful design of the set and story, and the energetic vibe of their overall customer experience.

Shortcomings

While fun, the story and set design were not as compelling as the puzzles.

Many of the puzzles also didn’t jibe with the narrative. We opened a few too many boxes of puzzley things. All of these containers of stuff, so to speak, felt like a shortcut in design and construction. More integration would have greatly benefitted the overall experience.

Should I play Lockout Austin’s The Cursed Ship?

The Cursed Ship was about the puzzles rather than the narrative or the set. Throughout the game we continued to uncover puzzles as we pieced others together. Despite the volume, they flowed logically, and perhaps because of it, the puzzling naturally produced teamwork.

This would be a challenging escape room for newer players, but it would still be approachable.

The Cursed Ship was a playful nod to Lost. It wasn’t scary or particularly realistic, and we were all smiling throughout the game.

This was the spirit of Lockout Austin. Under an adorable happy birthday sign in the lobby, the staff greeted us with a riddle. Everyone we met was engaged and clearly having a good time with their clientele. It was a joy to play their games.

Book your hour with Lockout Austin’s The Cursed Ship, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Lockout Austin provided media discounted tickets for this game.