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Coming Soon: Reality Escape Pod Season 4

REPOD Season 4 is coming this October. Each episode this season, we will be interviewing escape room creators from different countries. 

If you haven’t caught up on the first three seasons, now’s the best time to do it.

Reality Escape Pod mission patch logo depicts a spaceship puncturing through the walls of reality.

PuzzleWorks – The Hospital [Review]

A matter of the heart

Location: Saint Paul, MN

Date Played: May 31, 2022

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player for the first two players, $26 for each further ticket

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I’ve played countless escape rooms in medical settings, and they have almost always been horror themed, with blood-spattered operating tables and ungodly torture tools. PuzzleWorks’ The Hospital was decisively not that. It took the hospital theme more seriously… and did so with a healthy dose of hilarity.

Our objective was simple: break into a hospital to return a heart that a heart surgeon had accidentally taken home instead of his lunch. A reverse heart heist, if you will.

The puzzles in The Hospital were solid, standard escape room fare, appropriately themed around what you’d find in a hospital, with a few fun twists here and there. The set sufficiently conveyed “hospital” yet felt a bit underdressed. But I will most remember The Hospital for its sense of humor, from the initial premise up through the final scene.

A hospital room with a beg and imaging equipment.

If you are visiting PuzzleWorks and only have time for one room, The Dungeon features a much more immersive set and a higher density of dynamic and more fully developed puzzles. But if you have time for both, The Hospital is a stellar game that would make a delightful addition.

Continue reading “PuzzleWorks – The Hospital [Review]”

Panica – Eurovision Pizza Party [Review]

Pizza my heart ❀️

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Date Played: May 10, 2022

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 140 NIS per player for 2 players to 120 NIS per player for 5+ players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players must pass through a narrow doorway

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Panica has discovered the solution to getting hungry while playing escape rooms: culinary escape rooms. In Eurovision Pizza Party, we solved our way through a set of Eurovision- and pizza-themed puzzles, unlocking real dough, tomato sauce, cheese, and other pizza toppings along the way. By the end of the game, we’d baked a delicious pizza, which we were invited to enjoy right there in the room.

A heart-shaped pizza with a pizza cutter on one side and three tomatoes on the other.

The gameplay in Eurovision Pizza Party was simple and delightful. I particularly appreciated how each puzzle that unlocked a food ingredient was clearly themed around that ingredient.

Of note, Panica has a second pizza-themed room, Holy Pizza, that is more singularly pizza-centric. As the name suggests, Eurovision Pizza Party was equal parts pizza and Eurovision.

I’ll readily admit that my exposure to Eurovision prior to playing this room was largely limited to a viewing of the film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga a few years ago. As an American, I’d been aware of Eurovision, but it was never a particularly big part of my life. While the room included plentiful Eurovision references that I imagine Eurovision fans will appreciate, it succeeded in authentically channeling the joy, showmanship, and talent that are core to Eurovision without over-relying on the reference as a gimmick.

As a dining experience, Eurovision Pizza Party was reasonably filling. The pizza made for a tasty lunch, especially when split amongst a smaller team. The pricing for this experience was quite reasonable: including the price of the pizza (with a small additional charge for the vegan option), the price stayed around the average for Tel Aviv escape rooms.

Eurovision Pizza Party was the only game at Panica officially available in English, but our team had the opportunity to play a selection of their other Hebrew-language offerings, including Mega Burger, Ice Cream Blast, and Free at the Bar. For our reflections on these games and Panica’s approach to culinary escape rooms, check out our culinary escape room overview (coming soon!)

Continue reading “Panica – Eurovision Pizza Party [Review]”

The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game [Hivemind Review]

The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game is a narrative-driven VR game with escape room-like mechanics.

An imposing, neon-lit building named The Atlas Theater rendered in VR.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand (i.e. purchase and play any time)
  • VR

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • VR Enthusiasts

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, VR Headset that supports either the Oculus or Steam platform

Recommended Team Size: 1

Play Time: 2+ hours for most players

Price: $14.99 on Steam

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a narrative-driven single player VR mystery game with puzzle and escape room elements. It is available through Quest or Steam VR.

Holding up a Cinema World Magazine in a room with intricate wallpaper. Rendered in VR.
Continue reading “The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game [Hivemind Review]”

Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel [Review]

What a gem!

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Date Played: May 30, 2022

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $34.99 per player for 1-2 players to $25.99 per player for 6+ players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel was a puzzle-filled superhero adventure into a supervillain’s lair.

The puzzles in Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel were an absolute blast. Most puzzles had multiple steps and layers, leading to tons of mental and visual ahas. Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel had a lower number of distinct puzzles than some of Trapped Puzzle Rooms’ other rooms, but this density made for a more concentrated, highly dynamic 75-minute game.

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel also looked great. A range of textures and vibrant colors evoked a comic book superhero vibe. The set was amongst the most attractive that Trapped Puzzle Rooms has created yet, outpaced only by Witchcraft Alley.

Though Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel had a clear final objective, much of the gameplay felt like a sequence of thematic but otherwise unconnected puzzles. The puzzles were fantastic and flowed well. There was some intermediate sub-theming around certain superpowers. Yet a clearer narrative throughline could have provided players with a more immediate sense of purpose and progression throughout.

A large box labeled "One Million Tons" atop rubble.

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel is one of the top games at Trapped Puzzle Rooms and in the Twin Cities as a whole. Along with Witchcraft Alley, Eternity Battle represents a noteworthy evolution for Trapped in set design, tech, and puzzle creativity, as well as a loving tribute to a particular fandom. If you are in the Twin Cities and love puzzles, I highly recommend checking out Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel.

Continue reading “Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel [Review]”

David & Peih-Gee talk pastries & puzzles on Podcast This Escape

Last week, David and Peih-Gee managed to solve the mystery of the Silver Screen room on Escape This Podcast, and this week, they’re recapping their adventures in the madcap chocolate factory. We recommend listening to that episode before you listen to this one.

After getting stuck on donuts and pies, it was a relief to know that Dani and Bill had graciously reserved one of their harder rooms for us. We dissect some of the puzzles in the game and debate the merits of various puzzle design etiquette, including common expectations like prop reuse and crossword puzzle rules.

If you enjoyed these episodes, we hope that you’ll check out Escape This Podcast and listen to more of their wonderful audio escape rooms.

Season 4 of the Reality Escape Pod is launching October 3, so stay tuned!

The Escape This Podcast labyrinth microphone logo

Consume This Media Projects

  • Escape This Podcast: A show that’s a mix between table top roleplaying and escape room puzzles.
  • Solve This Murder: Follow along with Detective Bill as he tries to solve original whodunits created and run by Dani Siller
  • Play This Game: Hang out with Bill and Dani as they play through video games live on Twitch
  • Other Games and Projects: Including Table Top Role-Playing Games and virtual escape rooms

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