Escape the Room NYC: The Agency [Review]

Location: New York, New York

Date played: November 23, 2014

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 6-8

Price: $28 per ticket


“You’ve been selected for a top secret mission. You must complete your assignment in one hour or you are relieved of duty.”

Escape the Room NYC


It’s all sorts of James Bond-y, and I mean the room hits you in the face with James Bond, right down to a photo of Sean Connery, and jokes about Moneypenny.

The theme is well-executed, and runs throughout the game. It’s exciting.

That being said, the volume of Bond references got a bit hokey.

Variety & Physical Interactivity

What stands out in this room is the variety of things there are to do. Many of the puzzles involve unique challenges. I won’t give any hints… The downside as a reviewer is that so many of the puzzle elements in this game are so critical that I can’t write about any of them without giving something away.

What I will say is that there is a visual perception changing element that I have been waiting to see someone implement in a room. The moment I saw it, I was giddy.

Escape the Room NYC The Agency

There are key and combo locks, but they are spread throughout the game, and you aren’t spending 60 minutes shouting numbers at people who hack away at locks.

The experience is physically interactive in a way that is exciting.

Clues for the Cluemaster

As nifty as this game is, it is held back by the volume of clues that the puzzlemaster feeds into the room via a monitor.

Often times we had already figured out what the clue was pointing us towards, or if we had another moment, we would have figured it out.

In one instance, one of our people solved something just as the clue telling us what to do came in. She was happy that she solved the puzzle, but the clue stole her thunder.

I prefer it when the team has a finite amount of clues available to them, and the team must trigger the delivery of a clue. It turns clues into a limited resource that must be used wisely. Getting a clue is a decision, not something that happens to you.

From a game design standpoint, if the puzzlemaster has to give every team a clue, then the clue should be baked into the game itself. Let the players discover their way through the game; it’s way more fun than being lead.

Setup Quality Control

The one truly bad part of this game was that during the setup, the puzzlemaster put the wrong lock onto a chest. We had the answer very early on, but couldn’t get the lock off because we never were going to be able to.

Eventually the puzzlemaster silently entered the room and took the lock off for us with no explanation.

This cost us somewhere in the realm of five minutes, and a lot of lost momentum. I probably wouldn’t mention this, however the last time I played a game with Escape the Room NYC they left a lock off of a chest.

I love the folks at Escape the Room NYC, I think they make awesome games, and they are incredibly nice people… But they need to get their quality control locked down. You only get to play these games once; they should be setup correctly.

The Bottom-line

Incorrect locks and a regular stream of clues notwithstanding, this game is a ton of fun.

What I love about Escape the Room NYC games is the sense of adventure that they inspire. This is a deeply creative, and fun game, and one of the best ones that I have experienced in New York City.

Go play it.

Escape the Room NYC – The Agency, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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