Location: Portland, Oregon
Date played: January 11, 2015
Team size: up to 8; we recommend 6-8
Price: $30 per ticket
An agent is missing, and you and your team been activated to locate him.
Dramatic from the start
This room is exceptional from before you even begin.
You start by descending into the dark basement of a Portland warehouse, and passing through a pair of dramatically lit doors.
Your puzzlemaster then gives you a briefing, loosely in character, hands you a few clues, and tells you that you have to negotiate your way into the room. This sets the game’s story in motion, and that story carries throughout the entire game.
This room succeeds where so many fall short by telling a cohesive story through the puzzles.
It’s a tale of adventure, espionage, and sabotage with your team pushed into the role of resistance fighter, set against the backdrop of a 1980s-ish, Eastern-Block-ish, communist dictatorship-ish.
Best of all, the story gives you a good reason for being in the room in the first place, as well as a reason why you need to exit it within 60 minutes.
This has the best staging that I’ve encountered. There’s all manner of lighting, sound, and practical effects. They all work, and they’re tons of fun.
The room feels believable in a way that I wish more rooms would.
The puzzles each offer a unique challenge, and there are no throw-away puzzles. Each one both advances the plot, as well as solve something new.
We brought, by far the most random team we’ve ever had of mostly people we had just met. Our team worked very well together in spite of that fact, but the room was ultimately too much for us. This was our most decisive room escape loss.
I think the puzzles were mostly fair, and there were enough things that you could actually have everyone on the team working on things at all times.
What could have been better?
There’s only one thing that I think they missed the mark on with this game, and that’s the post-game.
As I mentioned, we lost this one. When the game concluded, we had to ask for a walkthrough of what we missed. It turned out that the last moments of the game were amazing. Even if you already lost, they are worth experiencing.
The puzzlemasters seemed confused that we wanted a walkthrough, and weren’t really prepared to give us one (but they did).
This game has about a 20% success rate, and I think that everyone should be able to walk out having seen how great the end-game is.
This is relatively minor, and easily fixable.
Should I play this game?
Absolutely. If you’re into room escapes, I will go so far as to say that this is a must play.
It’s fun, challenging, creative, and unique.
Book your tickets with Spark of Resistance, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.