[Formerly known as The Cavern]
A delightful adventure that is begging for a tangible plot.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date played: May 30, 2015
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 5-8
Price: $28 per ticket
“You’ve been summoned into the deep and have 60 minutes to unravel the mystery of the Cavern.”
Digging up the past
Defying expectations, “The Cavern” begins by dropping players into a church-like environment; it was decidedly not-cavernous… That part comes later.
The Cavern gives a second life to the expensive set pieces born from Escape the Room NYC’s (owners of Escape the Room Philly) collaboration with the USA Network on their Dig Escape Game. If you played that game, then you’re going to feel like you’re in familiar territory. Don’t get too comfortable (we did); the breadth and difficulty of this game has been ramped up a few levels (but you’re still going to know how a few things work).
The game feels like Indiana Jones and The Da Vinici Code had a baby, and that’s a good thing.
The look, the feel, the sights and the sounds of this game are all on-point. The experience is pretty incredible (especially if you hadn’t played Dig).
The folks from Escape the Room NYC have become exceptionally talented at crafting a wide variety of puzzles that fit elegantly into their games. The Cavern is no exception.
Each puzzle offers its own challenge, most of those puzzles are memorable, and many of them are physically interactive (more so than with most escape rooms).
Often the puzzles resolve in exciting, fun, and unexpected ways (not putting a combination into a lock).
Later in the game, there are some seriously inventive puzzles; two of them could use a bit more tuning to guide players along the way.
One we solved with the help of a clue (and I really don’t think we would have resolved it without one). The other we solved, but didn’t know it. Saying more would be too spoiler-y.
This game begs for a story. The puzzles are almost telling a story, but each player must imagine what that story is.
Spicing it up with a cohesive narrative would make this game shine.
Up to 10 players?
The Cavern is billed as a game for “up to 10 players.” While the game space in totality can more than comfortably fit 10 players, I don’t think there are enough puzzles to keep 10 players busy throughout the game.
As you press deeper into the game, it becomes more linear (in a good way). However, there isn’t room around these puzzles for more than a few players at a time.
We had 6 people, and that felt right.
Should I play Escape the Room Philly’s The Cavern?
The Cavern would stand out as a great game in a competitive market; in Philadelphia it’s incredible.
If you didn’t play the Dig game, this one is going to really wow you. If you did, there’s still a lot of fun to mine from the Cavern, but it’s not going to shock you in the way it will an unfamiliar player.
If you recognize re-purposed props, there is one puzzle that you should sit out and let someone else solve it (I wish I had).
It’s a new game, so I would expect it to evolve some over the coming months. I’m betting its going to get even better.
Book your hour with Escape the Room Philly’s The Cavern, and tell them that The Room Escape Artist sent you.