Escape Entertainment – Manhattan Mayhem [Review]

[Formerly known as Monkey Mayhem]

An abstract, tongue-in-cheek game that packs humor and challenge. Brace yourself for the primate apocalypse!

Location: New York, New York

Date played: August 28, 2015

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 6-8

Price: $29 per ticket

REA Golden Lock-In Badge
2015 Golden Lock-In Winner

Theme and story

Ten monkeys have escaped from the Central Park Zoo, and they are destroying Manhattan! You are the animal rescue team tasked with putting the monkeys back in their cages and saving the city.

This Midtown Manhattan escape room is the first game that is set in the Big Apple. It’s about time.

Abstract art

Escape games are art: There is a lot of realism (or attempts at it) in some and others are non-objective.

This game was abstract; every element was a metaphor. In this way it expertly avoided the pitfall of the uncanny valley.

Most of the puzzles in this game were presented on a pedestal that represented an iconic location within New York City. As a player, it was clear what each puzzle represented. It all came together surprisingly well.

Escape Entertainment Monkey Mayhem Statue of Liberty


Monkey Mayhem never took itself too seriously.

Why did players only have an hour? They needed to go save a beached whale!

It was funny, and it was fun.


This was an approachable room that still packed a lot of difficulty.

There were elements that were perfect for children. But our team of adults fully enjoyed the artistic creation. Tourists and New Yorkers alike will get excited over the setting.

Puzzle variety

Monkey Mayhem included a variety of puzzles crafted for different intellects. These puzzles were overwhelmingly tactile in nature, and were a joy to solve.

This game contrasted sharply with Escape Entertainment’s other room, Prohibition Pandemonium, which skewed heavily towards a few select skillsets.

Lack of scavenging

More than most games, the puzzles are clearly identified; there was no scavenging in this game. In fact, by the time we captured all of the monkeys, we had left the room less messy than when we entered the scene. This fit the theme.

This design eliminated the need to figure out what was a puzzle and how to link puzzle elements together. While I enjoyed knowing what was a puzzle, I recognize that the unambiguity of Monkey Mayhem may not be everyone’s brand of banana.

Locking locks

This was the first game where I had to close a lock to solve a puzzle. That was unexpected and fun.

… But I recommend that game-masters instruct players how to lock the locks.

Climactic moment

The missing link in Monkey Mayhem was a climax… It needed a King Kong puzzle.

It needed that moment that makes players turn their heads and think, “Wow! That was bananas!”

Optional competitive mode

Escape Entertainment offers two identical versions of Monkey Mayhem. Two groups can come to compete against each other, playing the same game simultaneously.

We’re looking forward to seeing more of this head-to-head style gameplay throughout the industry.

Post game

The staff at Escape Entertainment gave us an exceptional experience in customer service.

That said, we recommend that Escape Entertainment create a standard postgame walkthrough procedure for their staff to follow. Especially in a game such as Monkey Mayhem where single players will each solve unconnected puzzles, it is important to give a comprehensive walkthrough, whether the team wins or loses.

I missed a lot of what went on and a thorough recap would have been very helpful.

Escape Entertainment Monkey Mayhem

Should I play Escape Entertainment’s Monkey Mayhem?

We shattered the record for this game; we won in half the time allotted. We brought one of the best, most seasoned teams we’ve played with yet… And we still had a blast.

Escape Entertainment’s first two games are very different experiences. Each is a work of a different kind of art, and each is worth playing. Player sensibilities might lend themselves to one game over another. But if you only have time for one, play Monkey Mayhem. It’s a stronger game with more puzzle variety, and it offers an experience like no other.

Make sure you bring a intellectually diverse team to this one, you’re going to need a variety of skills to escape Monkey Mayhem.

Book your hour with Escape Entertainment’s Monkey Mayhem, and tell them the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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