The first escape room that made me feel incarcerated.
Location: Queens, New York
Date played: November 8, 2015
Team size: 4-5; we recommend 4
Price: $25 per person, must book at least 4 tickets
Mission Escape Enigma
Escape Plan was originally created by Enigma NYC. When we went to play, they were in the middle of a merger with Mission Escape Games. Since this game will be branded as a Mission game moving forward, I’ve labeled it as such, but I think it’s important to highlight the people who created the game.
Enigma had a damn cool logo.
Story & theme
I started off the game being ushered into a transparent prison cell with my hands cuffed behind my back. I was told that I had been locked up for some time and that I had hired a team to come rescue me.
The room itself was small and bleak. The prison cell was pretty cool. It was sturdy and had a Silence of the Lambs feel to it.
For a small space, the game ultimately had four distinct sets for us to explore.
The set design was very clever and I am hard pressed to think of another game that uses such a small space so dynamically.
Being locked up
When a game requires someone to do something different from the rest of the team, Lisa or I will volunteer. That way, we get the full experience between the two of us.
In typical lock up or split up situations, the separated group has to work together to reunite.
That wasn’t the case in Escape Plan. I couldn’t do anything from within my cell to help facilitate my own escape. In a strange twist, my efforts to help my team actually hindered their efforts. They would have gotten me out faster if I had sat down and shut up.
While this twist was interesting, it felt like a design flaw because I spent a quarter of my game doing essentially nothing.
Escape Plan leaned exclusively on scavenging and logic puzzles.
At their best, the puzzles did a reasonable job of taking us through a prison break story, but there just wasn’t a lot to do in the room.
Also, the lack of diversity in the puzzles wore heavily on our team. I found many of the puzzles tedious.
On their website, the team size is stated as maxing out at five people, with teams of four recommended. This is an incredibly honest and spot-on assessment.
Escape games in New York City tend to overstate how many players can fit in their rooms. It’s refreshing to see a company that actually assesses team size accurately.
We had five people, but it would have been a better experience with four.
Should I play Mission Escape Games, Queens’s Escape Plan?
Here’s the deal with Escape Plan: It was a really interesting room. It had a lot going for it in terms of set design and layout. If the scavenging and logic puzzles play to your strengths, you might really enjoy this game.
My big complaint with Escape Plan was how useless the locked up player was for the first leg of the experience. Usually being locked up is a bonus mission for your boldest player to undertake. In this case, it felt like a punishment.
I imagine that it would be possible to speed run this room. In our case, we made many mistakes and melted down more than we ever have in a room. We only escaped because I circumvented the final puzzle (so that win is going to have an asterisk next to it). C’est la vie.
Escape Plan is on the bubble for a recommendation. Personally, I greatly preferred the other two rooms we played. However it’s not a bad room; it just wasn’t my room.
So if this sounds like your game…
Book your hour with Mission Escape Games, Queens’s Escape Plan, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Mission Escape Games Queens comped our tickets for this game.