ASDF Escape – The Robbery [Review]

There’s no place like the home keys.

There’s no place like the home keys.

There’s no place like the home keys.

ASDF Escape Logo

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Date played: December 20, 2015

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-6

Price: adults $28.99 per ticket, students $24.99 per ticket

Theme & story

Our money was stolen. We are breaking into the robber’s office to take back the money and find evidence against the robber. But the door locks behind us and we have one hour to escape with the money and the evidence before the police arrive… Which is a joke about the police in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (David used to live there and he thought it was hilarious.)

This room had a solid, compelling back story.

However, the room didn’t look like an office. The decor was sparse and many of the puzzles were derived from props that would be more suited to a playroom.

Flimsy build quality

The Robbery was built inexpensively and the puzzles and furniture were pretty much disposable. ASDF Escape hadn’t been open for even two months and their Ikea bookcases were starting to show significant wear, the drywall was getting chewed up, and puzzle elements were in rough shape.

Very few objects in the room felt like they would survive the wear and tear that a room escape endures.

It felt chintzy, which diminished the overall quality of the experience.


That said, our overall experience with ASDF Escape did not feel cobbled together. We’ve seen a lot of rundown city buildings, but this one was welcoming. ASDF Escape had adequate signage and an inviting reception area.

Additionally, the friendly staff at ASDF Escape gave a clear, concise game introduction that included an explanation of the locks in room with which players might not be familiar.

Win conditions

This game had multiple win conditions.

We enjoyed this set up. However, there was opportunity for additional creativity in game design based on this premise.

ASDF Escape - The Robbery, Safe

Puzzle similarity

The majority of the puzzles in this room required similar skills and approach.

There’s a lot of scavenging, wordplay, and light pattern recognition.

Obeying their own rules

ASDF Escape made it very clear that we didn’t need to move or take apart the furniture, but that wasn’t really true.

There were items that were hidden such that moving the furniture made sense. While it may have been possible to extract them without rearranging the decor, it was far easier to just shift the furniture. At times it was also advantageous to take apart the furniture.

It’s very tough to respect the rules in an escape room when the game is constantly rewarding the violation of those terms.

Should I play ASDF Escape’s The Robbery?

The Robbery is a basic room. It’s a place for new players to wet their feet. Experienced players won’t find exceptional intrigue.

Our combined team of experienced players and newbies escaped in under 30 minutes – by far the record for this room.

The Robbery is a typical first room: It’s lock focused and scavenging heavy. The puzzles cater to a particular still set. The game is built on a low budget.

It’s clear from playing the game that the company has potential. They have a fun concept. They need to ask themselves how better to execute on it – to make it more thematic, story-driven, and sturdier – more believable. They ought to look at every single object in their room and ask themselves:

“Should this be here?”

“How could we execute on this in a better way?”

ASDF Escape is currently the only room escape company in the immediate area. They don’t have a local market pushing them to innovate quickly. Given that David has some roots in their neighborhood, we’re rooting for them, especially because we find ourselves visiting New Brunswick from time to time.

Full disclosure: ASDF Escape comped our tickets for this game.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: