Mission Escape Games – Escape the Initiation [Review]

A game designed specifically to introduce new players to escape games.

Mission Escape Games Logo

Location: New York, New York

Date played: December 29, 2015

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Price: $28 per ticket

Deliberately basic

Basic, introductory rooms are usually created by accident. A new game designer doesn’t really have a strong grasp on the art and science of room escape design, and makes a room that’s soft and gooey.

These basic rooms are generally flawed in a great many ways, but are hopefully good enough to drive interest in playing another, better game.

Escape the Initiation was interesting because it was deliberately designed by seasoned escape room designers as an on-ramp for the hobby.

It was optimized for noobs. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t junkie. It wasn’t too easy, but it was miles away from too hard.

This was the beginner’s Goldi-locks room.

Mission Escape Games - Escape the Initiation 3

Theme & story

“The president of the Company, Mister M, has selected you to join his secret society. But in order to become a member, you must pass the initiation exam! You have one hour to solve the puzzles of the room, or else be trapped forever.”

The setup was confusing. Were we trying to get into a secret society or get a job at a prestigious company? We won, and I’m still not sure.

The room was a straightforward puzzle room. It wasn’t overdone and it wasn’t underdone… It was done.

Puzzles, locks, and magic

The gameplay was a solid mix of exactly what you’d expect from a strong, but typical escape game: an assortment of locks, some scavenging, a good mix of puzzles, and some technology-driven magic.

Mission Escape Games - Escape the Initiation 1


Missable magic

There were two special moments in Escape the Initiation. Both were pretty damn cool.

You’d have to have been unconscious to miss one of them.

But the other, which our team considered superior, happened quickly and without warning. The biggest complaint we had from our teammates came from the folks who were looking at something else when this moment  triggered.

Those that missed it were indignant.

Mission Escape Games - Escape The Initiation

Should I play Mission Escape Games’ Escape the Initiation?

In Escape the Initiation, Mission Escape Games decided to make the room escape equivalent of a sampler platter. It provides a great 101 course in Escape Rooms. It covers most of the cliches with its own twists.

Nothing was too hard, obnoxious, or unfinished.

The game wasn’t designed to shock, challenge, and impress us, it was made to shock, challenge, and impress the folks who have never played ones of these games… And while I’m not the target for this game, I think it more than succeeded.

It’s a polished game to introduce people to the hobby, and it’s now my go-to recommendation for first timers.

It’s also a great candidate for a more experienced team to attempt a speedrun.

Book your hour with Mission Escape Games’ Escape the Initiation, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Mission Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

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