[At the time of this review, 60 Out Escape Rooms was called Escape Key and The Mystery of Senator Payne was called Senator Payne.]
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date played: March 19, 2016
Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4
Price: $120 per room in less popular timeslots, $140 per room in moderately popular timeslots, $160 per room in highly popular timeslots
Theme & story
A senator hired us to infiltrate the office of a rival to steal the language of a bill and prevent it passing. We were the second team that had been dispatched to retrieve the text: no one knew what had happened to the first team.
The game began in an incredibly mundane senator’s office and the mystery unfolded from there.
Senator Payne’s plot unfolded like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you aren’t familiar with Buffy, that’s a fantastic thing.
Buffy is notorious for taking a mundane premise, putting a slightly horror spin on it, making the viewer think they know what’s happening, and then just as the plot is about to take a trip to cliche town, making a sharp turn and going in a completely different direction.
That’s what Escape Key did with Senator Payne.
A bit of horror
Senator Payne can get a bit horrory and intense, but not overwhelmingly scary. (Lisa remained fully functional throughout the game, which has not always been the case when we’ve played more intense horror games.)
“Escalation” was Senator Payne in a single word.
It started off comically mundane and then blasted off. Each puzzle was more interesting than the previous one. There were more than a few “I can’t believe that just happened” moments throughout the game.
Each puzzle offered a dramatically different, tactile challenge.
The puzzles were well-clued with the exception of one early puzzle that felt like it was missing something and required a logic leap. That, when mixed with the solution mechanism, didn’t feel fair.
That is not to say that the game was too difficult. We were supposed to play with three other people, but they flaked on us at the last minute. Fortunately, we comfortably completed the game just the two of us and it never felt like were were at a disadvantage.
Senator Payne’s final puzzle, and the conclusion of the game, has become my new favorite escape room ending.
It was badass. That’s all I’m saying about.
Should I play Escape Key’s Senator Payne?
Absolutely… so long as you aren’t too jittery or bringing young children.
Senator Payne packed so many magical moments, a fun story, and some of the most entertaining interactions that Team Room Escape Artist has ever experienced.
The staff at Escape Key was warm and welcoming and the game was topnotch.
If you’re a Buffy / Angel fan, then this is a must play.
The people who flaked missed something special.
Book your hour with 60Out’s Senator Payne, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Escape Key provided media discounted tickets for this game.
Wow! Sounds like a great Room Escape!
And I guess you had plenty of time to proofread, because I have no corrections.
Seems like Whedon himself would approve of this room. :p
Hi the hardest escape room my and my friend have escaped was a 30 percent escape rate. Do you think me and my friend would be just fine in senator payne? Thanks ! 🙂
Yeah, you should be just fine. The dark truth of most published escape rates is that they are usually inaccurate (especially when they are round numbers).
If you work together and follow the basics .
Yea. I can tell. Thank you though. I’ll be doing it in 2 days so I’ll tell you how I did!! 🙂
Does Whedon like this room? lol
I suspect he’d get a kick out of it.
Which game by 60Out would you say is the strongest?
They have a number of good ones.
Cartel if you want a gritty immersive adventure.
Krampus if you like horror.
Titanic is a good family friendly adventure.
I haven’t played Grandma’s Master Plan, but I hear good things.
I think that I’m partial to Pandorus.
We have reviews of them all here: https://roomescapeartist.com/category/company/60-out/
Is Senator Payne still a solid experience in the current escape room market?
I have to imagine that it is pretty dated at this point.