All chained up with nowhere to go.
Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
Date played: April 24, 2016
Team size: 2-10; we recommend 5-6, and the game dynamic will change slightly with either more or less.
Price: $20 per ticket
Story & setting
The Cold Case Investigators have reopened the case of The Puzzle Master who left his victims chained to the wall. Your team must recreate the scenario and solve the puzzles to escape… and therefore stop his madness.
Each with one hand chained to the wall, we were solving puzzles to set ourselves free of the chains. The rest of the story was lost on me.
This was a linear game and there were only a few elements to each puzzle.
At any given moment (after initially getting our footing) it was usually clear where to focus our attention. Yet, each stage of the game required us to solve two challenges: the puzzle and where to input the solution.
In this way, the puzzles were simultaneously simple and complex. The puzzles drew on a variety of skill sets and they were reasonably challenging.
Live Action Escapes created an incredibly clever quick release for the handcuffs using carabiners. This allowed them to chain us all up, but enabled us to rapidly free ourselves in the event of an emergency.
With players chained to the wall for the game’s duration, Cold Case Investigators forced teamwork of many kinds. This was both its strength and its weakness.
We had to communicate and trust each other. We also had to cover our own “wall territory.”
We had to help each other and yet, we couldn’t help each other. This was both exhilarating and frustrating.
While some of the puzzles were inventive, more than a few involved predictable escape room interactions.
Being chained to the wall and not having the ability to double check the work of our teammates created challenges that were more stressful than fun.
I really wish that they taught everyone how to operate all of the locks found in the room before the game began.
Should I play Live Action Escapes’ Cold Case Investigators?
This was primarily a puzzle room experience.
It had ambiance, but it didn’t effectively tell a story; it didn’t immerse us in its fiction.
Although we were chained to the wall to thwart evil, this game wasn’t scary. Note that Live Action Escapes clearly explains the emergency release mechanisms and nobody should feel trapped despite the chain.
Additionally, the game was well designed to be customized to different team sizes (and human sizes).
This game relied on run-of-the-mill combination locks. All players must be able to operate them. If one person struggles to operate one of the locks, the team will burn a lot of time.
The set was sparse and the game-flow predictable. The entertainment was in the puzzles. While low tech, Cold Case Investigators still managed to deliver unexpectedly entertaining moments.
If you’re new to escape rooms, Cold Case Investigators is a great place to start. If you’re an experienced player, you’ll find something to like, but nothing that will blow your mind.
Book your hour with Live Action Escapes’ Cold Case Investigators, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Live Action Escapes comped our tickets for this game.