[At the time of this review, Brooklyn Escape Room was called Claustrophobia.]
It’s not really claustrophobic.
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Date played: June 27, 2016
Team size: 2-4; we recommend 2-3
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30 per ticket on week days, $40 per ticket on weekends
Story & setting
We were locked up in a medieval European dungeon, awaiting execution. The executioner’s axe would fall in one hour unless we escaped first.
The Dungeon was lushly themed. It was dark and (electronically) candlelit. Everything from doors, to floor, to ceiling screamed “DUNGEON.” That said, it was not a particularly scary set, nor was it loaded with tight spaces (despite the company’s name).
The story wasn’t relevant as we played game. However, it didn’t matter because the environment created the experience.
This was a room escape centered on observation and interaction.
The Dungeon was less puzzley and more of a task-driven experience. The game felt a lot like a point-and-click escape room in that we had to identify objects of relevance and then determine where and how to use them.
The Dungeon excelled in ambiance fabrication. We have encountered few rooms that can rival The Dungeon’s set detail.
On the strength of the sets alone, The Dungeon achieved a high level of immersion.
Our gamemaster blindfolded us with burlap and led us into the dungeon. The entryway was short, I had to duck very low to avoid bopping my head on the spikes hanging from the door frame. When the game started and I realized how little the blindfolds hid, I was annoyed. It was a lot of hoopla to get started, especially since the Claustrophobia designers could have adjusted the placement of one object to render the blindfolds completely unnecessary.
Our team felt a little too babysat by our gamemaster. He would remind us not to touch the items marked “do not touch” whenever we neared them. While in his introduction he said we would receive only three hints upon asking for them, he continually gave us additional, unrequested hints.
The final puzzle, while fun, felt strangely out of place and anticlimactic. This feeling of anticlimax may have been amplified by the puzzle failing on us twice in the same place.
Should I play Claustrophobia’s The Dungeon?
The Dungeon was a fun space to explore. It looked incredible and had more than a few excellent interactions.
The Dungeon leaned heavily on feeling. If you are looking to play around in an immersive environment, then you won’t find much better. The one caveat I’d add is that you must be mobile and ready and willing to crawl on a hard surface.
If you love escape room video games, then this is an excellent physical recreation of the genre.
Claustrophobia is the world’s largest escape room franchise, operating more than 150 locations worldwide. Based in Moscow, this is their first game in North America. That alone is likely reason enough for an ardent escape room enthusiast to pay them a visit.
If you’re looking for a challenging puzzle room, then you might not love what The Dungeon has to offer. It was much more about the adventure.
Book your hour with Claustrophobia’s The Dungeon, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Claustrophobia comped our tickets for this game.