Coffins for two.
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Date played: July 25, 2016
Team size: 2. Only 2.
Price: $32 per ticket
Story & setting
This game for two cast both of us as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Incapacitated by Jim Moriarty, Lisa and I were locked in slightly oversized coffins. We had 45 minutes to find a way out. The entire experience took place within the coffins.
From an aesthetic standpoint, there wasn’t a lot going on here. The coffins looked and felt more or less like the inside of a padded coffin. Mostly, it was dark.
From a story standpoint, the game was heavily inspired by the BBC’s recent Sherlock series. The narrative started stronger than it finished. The game leaned more heavily on the thrill of the environment than it did on story or puzzles.
The challenge in Boxed up was derived from being locked in a hot, dark, and generally creepy coffin. Under those conditions, easy tasks and puzzles became far more difficult.
Although the in-game puzzles weren’t particularly interesting, the overarching game itself was the interesting puzzle.
We couldn’t do anything alone, and we couldn’t do anything together. I can’t think of a game that forced both self-reliance and teamwork as thoroughly as Boxed up.
The premise was incredible.
Our excitement levels were high going into Boxed up. We felt like escape room first timers. That mix of intrigue, apprehension, and the knowledge that there was a big challenge ahead made us feel a level of anticipation that we rarely achieve after having escaped so many rooms.
It was an intense experience… too intense for some.
We played Boxed up on a 90+ degree day after a major thunderstorm. It was hot and humid before we were crammed inside of small pleather boxes. While there was a trickle of cool air flowing into the box, the temperature was almost unbearable. When we emerged at the end of the game, our clothes were soaked in sweat.
Our stay in the box was elongated by about 20 minutes due to a major technical failure. Our hint system was dead and we had no mechanism to resolve a few puzzles. This became overwhelmingly frustrating because we thought we knew the solution, but we couldn’t execute on our ideas, nor could we ask what was going on. We didn’t find out that we had solved all of the puzzles until our gamemaster came to let us out. We thought we had lost, but it turned out that we had won with plenty of time to spare.
I’m concerned about the lack of a safety release for the coffins. The game was monitored at all times, but in the event of an emergency, I’m not convinced that the Komnata Quest staff could retrieve players fast enough. This fear was amplified by Komnata Quest’s release form which includes the aggressive line:
“I comprehend the risks involved with participating as a spectator or participant. I assume all risks associated with participating including paralysis and death caused by course and contact with other participants or actors.”
Should I play Komnata Quest’s Boxed up?
Komnata Quest built this game to be a creepy, isolating, intense experience and they delivered. Big time.
Boxed up was one of the most memorable escape experiences I’ve encountered. It was unusual… and maybe a bit cruel. But it was also incredibly clever and a lot of fun.
This needs to be the right game for both players. Boxed up is not a game for the claustrophobic or chronically anxious. If you need to drug yourself in order to find the courage to enter your coffin, or you have a major medical issue, skip this game. Do not coerce a friend or loved one into a coffin. You will need a competent teammate who is up for the experience.
It’s important to know that the coffin is oversized, but it’s not dramatically oversized. The larger you are, the more restrictive the space will be. There is nothing that can be done about that.
Also, don’t wear a skirt. You’ll thank me later.
Book your session with Komnata Quest’s Boxed up, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you by using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.
Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.