Komnata Quest – Boxed up [Review]

Coffins for two.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: July 25, 2016

Team size: 2. Only 2.

Duration: 45 minutes

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.

In-game, a pair of handcuffed hands inside of a coffin.

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.

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.

Standouts

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.

Shortcomings

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.

11 thoughts on “Komnata Quest – Boxed up [Review]

  1. We’re finally going to NY and this room is sticking in my head. If someone hates haunted houses and scares should they stay away from this?

    1. Awesome! You should email us once you have your travel plans sorted out. We’d love to meet up with you if we can.
      As far as Boxed Up is concerned, it’s not a horror game (unless you consider being handcuffed and put into a small dark box horror). There aren’t jump scares. There aren’t monsters. There’s nothing in the darkness that will go “BOO!”

      1. Good to know. I hate horror but I think I’d be OK with the coffin – but I suppose you never know until you’re locked in. We’ll be at the conference and look forward to meeting you. Thank you for doing all the reviews in the area. It really helped up figure out which rooms to try.

  2. So, if I do it, is there an emergency exit if I can’t do it like there is in every other escape room, such as emergency key, panic button, or staff to communicate with to let me out?

    Is it hard to breathe in it?

    The reason why I ask that is because I am Claustrophobic, and get short of breath easily, and being in small, and tight spaces makes me feel like I am suffocating, and can’t breathe, and I usually freak out, and start hyperventilating. But I don’t wanna look like a wimp, or coward either since I am pretty limited on what I enjoy, and get made fun of a lot for living what others consider a basic, plain, boring, simple, limited, mediocre life which I am perfectly content with.

    1. Hi Christopher. These are some important questions.

      When we played this game 4 years ago, there were no emergency exits. It was a different time in escape rooms when being locked in was fairly typical. It is not acceptable anymore, and the NYC Fire Department doesn’t let companies operate escape games without emergency exits anymore. So, while I cannot speak from first hand experience, I can confidently say that no escape rooms in New York City should be locking players in without an emergency exit.

      Is it had to breath?

      Lisa and I played on the hottest day of the year in NYC back in 2016, and we were fine… but neither one of us has any fears or phobias that were triggered by being locked in a slightly oversized coffin.

      With that in mind, if you are claustrophobic, I strongly recommend skipping this escape room. I watched a friend who was claustrophobic play and he was miserable. There are tons of other fun and fascinating escape rooms out there. This one is an interesting oddity, but it’s not worth playing if it’s going to trigger a phobia.

      1. I’m glad you understand then.

        I have people that want me to an up, and learn to get over them, and suck it up, and just do what I fear the most, because that is the only way to grow, expand, develop, and evolve as a human. Where I conquer the fear rather than the other way around.

        Basically so I can appreciate ALL experiences of life, and live it correctly, fully, and to the grand scope that I am majorly missing out on right now by being content with my current limited life.

        They were pushing me to do The Coffin Escape Room.

        I also read piles of articles shaming anyone for living in their comfort zones for too long, or their whole entire life, and never leaving it, or at least not venturing far enough away from it for it to truly mean anything.

      2. I hear you.

        For many, there is a thrill in confronting or overcoming fears, or perceived limitations. I get that because it’s something that I strive to do… That said, everyone has limits and it’s up to you to decide where they are and consent to pushing them.

        If you’re dealing with a run-of-the mill fear, then pushing yourself with the help of your friends can go a long way.

        If you’re dealing with a phobia that comes with serious physical responses like panic attacks, I would urge consulting a professional before using an escape room with a more extreme premise as a means of sort-of self medicating. Phobias are tricky beasts.

        Life is meant to be lived, but it’s up to each of us to decide how and when to push our boundaries. Pushing yourself only has meaning if you truly want to do so. Don’t push yourself simply because others think it’s what you need.

        Whatever you choose, I personally respect you for doing your research.

  3. So, you wouldn’t judge me as weak or inferior to The ones who do push their limits, and boundaries if I DON’T/ NEVER push them, and just decide to stay content with who I am, how I am, and where I am in life, and decide to simply pursue what I want, and avoid what I don’t, and just leave it at that, and ignore all the nay sayers?

    An example is that I don’t like fast movement, and drops, and will NEVER EVER ride Roller Coasters. I matter what anyone else says, or thinks, and I don’t care even if I AM missing out on a potential new joy, or love. I figure what I do it know I’m missing can’t hurt me, and will have NO affect whatsoever on the things I DO enjoy/ love doing.

    I have lots of things that I’ll never ever do, or even entertain the notion of trying in a million billion years.

    Even though my life is limited. I like it that way. I like simplicity, peace, and quiet, and prefer a few things I love doing that I’ll do my entire life over trying out 100 new things even if some of them do end up being added to my list of loved things.

    I like me exactly as I am right now, and never plan to change a spec of myself even though everyone else thinks I should.

    People always say that life is too short to be missing out on things, well I always counter that with life is too short to always be worrying about missing out on things, and to just enjoy what you already have,and do if you’re currently happy in the moment, and feel fulfilled.

    I know, I know, not a very positive, ambitious, or productive mind set/ philosophy.

    But at the end of the day I still end up feeling guilty as if I’m somehow cheating myself because of all the articles I always consume daily that makes me feel self conscious, and wrong for that life style.

    1. Personally, I wouldn’t judge you for any of this… but I’m also a stranger on the internet and you shouldn’t care one way or the other about what I think of you. You seem like you know yourself, and that’s what matters here.

      If you’re asking me my opinion, I’ll share:

      Your roller coasters example is spot on. For me, I was terrified of thrill rides and in my 20s I decided that I wanted to try and overcome that fear. It scared me… but I tried… and I love them now (but I was a nervous shaky wreck after my first real coaster). It could have easily gone the other direction. Overcoming that fear has meaning to me because I chose to do it. No one coerced or forced me to overcome it. And if I’m being completely honest, my life is not noticeably more full because I enjoy the occasional thrill ride.

      All of the articles that you’re reading are written by people who are assuming that the reader is neurologically or physiologically typical. I wouldn’t jump to internalize that. Do what makes you happy and if you get the itch to push your own boundaries, do it on your own terms and in your own ways.

  4. So I take it never pushing my own boundaries, and limits, and taking them to the grave with me when I die someday is okay too, so long as I am currently happy right now, and not feeling like there’s something lacking.

    I guess if I’m not wishing that I did more things, and are not full of regrets on my death bed, then I’m good.

    What does neurologically, and physiologically typical mean? Or that you said not to internalize it?

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