Boston’s starrrt-up scene.
Location: Boston, MA
Date played: August 27, 2016
Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6
Price: $28 per ticket
Story & setting
Cape Cod Treasure Hunters (CCTH) is recruiting daring treasure hunters like you to break into the offices of a local tech startup company, activate their prototype time machine, and travel back in time in search of pirate treasure.
It seemed like a whacky set up: time travel treasure hunting.
We were searching for real treasure that had already been found off the coast of Boston (in real life). In order to find it, we would have to travel back in time and retrieve it before the people who already found it. Time travel is wacky.
This was a clever setup to make us participants in a historical, local adventure.
Initially the game’s setting was large, nondescript, and aesthetically boring. As the game escalated we found ourselves in a pirate ship set. This would typically be a spoiler, but Room Escapers’ website makes it clear that this is the heart of the game. The ship was a far more impressive environment.
The ship was a pretty solid set, not mind blowing, but leaps and bounds more interesting than where we had started.
The puzzles in Pirate’s Booty followed standard patterns of a designer’s early work. This was especially true in the first part of the game. As with the set, the puzzles became more interesting once we were aboard the ship.
They drew on a variety of skill sets, but much of the difficulty stemmed from searching thoroughly and connecting puzzle elements to each other.
Pirate’s Booty included a few neat interactions that elevated it beyond basic room escape design.
This game escalated. It started with relatively unexciting puzzles in a mundane setting. When we traveled back in time to find our treasure, we found a more exciting set with more engaging puzzles.
Our charismatic gamemaster was superb. His hinting was on point.
Room Escapers cleverly mixed Boston’s tech startup scene with its colonial history.
Room Escapers was still fine-tuning some of their puzzles. The puzzles weren’t particularly challenging, but in some instances, they hadn’t quite nailed that sweet spot between easy and opaque.
Pirate’s Booty lacked polish. At times, it still felt like an art project rather than a refined game.
The time travel component was a great concept, but Room Escapers should commit to making a time travel research lab that feels like an exciting place to visit in order to make this aspect of it work. Given what they have constructed, it almost would have been better to drop us directly onto the pirate ship.
Should I play Room Escapers’ Pirate’s Booty?
Pirate’s Booty became a fun adventure, but it didn’t start out as one.
It may need some additional refinement, both in aesthetic and puzzle design, but its fundamental components worked. It ultimately delivered a sense of adventure and some truly delightful moments.
Pirate’s Booty highlighted its location in downtown Boston by virtue of a historical story. Room Escapers did something special and unusual mixing Boston’s past and present. Hats off to them for it.
This wasn’t the most challenging escape room. If you play a lot of these games, it should play out pretty quickly. But if you’re new to this type of entertainment, this is a great introductory room.
If you’re bringing children, note that this game escalates quite a bit. It’s not horror by any means, but the pirate ship has a few props that might frighten little ones.
Note that the version of this game that we reviewed will be available through October 19, 2016. Room Escapers will be revamping it and rereleasing it shortly thereafter.
Book your hour with Room Escapers’ Pirate’s Booty, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: We traded Room Escapers a handpicked selection of excellent IPAs for tickets to this game.