Most shall pass.
Location: Seattle, WA
Date played: September 4, 2016
Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $90 for a team of 2-3, $120 for a team of 4-5, $160 for a team of 6-7, $180 for a team of 8
Story & setting
The Castle took place in a room that looked and felt like a storybook castle. Conundroom designed and constructed a magnificent and fun environment. It was almost entirely handmade by people who clearly knew what they were doing.
Our mission took place in that castle, using castle-related props. During the game, we fully experienced the environment. If there was a story, however, it wasn’t present.
Unlike all of the other escape rooms we played in Seattle, The Castle was not a puzzle-heavy game. Not at all.
The game consisted primarily of tasks. We had to discern how to manipulate the props and the castle set.
Neither these tasks, nor the few interspersed puzzles, were particularly challenging.
From the moment we entered the room, we were captivated by its castle-ness. The set was the highlight of the game. Conundroom designed and constructed the environment themselves.
Hidden technology drove The Castle’s magical moments. These moments enhanced the ambiance of the entire experience.
Our gamemaster was on the ball. He realized when the in-game clueing had lead us astray and brought us back from the unrecoverable.
The setting was begging for a cohesive story, which wasn’t present.
This was amplified by unclear game setup. At the outset, we weren’t 100% sure what we were trying to accomplish. Because of how Conundroom designed one of the late-game puzzles, they had trouble communicating objectives without spoilers. They need to either rework this puzzle or rethink how they present the game.
A few of the props fell short of the high standards set by the game’s overall construction.
The Castle included one prop that was, itself, a puzzle, and not a fair inclusion in a timed escape game. We own this particular puzzle and it took David many weeks to figure out how it worked. It really didn’t belong in a room escape.
Should I play Conundroom’s The Castle?
The Castle was a lot of fun. We enjoyed exploring the set and its props. It was exciting to make everything fit together.
This wasn’t a challenging game. The majority of Seattle’s escape rooms – at least those we’ve visited – were formidable opponents, even for seasoned players.
The Castle offered a different experience: a task-centric exploration of a different world.
This design made The Castle approachable for newer players, for whom it set a high bar for set design and magical moments. It would be an ideal choice for players looking for adventure over challenge.
If you play escape rooms for a solid hour of puzzling, then The Castle isn’t for you.
The game needed additional refinement, mainly in communication: story, setup, and occasional in-game clueing. That said, the world constructed for this game demonstrated talent and potential. We look forward to seeing more adventures from Conundroom.
Book your hour with Conundroom’s The Castle, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Conundroom comped our tickets for this game.