Room Escape Adventures – Still Hungry [Review]

Where the shambling corpse is in better shape than the room.

Location: Somerville, MA

Date played: August 27, 2016

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 6-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

In Still Hungry, Room Escape Adventures presented another adventure with their zombie, Dr. Oxy, first created for their original game Trapped in a Room with a Zombie.

Dr Oxy’s lab still wasn’t much to look at. It was vaguely themed as a lab, meaning it had some lab-type items staged in the room, but primarily, it was a room full of toys. Most of the items and puzzles in this lab seemed entirely random and unrelated to the setting or story.

The staging and the props were unabashedly junky. However, the zombie created a fun vibe. This atmosphere and the story were humorous and not at all scary.

Green and white wall with blood red paint reading,

Puzzles

Still Hungry was packed full of interactive set pieces, some of which were custom construction while others were toys repurposed as puzzles. We tackled these set pieces primarily through dexterity puzzles, which required us to spend uninterrupted time in various locations around the room.

The puzzles weren’t challenging on their own, but were rendered inordinately more difficult by the zombie’s presence. We had to solve everything with one eye on the zombie. The challenge arose from the disrupted game flow and interrupted concentration.

The more brain-centric puzzles were lower production quality and far less exciting. These were generally written rather than integrated into the game environment.

Standouts

Room Escape Adventures has designed theatrical productions, which they refer to as a “shows” rather than as room escapes. The live actors were by far the best part of this game.

Our zombie, Sam, was hilarious to interact with and fun to escape. Our lab intern, Dominic, was the gamemaster. He stayed in the room the entire game to protect the zombie, help the game progress, and observe our team. He also dealt with puzzle breakage… which he had to do far too often.

Room Escape Adventures was the only company we’ve seen give a walkthrough that focused on our team more than on the game. Dominic was the most alert and present gamemaster we’ve seen in a while, in part because he was in the room with us. After the game, Dominic walked us through the show by explaining the role we each played on the team.

Additionally, Dominic gave us clues in his own way. He was aware of the flaws in the game and helped us move past them.

Shortcomings

Many of the props in Still Hungry were broken. These weren’t just little pieces; these were the major interactive set pieces all around the room. While Dominic was able to push our game forward once we’d figured out the solution to a broken puzzle, that didn’t replace the thrill of making that solution happen ourselves.

Messily designed scenic with an orange

One major broken prop occupied two people continually (not always the same two people) for the entire game. We knew what to do, but couldn’t get it to work right. We didn’t realize until we had escaped (having circumvented it) that it was actually too broken to use. That prop was a major disappointment.

Room Escape Adventures also included a magic eye. Luckily we had a player who could see it because neither David nor I can.

There were far too many toys that were squished into puzzles. They weren’t integrated into either the set or the story.

Our team of six adults was paired with a family of four including two younger children. Still Hungry took place in a tight space and ten people was too many for the game. We weren’t thrilled to be paired with kids (we have nothing against them, but we’ve seen this pairing go wrong before) but in this instance, it worked out well because the children brought different skills and took up less space. Luck aside, Room Escape Adventures should rethink a ticket model that packs too many bodies in the game and pairs families with groups of adults. This scenario could have gone very poorly for all involved.

Should I play Room Escape Adventures’ Still Hungry?

Room Escape Adventures’ Still Hungry was a junky game, with a junky story, junky props, junky set, and a great pair of actors. It was a one trick pony… but it was a great trick.

The zombie / player interaction was the only thing that made this game special. Because of this, the game was a lot of fun in spite of a long list of flaws.

Still Hungry was an improvement on Trapped in a Room with a ZombieThe game was better designed around the space and its moving character. This made it more engaging and fun. In fact, this game was more fun than it should have been, given the amount of breakage we encountered.

Still Hungry wasn’t a particularly difficult game; our inexperienced team escaped with time to spare. It was a game that was more about the theatrics than it was about the puzzles, set, or story.

This is a game for mobile people who are open to having fun with an actor trying to eat their brains. It’s also worth noting that your mileage may vary in this experience based heavily upon the actors and how you mesh with them (and here are 6 tips for playing actor-based games).

Note that you can play the two Dr. Oxy games in any order; you don’t need to start with the first one. Of the two, Still Hungry was a better game.

Book your hour with Room Escape Adventures’ Still Hungry, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Room Escape Adventures provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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