Panic Room – A Broken Mind: Psych 102 [Review]

A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

Location: Norwalk, CT

Date played: December 3, 2016

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

Our intrepid team had to venture into the mind of the evil psychiatrist Dr. Elesdy. Elesdy was a madman who set a plan for world domination in motion before he ended up in a coma. We had to infiltrate his psyche and pull him out of the coma.

There was a lot of story up front and it was somewhat present throughout the game, but ultimately too convoluted to matter.

The team was split into two rooms: Elesdy’s well-lit office and his dark mind.

In-game: A cabinet in a dark room illuminated by UV light with fluorescent bottles. An orange sign reads, "Biohazard."

Both the office and the mind settings were typical, run-of-the-mill escape room sets. They contained old furniture, lots of locks, and a random assortment of props that more or less fit the theme. That said, the office looked particularly uninspired.

In-game: A bookcase with many volumes of an encyclopedia. A door in the background has a multi-color image of the human brain.

Puzzles

In A Broken Mind: Psych 102, Panic Room’s puzzle game was considerably more interesting and dynamic than the story or physical space.

The variety and ingenuity was there. The puzzles felt homemade, and sometimes leaned too heavily on cliches, but the better puzzles and interactions were a lot of fun.

Standouts

There were a few genuinely fun puzzles.

The split room design forced collaboration.

Shortcomings

The play experience was uneven. Those of us who played in the dark room had far more interesting puzzles and interactions than those who played in the office.

There was one puzzle that didn’t measure up and felt pretty silly once we figured out how to solve it.

There were way too many 4-digit number and 4-digit letter locks. Every time we found a new combination, we had to try it all over the place, on both rooms of the game. That grew old immediately.

The story was needlessly complicated.

The set was too rough and mundane for a journey through the mind and headquarters of a globe threatening villain.

Should I play Panic Room’s A Broken Mind: Psych 102?

Panic Room got a lot right in A Broken Mind: Psych 102. The game offered fair, solid puzzling and everything worked. Too many similar locks notwithstanding, the game flowed pretty smoothly. That’s the basics right there.

A Broken Mind: Psych 102 didn’t look like much and the story was tough to follow or care about. Additionally, the unevenness between the dark and light rooms was fairly pronounced… so there’s plenty of room for growth.

Nevertheless, A Broken Mind: Psych 102 was a reasonably solid small-market game. If you’re in the area, and looking for an escape, this isn’t a bad option.

Go in knowing that the teammates who end up in the light room will likely have less fun than those who play the dark side.

Book your hour with Panic Room’s A Broken Mind: Psych 102, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

 

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