Escape 101 – The Widow’s Room [Review]

Death… it might be preferable.

Location: Danbury, CT

Date played: December 3, 2016

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 6-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27.95 per ticket on weekends, $24.95 per ticket on weekday, child pricing available

Story & setting

“A doctor has been discovered lying dead in his study and your team has been dispatched to investigate. Upon discovering inconsistencies in the evidence, things take a turn for the worst. Will you solve the murder before it’s too late?”

Escape 101 followed the script of the early days of escape rooms:

  • Used furniture
  • Cheap props
  • Lots of locks

The room looked about as generic as possible and the story never culminated into anything cohesive.

Puzzles

The puzzles relied on tenuous connections, heavy searching, red herrings, and low feedback.

Escape 101 advertised The Widow’s Room as highly difficult with a low escape rate. It was certainly difficult, but the challenge came from a lot of pointless deception, frustrating gotchas, and some red herrings that subtracted value from the overall experience.

When the puzzles were intuitive, they were boring.

When the puzzles were hard, they were boring and tedious.

Standouts

The Widow’s Room included a beautiful chess set.

In-game: A pretty chess set sits in the foreground. A mundane room escape in the background.

Our gamemaster was kind throughout the entire experience. I am quite certain that she knew that we weren’t enjoying ourselves and handled that gracefully.

Shortcomings

There was a string of puzzles that demanded some logic leaps and offered zero feedback. One slightly incorrect answer was enough to cast doubt on the whole string of puzzles. This was made even more frustrating by the integration of a red herring that seemed deliberately placed to add confusion.

The puzzling simply wasn’t fun. Easy or hard, it was boring. From time to time, I looked up at the clock hoping to see less time remaining.

When requesting a hint, Escape 101 paused the game clock until the hint was delivered. Some of our teammates liked this feature. I found myself wishing that the gamemaster had a hint at her fingertips.

We were missing 2/5 of the pieces to a key puzzle. During our walkthrough at the end, our gamemaster seemed confused about the missing pieces, but ultimately just shrugged and suggested that the pieces may have fallen behind some furniture.

Should I play Escape 101’s The Widow’s Room?

The Widow’s Room feels like a bad game from 2 years ago.

It was one of the weakest games that I have played in a while and I was happy when it was over.

Full disclosure: Escape 101 provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

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