The Crux Escape – The Night Before Cruxmas [Review]

A heartwarming tale of bureaucracy and Christmas cheer.

Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Date played: January 22, 2017

Team size: up to 7; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: 20 CAD per ticket

Story & setting

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through… Santa’s office we searched for the correct clearance codes for the Big Guy to take off. An elf had given him the wrong code and Santa’s sleigh was on its launchpad waiting for a green light to liftoff. No clearance codes, no presents. Welcome to post-9/11 air traffic regulation.

Santa’s office felt appropriately like a holiday living room combined with a mailroom. Considering that the business concerns of his occupation are primarily correspondence, this felt like an apt representation. It was also the right amount of adorable coziness to put us in the holiday spirit.

In-game: A mantle with stockings, and gifts, a lit Christmas tree with presents beneath in the background.
Image via The Crux

Puzzles

Santa’s elves packed a lot of puzzles into a small space. There was a lot to do.

The puzzles involved organizing and ciphering, among other skills.

Standouts

We loved the premise of this Christmas mission, and the idea of government bureaucracy wrapping Saint Nick in red tape.

Although The Night Before Cruxmas was a temporary installation, it was designed with care and attention to detail. The space had a holiday cheer about it that set the appropriate mood. We also loved the mailroom interpretation of Santa’s Office.

The Night Before Cruxmas was an excellent example of room escape design and construction on a budget. The environment and puzzles came together delightfully without any bells and whistles… except for the bells on the tree.

One particular puzzle unfolded throughout the entire game. It was well designed so as not to be brute-forced too early, and its continual unraveling heightened our anticipation of a solution. Upon reception of the final components, the solution was satisfying and lots of fun.

Shortcomings

While most of the puzzles came together clearly, we found one to be rather ambiguous, and therefore confusing.

Everything in Santa’s office was locked shut with similar locks. Similar digit structure inputs unnecessarily halted the game’s flow.

Should I play The Crux Escape’s The Night Before Cruxmas?

The Night Before Cruxmas was a puzzler’s Christmas adventure. The small space was jam-packed with puzzles that all came together in an adorable conclusion to the room escape’s original and delightful setup.

The temporary installation was perfectly decorated to set the mood and portray a vision of Santa’s office, which must be adjacent to that hectic workspace portrayed in all the movies.

We recommend The Night Before Cruxmas to both newer and more experienced players who are in the mood for the combination of puzzles and holiday cheer. This would be good family fun.

Book your game with The Crux Escape’s The Night Before Cruxmas, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: The Crux Escape comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

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