Location: Cheektowaga, NY
Date played: January 21, 2017
Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-7
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30 per ticket
Story & setting
Captured by a psychopath and locked up, we had to survive his death trap.
Locked-Up is the escape room section of House of Horrors & Haunted Catacombs. They are a haunt company and that background influenced their escape room design. Escape The Serial Killer was intense, disturbing, and dark in tone as well as lighting.
For those who had visited THE BASEMENT in Los Angeles, it was clear that Locked-Up took inspiration from that game for look, tone, and approach. (Note, however, that Escape The Serial Killer did not have any actors in the room.) This was a murder house.
Escape The Serial Killer worked puzzle content and puzzle flow into the terror-based setting. They pulled off both aspects of the experience.
The puzzling was grounded in the props and set, occasionally dipping into more task-based interactions to keep the game flowing.
Escape The Serial Killer’s set was badass. Gritty, grimy, and occasionally grotesque, it was an intense horror experience done right. Locked-Up clearly put substantial time and effort into the design and buildout. Locked-Up minded the details; the escape room environment frequently felt real.
There were a couple of solo moments for the bold. These varied in intensity. They were certainly cool experiences.
The puzzling and interaction design enforced teamwork and fostered a superb player dynamic.
Beware of loud moments. Noises over 85 decibels are considered harmful to the human ear. My ears physically hurt at one point, so, whatever the exact volume, it was too loud. Locked-Up should consider adjusting the loud moments so that they are within a safe and comfortable range. The pain took me out of the experience.
Mind the splinters. Because many surfaces needed a good sanding, a few of us left with teeny-tiny bits of the game in our fingers. Additionally, a few surfaces ought to be cleaned. There’s a different between dirty and dirty-looking.
The early game was frustratingly choppy. This was augmented by challenging lighting that didn’t work well with the puzzle design. All of this conspired to slow the beginning of Escape The Serial Killer a little too much. I suspect that this prevents some teams from seeing the room escape’s excellent mid- and late-game moments.
Should I play Locked-Up Escape Games’ Escape The Serial Killer?
Escape The Serial Killer was the closest thing I’ve seen to THE BASEMENT; it’s impossible to have played both companies without making comparisons. The set design was on par with THE BASEMENT, while the puzzles and game flow were stronger than what I saw from the famous Los Angeles company. Where Locked-Up fell short was in the fine-tuning. Additionally, two iconic moments from THE BASEMENT’s games show up in lesser implementations than the originals.
Escape The Serial Killer was an awesome game that would hold up in the most competitive of markets. So long as you and your team are excited to experience the frights, then it’s a must-play.
If you’re afraid of the idea of an escape room, then this is not the game for you.
If you don’t want to feel fear, then this is not the game for you.
If you don’t cooperate well with your friends, then this is not the game for you.
Escape room first timers will enjoy this room, but likely will not fully appreciate this experience. I would strongly suggest playing at least one more typical escape room before diving into the adrenalin-filled deep end.
Those bold enough to play ought to do so.
Book your hour with Locked-Up Escape Games’ Escape The Serial Killer, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Locked-Up Escape Games 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.