Lock & Key Escape Room – The Virus Outbreak [Review]

I’ve been cured of the zombie virus… a lot.

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $25 per ticket

Story & setting

After zombies invaded our research lab, we had to find the cure to a zombie bite or become one of them.

The research lab was sparse and sterile in a lab-meets-clean-basement-workshop sort of way.

In-game: A team ini a dark room interacting with a door that is chained shut.
Image via Lock & Key Escape Room

Puzzles

The Virus Outbreak’s puzzling was more or less tactile, but well-integrated with the theme.

The puzzling could have been more built into the set. However, the game shined in some of the places where the puzzle design truly used the set.

Standouts

We quickly found the thread of gameplay and followed the puzzles easily from one to the next. The Virus Outbreak was a non-linear game with excellent puzzle flow and a strong clue structure.

We particularly enjoyed one spacial reasoning puzzle with a fun nod to the zombie invasion. It wasn’t too challenging, but it was unique and fun.

Shortcomings

The lab environment wasn’t particularly exciting. It barely evoked the drama of a zombie apocalypse or the unfortunate zombie bite from which we were trying to cure ourselves.

The Virus Outbreak felt sparse… both in ambiance and in puzzles. It was a little lean on content and interactions.

A few elements in The Virus Outbreak were re-used in different ways. While the game was well-structured such that this didn’t trip us up (although I imagine that this would trip up many teams), the repetition contributed to a feeling that there wasn’t a ton of gameplay in the room escape.

Should I play Lock & Key Escape Room’s The Virus Outbreak?

The Virus Outbreak was a buttoned-up, standard escape room. Lock & Key Escape Room crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s.

While this room escape didn’t deliver outstanding ambiance, drama, or puzzling, it did deliver a product that worked. Everything flowed smoothly and made sense.

This would be an approachable game for new players. It could also be a good for an experienced player looking to go at this solo or attempt a speed run.

Book your hour with Lock & Key Escape Room’s The Virus Outbreak, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Lock & Key Escape Room 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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