Trapped – Room #9 [Review]

We checked out early.

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $25 per ticket

Story & setting

The hotel staff had warned us that we didn’t want to stay in Room #9, but as weary travelers, we didn’t heed their warning. Now we had to escape before we disappeared like all the room’s previous guests.

Room #9 was an uninspired, uninviting hotel room from 1978. It had sparse furnishings, a few wall hangings, and a cramped closet.

While this set up was creepy enough, the atmosphere in Room #9 didn’t reflect the fiction. It was a bit grimy, but not intense enough to carry the dramatic story.

Trapped logo, reads, "Trapped A Buffallo Escape Room Experience" The "T" looks vaguely like a key, the "D" has an open door in it.

Puzzles

The puzzles derived their challenge from haphazard cluing.

Other challenges relied on careful searching and re-searching.

Standouts

Our gamemaster delivered an outstanding introduction to the room escape. She created a fiction with drama, intrigue, and excitement. Her delivery was polished and engaging.

Shortcomings

Our gamemaster aptly described this room escape as “nonlinear” and “chaotic.” The chaos stemmed from partial access to too many puzzles. Whereas a nonlinear game would have multiple puzzle paths that could be followed simultaneously, Room #9 had multiple puzzles partially available, which couldn’t actually be followed through to completion. These were huge time-burners that disrupted any possible puzzle flow and wore down any enthusiasm for puzzling them out. By the time Room #9 revealed the missing information, it couldn’t reinvigorate our energy. It was painfully difficult to tell what was relevant at any given point in the game.

Room #9 stomped on momentum at every turn. It had multiple locks of the same digit structure, necessitating that we try a derived solution in every one… excitement muffled. It had multiple locks on the same box or space, necessitating a stoppage even after we input a correct code… excitement halted.

While the gamemaster did generally provide clues as needed, she wouldn’t provide them for certain puzzles. When we got stumped on one of these, our game stalled out with no way to move forward.

Some previous team wrote additional numbers on the wall beneath a number-based puzzle. The team at Trapped never bothered to paint over past players’ incorrect scribbles.

Should I play Trapped’s Room #9?

We appreciated how masterfully our gamemaster set the dramatic scene for our haunted adventure in Room #9. She was so incredibly likable and her delivery so compelling that we wish we were writing a different review.

Unfortunately, however, our excitement ended when we left her presence. The uninspired environment couldn’t bring those emotions to life. That, combined with poor clue structure, deliberate chaos, built-in progress stoppages, and inattentive maintenance left us eager to escape, but for all the wrong reasons.

Full disclosure: Trapped 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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