Just Escape – The Tryals [Review]

I confess!

Location: Massapequa, NY

Date played: March 26, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $30 per ticket

Story & setting

As falsely accused witches about to stand trial, we had an hour to steal a series of fake confessions that our neighbors had created in our names, or burn at the stake.

The room was dark and largely bare with the exception of a few props that suggested old-timey witchcraft. While the gamespace was certainly unusual, even by escape room standards, the room was not much to look at.

In-game: a glowing lantern upon a shelf illuminating a pair of goblets.


The Tryals was incredibly search-centric. There were puzzles to solve, but finding all of the components was the crux of the game.

Additionally, some of the puzzling had fractured clue structure. This became apparent when hints started flowing pretty freely from the gamemaster to help us bridge the gaps.


Just Escape did a lot of unusual things with this room. They created honestly different interactions and challenges.

Two late-game moments, in particular, stood out: one for its unexpected arrival, the other for its unorthodox delivery. These were inventive.

The Just Escape facility was well staffed. The blazer-wearing gamemasters were diligent, caring, and on top of their stuff.


The darkness of the gamespace was the true challenge of The Tryals. It was tedious having only one significant light source for everyone to share.

Aesthetically, the room wasn’t appealing. It felt like a dark basement.

It was often difficult to tell the confessions apart from non-confession clues. We didn’t even realize when we had collected all of them.

The puzzle’s clue structure was frequently fractured and required a few leaps of logic or hints.

Should I play Just Escape’s The Tryals?

The Tryals was an interesting game. It offered a unique experience and unusual interactions. This is admirable, especially considering how many room escapes rehash the same concepts that so many others have already explored.

There was, however, plenty of opportunity to improve The Tryals with stronger in-game cluing, more compelling aesthetics, and strategically placed light sources.

Beginners will likely find The Tryals a challenging game. The darkness adds a lot of complexity to most team dynamics. If you don’t already know your way around an escape room, this can be a mighty big challenge. If this sounds like an appealing challenge, then by all means, dive in.

Experienced players will likely find the game flow issues, lack of aesthetic, and light sharing frustrating. I found myself regularly impressed by the unusual game mechanics and then equally frustrated by some of the glitches in execution.

There is a brilliant game in The Tryals if Just Escape is looking to iterate.

Book your hour with Just Escape’s Tryals, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Just Escape comped our tickets for this game.

1 Comment

  1. I completely agree with this review. My boyfriend and I did this room together, and alone (after the fact we figured out that more people with us definitely would have helped, but offering 8 open player spaces for this one small room is completely ridiculous). This was my 4th escape room, 2nd from Just Escape specifically. We had made it out of all prior rooms with more than a few minutes to spare, so when it came down to final seconds and it seemed as though we still had a long way to go, my frustration with the inconsistencies with the game were very clear to my boyfriend and our gamemaster. Although our gamemaster was helpful when needed, I find it puzzling (no pun intended) that they need to interact and give as many clues as they did. I feel like if the clue is not figured out by experienced players within an appropriate amount of time, then it’s not a good clue/puzzle. I admire what they try to do towards the end of the game, which I believe you mentioned. However, all of the clues that took us so long to get to up until that point, were inconsistent and unnecessary. With a little more finesse, a better application of clues, and less ‘find-a-key-and-open’ puzzles, I think this game could have a real challenging potential.

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