Baltimaze – Ex Machina [Review]

The ghost in the vault.

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

Date played: April 24, 2017

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28.50 per ticket (adults), $24.50 per ticket (children & students)

Story & setting

During the renovation of an old Victorian mansion previously owned by an eccentric world traveler, a mysterious room was discovered. We had to explore this space and find our way in through the long-sealed vault door.

The setting was essentially a puzzle room in an old house. Parts of it were deliberately unusual, like the vault door, which added an element of adventure to an otherwise standard escape room set.

In game: A big metal, vault door with a series of elaborate mechanical locking mechanisms and strange green weathering.

Puzzles

Ex Machina was a puzzle-driven escape room. It used a fair amount of tech and kept interactions tangible. Some of these puzzles were legitimate challenges and demanded diverse skills including reasoning and dexterity.

Standouts

The vault door looked great. Its handcrafted mechanical locking mechanism was deeply satisfying. We were literally playing with it long after we opened it.

Nearly every detail of Ex Machina had a purpose.

Many of the puzzles were challenging, tangible, and fair. Solving them was satisfying.

Shortcomings

The set was inconsistent. Some portions of the game looked and felt fantastic, while others felt a little rushed.

One of the later puzzles was a blind guessing game that allowed only one player to participate at a time. While I am assuming that many teams breeze through this, we spent 10 minutes watching each other fail with literally nothing else to do. Even if it went smoothly, it wasn’t an exciting or collaborative challenge for such a prominent, late-game interaction.

Should I play Baltimaze’s Ex Machine?

I really enjoyed my visit to Baltimaze. Ex Machina had challenging, yet sensibly designed puzzles that forced us to earn our little victories.

Baltimaze is upfront about the higher difficulty level in this game. Beginners should, without a doubt, take a stab at an easier room or two before battling it out with the puzzles of Ex Machina.

So long as you haven’t already played Ex Machina at Baltimaze’s sister company Escape Rhode Island in Providence, experienced players should test their wits against Ex Machina… even if it’s just to see the vault door… which I wanted to take home with me.

Book your hour with Baltimaze’s Ex Machina, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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