Queen City Escape – Strange Escape [Review]

Pack some Eggos and don’t split up the party.

Location: Buffalo, NY

Date played: April 30, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

A sort of parody of the Netflix series, Stranger Things, our group of friends needed to venture into the Upside Down to save someone’s cat.

Loaded with Stranger Things references, Strange Escape was split into the real world and the Upside Down. Aesthetically, this was a fairly simple escape room, but it did a pretty good job of capturing some of the look of both sides of the series, even if you had to squint a little to see it.

In-game: The alphabet drawn on a wallpapered and wood paneled wall. Above each letter is a christmas light. "ACE" are illuminated.

Puzzles

Largely linear, Strange Escape had solid, well-clued puzzles that were satisfying solves.

The puzzles didn’t really carry a narrative, but most were fun references to the source material.

Standouts

The setup and rules delivery was legitimately funny.

As a fan of Stranger Things, I enjoyed finding all of the references that were littered throughout the room escape.

In game; blue Christmas lights illuminate the Upside Down as black tendrils cling to the walls.

I really enjoyed the puzzling in Strange Escape.

Shortcomings

Our whole team struggled to tell different colors apart in the low light.

There were a number of gameflow issues, especially given the linearity and our 7-person team. It was impossible to keep everyone occupied on relevant puzzles.

Similarly, early on we were given access to far too many items that simply weren’t relevant until later in the game. This lead to a lot of unnecessary wheel-spinning. It did keep a number of players busy, but then frustrated these same players when the puzzle they had been working on to no avail was ultimately solved simply when someone else found the missing components a few minutes later.

Queen City Escape built up Strange Escape as scary, but wasn’t. I think it was for the best that it wasn’t frightening, but accurate expectations would have improved the experience.

While the references were fun, it didn’t capture the thrill, adventure, or grandeur of Stranger Things.

Should I play Queen City Escape’s Strange Escape?

This was one of those strange reviews where the shortcomings list is really long, but I still had a great time. Strange Escape was a fun room escape. With fewer people and small adjustments to the lighting and flow, it could be much more fun.

There’s fun for newbies and experienced players alike in Strange Escape. Be mindful of team size, as the space fills up quickly and room around relevant puzzles will always be limited.

Fans of Stranger Things shouldn’t expect a grand adventure, but instead, an intimate, cute, and humorous homage to the series.

Those who haven’t watched Stranger Things… umm… fix that. Now. In addition to missing the jokes in this escape room, you’re also missing out on some of the finest television in recent memory.

Book your hour with Queen City Escape’s Strange Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

 

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