The Crux Escape – Clara [Review]

I see metaphors, all the time. They’re everywhere.

Location: Niagara Falls, ON

Date played: April 30, 2017

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 50 minutes

Price: $21-26 per ticket

Story & setting

We entered the mind of Clara, a young girl with a dark past. Could we rescue her from her own trauma by uncovering her experiences?

Clara’s mind was a spacious room with basic furniture around the perimeter. Artwork hung on the walls. The decor was sometimes quirky, but not particularly interesting.

In-game: Image of a large back locked box that reads, "CLARA"

Puzzles

Clara challenged players to make connections between the various props and set pieces that together presented the puzzles.

The Crux used standard escape room concepts, executed at varying degrees of difficulty.

Standouts

We particularly enjoyed one set piece. As the experience progressed, we uncovered more of it and the intricate, detailed artwork within.

There were a lot of locks in Clara, but The Crux clearly connected puzzles with the corresponding locks. Thus the escape room rewarded puzzle completion with more game. The volume of locks never hindered the flow of the experience.

Clara was a basic room escape with a twist. At times, the seemingly standard puzzles tripped up our experienced team, not because they were too challenging, but because they deviated from the norm just enough to trip up anyone jumping to conclusions too quickly.

As the room escape progressed, the puzzles revealed more about Clara and her traumatized past. Upon reflection, the underlying puzzle design and story were artfully intertwined. After we’d learned her story and escaped, we appreciated the links between the puzzle structure and narrative.

Shortcomings

While in retrospect the puzzles and story came together, throughout the game itself the puzzling didn’t build a strong narrative. Clara was primarily a puzzling experience, without a memorable climactic moment.

As we progressed through Clara, we rode a roller coaster of puzzle challenge. The difficulty curve seemed off. Especially given an intended audience of less experienced players, more ramp up and down would help with flow.

Clara was a room of locked furniture and basic wall hangings. Certain props had visual appeal, but it was not an intriguing set to explore.

Should I play The Crux Escape’s Clara?

Clara was a puzzle-focused room escape. If you like puzzles, there is a lot to enjoy here. Additionally, players of all experience levels can enjoy Clara; they will likely be tripped up in different places.

If you are more interested in set design, story, or technology, Clara will not be the right escape room for you.

As Clara’s story progressed, it was always in the background, with the puzzles front and center. It wasn’t until reflecting back that we came to appreciate the subtle connections between the mystery and the puzzles. If you’re looking for a heart-racing, puzzling adventure, we recommend The Crux’s Dead Air, where the story and puzzles were more closely intertwined as you experience them.

That said, there was a simple beauty in Clara.

Book your hour with The Crux Escape’s Clara, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: The Crux provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

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