3600 Escape – Mineshaft [Review]

Digging for puzzles.

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

Legend said that an expensive diamond had been hidden in a mine in central Pennsylvania. We donned our hard hats and puzzled our way towards the treasure.

From the floor, to the walls, to the lack of space, Mindshaft was a compelling stage for this excavation.

In-game: A wooden mine shaft with a coal-filled mining cart.
Believe the gamemaster when you’re told, “You don’t have to touch the coal.”

Puzzles

Mineshaft was a puzzle-driven escape room in a particularly cool environment. It included an eclectic mix of typical escape room-style puzzles. Most of the puzzles made use of props that we uncovered in the gamespace.

Standouts

Beyond the entrance to Mineshaft we entered a world so unlike the lobby of 3600 Escape. The wood planks, scattered stones, and pieces of coal brought the little mine to life.

The best puzzles were the ones that tied directly into the set.

It was fun to extract clues from within the mine itself.

The puzzling started with the set and props working in tandem to engage the entire team as we got our bearings in the mine.

Shortcomings

While in theory we liked this opening, it focused everyone on the same task, which, coupled with unclear cluing and lack of direction, created a bottleneck right off the bat.

In a few instances, the cluing – and even some puzzle solutions – seemed rather ambiguous. We resorted to hacking our way through parts of this experience with trial and error.

3600 Escape built an outstanding set, but didn’t elevate the puzzling to match. This left us wanting something more.

Should I play 3600 Escape’s Mineshaft?

The most exciting element of Mineshaft was its set, which demonstrated 3600 Escape’s attention to detail in building the staging for this escape room. In this regard, Mineshaft was a leap forward for 3600 Escape.

Despite appearances, Mineshaft was actually a puzzler’s escape room: it was packed with very standard, escape room-style puzzles.

That’s also how it fell short. The game looked so good that we yearned for more integrated and experiential puzzling. We wanted the puzzle design to leap forward with that set. It felt like a missed opportunity.

If you enjoy room escapes for new and exciting environments, you’ll enjoy Mineshaft. If you enjoy escape room-style puzzles, you could also find a lot of like here. If, however, you really want to experience puzzle and set integration, you may not quite be satisfied by this escape room.

Regardless of experience level, there will likely be both moments of thrill and frustration in Mineshaft. 

We hope the 3600 Escape continues to work their puzzle design into the world of this delightfully compelling little mine. There is gold in this game if they dig just a little deeper.

Book your hour with 3600 Escape’s Mineshaft, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: 3600 Escape comped our tickets for this game.

 

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