“Holy pop culture references Captain Kirk!” – Pete Townshend, Stranger Things
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date played: June 25, 2017
Team size: 4-14; we recommend 6-8
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $28 per ticket, $399 per private game
Story & setting
Our team of intergalactic explorers ventured through a wormhole in a desperate mission to save a missing captain.
An exhibit within the iconic Franklin Institute science museum in Philadelphia, PA, Intergalactic Escape was built around a spaceship and sent us on a mission into the unknown.
Intergalactic Escape regularly swapped between straight puzzling and immersive adventure. It was not an escape room to take lightly; there were many things that seemed as if they should have been easy, but were deceptively challenging.
Intergalactic Escape had a playful, sci-fi vibe. It was an exciting, fun, and family-friendly space adventure.
There was a lot of variety in Intergalactic Escape. We experienced different environments, puzzle types, and puzzling interfaces.
Many of the puzzles in Intergalactic Escape forced teamwork. In multiple instances, we had to collaborate to push buttons, type answers, move items, or perform other interactions. Teamwork was crucial to mission success.
Although we were working together, we were each assigned a specific role as crew aboard our spaceship. These set up the team so that players could have their own mission-critical moments.
Intergalactic Escape didn’t take itself too seriously. There were many funny moments.
While there was a lot of puzzle variety, not every type of puzzle was fully thought out:
- The choice of opening puzzle will make getting started extremely difficult for some teams.
- Mid-game we derived a lot of information through a common escape room design trope that was sloppily and tediously implemented.
- One main physically interactive puzzle was plagued with construction inconsistencies and poorly hidden tech that detracted from the experience and continually led us astray.
Intergalactic Escape included a lot of doubled information. We spent substantial time deriving incomplete information, trying to keep it all straight, only to find that we’d derive it more completely later from other puzzles. This was misleading at best and frustrating at worst.
While we appreciated having roles aboard our starship, they were ultimately meaningless, as we each gravitated toward our own strengths as players, regardless of the assigned roles. Additionally, I cannot imagine that 14 actively engaged players could participate the entire time.
Given its location at The Franklin Institute, we expected Intergalactic Escape to teach us something. There was some science, but it felt bolted on rather than integrated into the puzzles. Intergalactic Escape prioritized pop culture references over learning. While I think that’s fine – sometimes even encouraged – for typical escape room companies… The Franklin Institute is not a typical escape room company.
Both in the moment, and upon reflection, I am baffled by Intergalactic Escape’s commitment to an obscure Twin Peaks reference.
Should I play The Franklin Institute’s Intergalactic Escape?
Intergalactic Escape was challenging, humorous, exciting, and fun cooperative entertainment. It was an excellent escape room that would be a standout in many markets, including Philadelphia.
For most of the museum goers and escape room newbies checking out this game, it will be incredibly challenging, but a lot of fun.
It’s worth playing for experienced players as well. The escape room looked cool and we had to work hard to see Intergalactic Escape through to its conclusion.
So… we absolutely recommend it. End of review. Right? No.
Intergalactic Escape will be an ambassador of escape rooms to the general public by virtue of its location at The Franklin Institute, a popular destination for educational, family-friendly entertainment.
Bluntly: We expected more.
- More thoughtful puzzle design
- More refined set and prop implementation
- More educational components
Intergalactic Escape was a lot of fun, but if it’s going to be an ambassador for escape rooms through its location in The Franklin Institute, it ought to be more than that.
Book your hour with The Franklin Institute’s Intergalactic Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: The Franklin Institute comped our tickets for this game.