Escape Games PDX – Portlandia [Review]

The dream of the 90s is alive in this room escape.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Date played: May 21, 2017

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Our roommate had locked away his share of the rent money. We needed to find it in time to give it to our landlord or face eviction.

Portlandia was set within an apartment that was loaded with local beer and references to Portland. And yes, we’re talking Oregon, not Maine. The room looked like your typical apartment… although I’ve never seen an apartment with an epic wall of beer.

In-game: A wooden wall with long narrow shelves covered in local Portland beer bottles.

Puzzles

The puzzle mix was broad and offered some layered challenges. There was no shortage of things to do.

Portlandia, more than just about any escape room that I’ve ever seen, rewarded local knowledge.

In-game: A wall mounted bicycle.

Standouts

Somewhere buried in the middle of Portlandia was an excellent moment. If it doesn’t make you at least crack a smile, you might want to consider therapy to work through your broken childhood.

It comically captured the Portland stereotypes.

There were Easter egg Portland references that were largely lost on Lisa and me, but greatly amused our local teammates.

It kept a lot of people engaged.

Shortcomings

Portlandia over-rewarded knowledge of the City of Portland. There were reference materials to look things up, but that would have been tedious. Thankfully we had some locals with us and they knocked out those puzzles.

Some of the puzzles could have been better integrated into the set and narrative.

If you don’t stay on top of documenting what you have derived, and what you have used, this room escape could turn punishing.

Should I play Escape Games PDX’s Portlandia?

Portlandia was a playful and funny puzzle game.

While I wouldn’t be eager to play with 10 people, keeping our team of 6 people busy for most of an hour was no small feat.

If you’re a PDX local looking for a solid puzzle-driven room escape, this would be a great option, regardless of escape room experience level.

If you’re a traveling player who isn’t familiar with Portland, you might consider drafting a couple of teammates who really know the area. I think that we’d feel differently about this room escape if we hadn’t had that local knowledge at our disposal.

There are players who want to experience absolutely every single puzzle and interaction in an escape room. That likely won’t be the case in Portlandia. Things will happen while you’re off solving your own puzzles. I enjoy knowing that my friends are busy having fun and being smart without me. If that sounds like a good time to you, then put down your Voodoo Blue Star Donuts and give Portlandia a shot.

Book your hour with Escape Games PDX’s Portlandia, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Games PDX comped our tickets for this game.

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