Countdown Live Escape Games – Pandorus Mission [Review]

That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over! … Oh… We won!

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date played: June 2, 2017

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

As mercenaries flying about the galaxy doing work for pay, a new client had hired us to create a weapon that would wipe out a hated parasitic species.

Pandorus Mission was set in a magnificently hacked together starship. Made largely from found objects, the set looked like a gorgeous mixture of technology and biology.

In-game: A cockpit glowing green with red accents. It looks like a mix of technology and biology.

Puzzles

The puzzles in Pandorus Mission were baked into the set and its interactions. They generally required us to make connections that weren’t necessarily easy to see at first, but came together swiftly as soon as we understood.

Standouts

The set was beautiful and otherworldly. I loved how Countdown Live Escape Games constructed it largely from junk materials that combined to make something strangely beautiful.

In-game: Part of the ship with glowing green tendrils. Everything looks like a mixture of technology and biology.

Pandorus Mission was hilarious.

The interactions that were born of the set were the highlights.

Shortcomings

In some instances, the set was so busy that it was difficult to find the puzzles.

There were a number of tech failures that cost us somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes of gameplay.

A couple of puzzles repeated a few times; this was a wasted opportunity.

Pandorus Mission attempted to tell a serious story with consequences. This was completely lost on us until our gamemaster pointed it out at the end of the experience. The humor and some of the muddy interaction design completely undermined the narrative. We made a moral decision in this room escape without realizing that we were making a choice.

Should I play Countdown Live Escape Games’s Pandorus Mission?

Countdown Live Escape Games crafted a beautiful set and strong bones in Pandorus Mission. I love it when an escape room company builds a game from inexpensive parts and makes it look like it cost a fortune.

The downside here is that Pandorus Mission is essentially an incomplete game. It looks great, has a number of excellent interactions, and follows a narrative. It’s missing some content, and parts of the experience need additional refinement so that they can carry the narrative weight that they are supposed to.

As we exited Pandorus Mission with seconds on the clock, we had an unusual, and frankly refreshing, interaction with the owner, who pointed out everything that he knew was wrong with the escape room. It seems that this ship is in the shop for a lot of repairs over the next couple of months.

My advice: Play Pandorus Mission, but wait until after summer 2017. If Countdown Live Escape Games sees their iterations through, this will likely become a truly special escape room. It’s got so much going for it, but this ship needs a little more love if it’s going to soar.

Book your hour with Countdown Live Escape Games’s Pandorus Mission, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

 

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