Evil Genius Escape Rooms – Chapter 2: Norcross Art Gallery [Review]

Art leaves room for interpretation.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date played: June 2, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60+ minutes

Price: $38 per ticket for 2 players, $32 per ticket for 3-6 players

Story & setting

In Evil Genius, Chapter 1, we investigated the death of Bill Occam and the evidence led us to an art gallery owned by a multimillionaire of questionable repute. We had to investigate further to determine if he was in cahoots with the Evil Genius.

White walled and filled with prints of famous art pieces, from lighting to displays, Norcross Art Gallery accurately captured the stereotypically sterile gallery aesthetic.

In game: A white statue of a nude woman holding a bowl in the middle of an art gallery. Paintings and statues rest in the background.

Puzzles

While Evil Genius’ Chapter 1 was built around padlocks and other low tech interactions, Chapter 2 leaned heavily on technology to drive the puzzles and interactions.

The puzzles required keen observation, visual and auditory.

Standouts

The Norcross Gallery nailed the art gallery aesthetic. This clean look hid surprises well.

When booked back-to-back, the transition from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 was pretty damn cool.

In Chapter 2, Evil Genius Escape Rooms continued to tell the story of their title character. They again used his presence to build dramatic tension and escalate the urgency of the experience.

There were a handful of brilliant, well-executed interactions.

Shortcomings

In Chapter 1, Evil Genius had a series of simple, but elegantly implemented, interactions. Much of Chapter 2’s puzzling felt bumpier and at times ambiguous.

There was an interaction that focused a couple of players in a specific way, drawing them away from the rest of the team puzzling. It was available too early in the experience, leading to a unnecessary confusion.

The final act had a series of frustrating puzzle design choices converging at the same moment. It seemed poorly thought out.

Should I play Evil Genius Escape Rooms’ Chapter 2: Norcross Art Gallery?

Like so many art galleries, the Norcross Art Gallery contained some things that were my taste and some things that weren’t.

Evil Genius Escape Rooms designed one narrative-driven adventure in two parts. It’s absolutely worth playing Chapter 1: Occam’s Apartment, and if you’re already visiting, you ought to play Chapter 2: Norcross Gallery… if only to experience the story and its clever, multi-stage delivery.

Norcross Gallery had some frustrating flaws, but through it Evil Genius Escape Rooms continued to build a character and story that instill urgency. They are doing something different and that in and of itself is exciting.

Book your hour with Evil Genius Escape Rooms’ Chapter 2: Norcross Art Gallery, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Evil Genius Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

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