Escape Room Era – Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room [Review]

Ben Franklin fan fic.

Location: Anaheim, California

Date played: June 4, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $24 per ticket Monday-Thursday, $28 per ticket Friday-Sunday

Story & setting

Escape Room Era brought us back to colonial times: Benjamin Franklin had invented something that would help the Continental Army win the war against the Redcoats. We needed to find the invention before the British Army could steal it.

Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room was set in a dimly lit colonial-ish home. The candlelit room had simple furniture and household-y props.

In-game: A close up of an array of LED candles surrounding a small statue of a sun.

Puzzles

Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room was primarily about the puzzles. Some of the puzzles incorporated with the set pieces. Others were primarily mental challenges set in this space.

Standouts

We signed the waiver with a quill pen, dipped in ink. This was the first time we’ve ever been entertained by signing a waiver.

The room escape was a giant ode to Benjamin Franklin’s inventions. This theme ran through most of the escape room, taking different forms. It was clever and built to an entertaining conclusion.

The puzzles in Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room flowed logically. Some of them used the space in interesting ways.

Shortcomings

Other puzzles were primarily paper-based, and would have benefited from more connection to the room itself. In one instance, we found a puzzle solution to be too ambiguous.

The set wasn’t exciting, cohesive, or even particularly of the period. Given Escape Room Era’s focus on the historical setting, we felt it lacked a more believably colonial staging.

While the dim lighting served a few functions, ultimately, it was annoying.

Should I play Escape Room Era’s Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room?

We haven’t seen a too many historical fiction escape rooms. Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room was essentially Benjamin Franklin fan fiction, delivered through the escape room medium. As someone who has always enjoyed reading historical fiction, I enjoyed experiencing it as an escape room.

That said, Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room didn’t realize the historical adventure as convincingly as we would have hoped. It was a basic escape room, with a set that didn’t really sell the time period, and puzzles, that while solid and thematically appropriate, didn’t feel overly colonial… That said, a few puzzles were brilliant.

Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room would be a good beginner’s escape room. It was puzzle-centric, but approachable, and gives a sense of where this medium can go. More experienced players will find some clever moments, but won’t find this escape room particularly challenging or believable.

If you find yourself in Anaheim, and you enjoy puzzles and history, we recommend that you rummage through Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room. It won’t change history, but it will give you a glimpse of what may come.

Book your hour with Escape Room Era’s Benjamin Franklin’s Invention Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room Era comped our tickets for this game.

 

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