Do not disturb.
Location: Passaic, New Jersey
Date played: August 7, 2017
Team size: 2-7; we recommend 3-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $33 per ticket
Story & setting
Based on the Stephen King short-story-turned-film 1408, Brighton Asylum’s 1408 Escape cast us in the role of paranormal investigators seeking to learn the truth about a string of strange suicides in room 1408 of the Dolphin Hotel.
The set of 1408 Escape looked exactly like a creepy hotel room. It wasn’t a frightening set, but it projected feelings of unease.
1408 Escape was light on puzzles and heavy on connection building. The set was detailed and much of the interaction was designed around exploring the nuances of the space.
The set looked great and its design escalated late-game.
There was a fantastic tech-driven reveal.
Brighton Asylum Escape’s set told a story on its own. One of our favorite in-game moments had nothing at all to do with the puzzles or gameplay. That was impressive.
While the space told a story, the gameplay did not. It felt bolted on and disconnected from the experience.
Overall, 1408 Escape lacked puzzling and gameplay. The interactions bounced back and forth between being obvious and requiring us to search for pixel-hunt details in a large space. We lost this one after spending an incredible amount of time searching and continuously failing to find one thing. The irony was that I guessed most of what we were looking for, but not all of it.
The soundtrack from 1408 Escape included a lot of confusing background noise. We continually asked each other, “Did that sound mean something?” or “Was that sound triggered by something we did?” This noise regularly made us think we had triggered something when we hadn’t… And at times it also prevented us from realizing that we had actually triggered a thing.
One key piece of tech failed on us. Thankfully our gamemaster gave us simple bypass instructions.
Should I play Brighton Asylum Escape’s 1408 Escape?
1408 Escape was rooted in horror and dealt with suicide bluntly. While the room escape was not scary, I would strongly suggest that you avoid it if suicide is a subject that hits too close to home.
A portion of 1408 Escape’s set may be inaccessible to players with mobility issues. As long as a few teammates are fully mobile, this won’t be a problem, but any less mobile players will have severely diminished participation. Speak with your gamemaster if this might be an issue, they may be able to help.
The set of 1408 Escape looked great, but the gameflow was not where it needed to be. The folks from Brighton Asylum Escape told us that they are aware of these issues and plan to fix them before haunt season starts. They are committed.
1408 Escape will likely be a better escape room come September/ October. How much better will remain to be seen, but I am not counting Brighton Asylum out.
If you’re a beginner, 1408 Escape will be better tailored to you. The heavy focus on searching frequently plays against experienced players’ desires and skills; more experienced players should take on The Tomb. I consider myself a good searcher and I couldn’t find all that needed to be found. I didn’t enjoy my stay at the Dolphin Hotel… but I’m holding out hope that this turns into a hotel worth visiting.
Book your hour with Brighton Asylum Escape’s 1408 Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Full disclosure: Brighton Asylum Escape comped our tickets for this game.