Clue Chase – Ultimate Heist [Review]

You’re going to want to fence that Beany Baby quickly.

Location: New York, NY

Date played: September 14, 2017

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 5 to 7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Story & setting

It was 1998 and we were burglars attempting to rob a notorious thief and steal the final piece of an artifact. Throughout Clue Chase’s 4 games, we’d been looking for pieces of this precious artifact. Of course, while thieving, we were aiming to rob this guy blind. Because money.

In-game: A locked box featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's smoking pipe.

Our goal was to escape with as much money, in the form of valuable items, as possible. At the end of the game, we received a score based on our plundering.

Ultimate Heist took place in a study/ trophy room: dark walls, heavy wooden furniture, and valuables in glass cases.

Puzzles

Ultimate Heist was packed full of puzzles to solve. The majority were standalone challenges that unlocked stealable valuables.

There was also a series of interconnected puzzles that led to our escape route.

Standouts

The setting worked well. It was just stuffy enough in how it merged “office” and “museum.”

It was 1998 and Ultimate Heist was packed with amusing 90s pop culture references.

Clue Chase structured Ultimate Heist such that it offered an on-ramp to puzzling and then a free-for-all. There was a lot to unlock.

There were a ton of puzzles in this escape room. Our group of experienced escape room players solved most – but not all – of them before we made our escape. We were puzzling the entire hour.

Shortcomings

With a large team doing so many things all at one time, the entire experience was chaotic and hard to manage.

Not all of the clues connected back to the valuables adequately. We burned time trying solutions in multiple locks of the same digit structure. This made portions of Ultimate Heist frustrating.

Our gamemaster was a character in the game. He would appear when we shouted for him… or a couple minutes later. Although he entered the gamespace, he made us ask questions, which meant that if we didn’t ask the right questions, we didn’t receive any guidance from him. He then left us more frustrated than he found us.

The hardest puzzle in Ultimate Heist suffered from a gating issue. One component was available from the initial moments of the escape room, but it wasn’t solvable until later in the experience. When we didn’t make progress with this item, we asked for hints on it, and each time, our gamemaster told us he couldn’t tell us anything about it. This proved incredibly frustrating and burned a lot of our time.

We experienced one broken clue and two reset mistakes. Because of the lack of connections between puzzle components and locks, these had significant impact on gameplay. We only unraveled what had gone wrong post-game.

Should I play Clue Chase’s Ultimate Heist?

The Ultimate Heist had a unique structure as a score-based puzzling theft. In this way, both new and experienced players can get a lot of out of it. If you love to solve puzzles, it’s jam packed.

That said, it didn’t quite come together for us. The lack of connections and subsequent hinting style added a lot of unnecessary frustration.

Clue Chase thinks up interesting concepts and continues to iterate on their experiences. Although they have great ideas, thus far they haven’t quite been able to execute on each concept in a way that we’ve found satisfying.

A dark wood contraption with a ring of metal buttons in the middle.
The final boss.

Since we first visited in January 2016, Clue Chase has added an overarching narrative that ties their 4 escape rooms together. There is even a bonus puzzle after you play all four games. This innovation definitely ups the excitement in their games. We loved the concept, but we didn’t get much satisfaction from the bonus.

We want to love Clue Chase’s games. They have an amazing location next to Bryant Park. They’re accessible to corporate clients and tourists. They have a lot to offer.

We feel, however, that Clue Chase is still iterating. They have lots of ideas and they haven’t quite managed to bring them all together.

While it’s frustrating at times, the Ultimate Heist offers something different. If you want to solve a lot of puzzles, enjoy 1990s pop culture, and try for a high score, give Ultimate Heist a shot.

Book your hour with Clue Chase’s Ultimate Heist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

 

Leave a Reply