The Gate Escape – The Assistant [Review]

The lab assistant job comes with health insurance… If the experiment works, you won’t need it.

Location: Leominster, MA

Date played: October 2, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

Dr. E. R. Bridge was reasonably certain that he had discovered a means to open a wormhole. As a group of hopeful lab assistants, we applied for a job working with the renown astrophysicist. Our interview and the final test of his wormhole generator were one in the same. What could go wrong?

In-game: A metal wall covered in pipes and electronic circuitry.

 

The Assistant had an eclectic aesthetic. It was a mixture of interesting doors and features from the building’s past as well as the unusual creations of The Gate Escape. Each segment of The Assistant had a decidedly different look about it. This may have been a mad science lab, but it did not have the standard doctor’s office vibe that we’ve come to expect from this theme.

Puzzles

The Assistant flowed well, while offering a strong search and puzzle game.

The searching in The Assistant was a bit unusual. There was a lot to find, but we also had a clear idea of what we were looking for and when to stop looking.

The puzzles were satisfying solves that came with great ah-ha moments.

Standouts

The Gate Escape created one of the most unusual applications of a cipher that I’ve seen in an escape room and I absolutely loved it.

In-game: Black walls and furniture covered in white writing of mathematical symbols and equations.

The gamespace was eclectic and largely made from recycled materials. It never felt cheap. The diversity in design also made the set feel both strange and intriguing. From the moment we stepped into it, I wanted to engage with it.

The searching was oddly fun… which is not a thing that you frequently hear from me.

The puzzles flowed well.

The Gate Escape gave more than enough writing implements and calculators.

In-game: A large safe door labeled, "MAIN LAB."

Spinning safe locks can be hell to operate. The Gate Escape provided clear and decisive clueing to operate this one.

The Assistant built intensity later in the game and had a great climax.

Shortcomings

At times, we solved puzzles in partial darkness. There was also a large black metal set piece smack in the middle of the area that was relevant in the dark. We were a little nervous about crashing into this thing. Moving it or illuminating it would help a great deal.

There were a few metal props with rough edges that we were a little nervous we could cut ourselves on. Rounding these out or sealing them would make them more comfortable to touch.

A lot of The Assistant’s clues were handwritten. It seemed like the game’s clue structure had been added ad hoc as it was developed. By the time we played, the clue structure had been nailed down. Swapping handwritten clues and props for more polished items would make this escape room shine.

Should I play The Gate Escape’s The Assistant?

The Gate Escape really nailed the standard escape room with The Assistant. This was a puzzle room with a just a bit of story. It came together really well.

This was a prime example of a company doing a lot by leaning into their existing skills and working with the space that they have. It looked good and played even better… and above all, it was unique.

The Assistant would make a fine first game for those looking to explore an escape room. I’d also highly recommend it for experienced players who like puzzle-driven adventure that plays like a standard escape room with a uniquely Gate Escape twist.

Go see if you can open a wormhole.

Book your hour with The Gate Escape’s The Assistant, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: The Gate Escape comped our tickets for this game.

 

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