13th Gate Escape – The Collector [Review]

“Ooooh that smell…”

Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Date played: October 6, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

We slowly came to our senses in the bottom of a deep, dark well. The last thing that we remembered was attempting to help a stranded stranger struggling with engine trouble when someone struck us in the backs of our heads. It was life or death. Could we escape?

The Collector was a horror game produced by a haunt company. We started at the bottom of a massive well. I’m not sure what the vertical height was, but this was a tall game. Tall, and detailed, and grim.

In-game: A room lit red with bodies wrapped up and hanging from the ceiling.
Image via 13th Gate Escape.

13th Gate Escape used appropriate and not necessarily pleasant odors to add depth to the experience.

Puzzles

The Collector combined search and observation with more sustained, hands-on puzzling. It included challenges designed for both individuals and teammates.

The Collector was at its very best when it was tactile.

Standouts

The gamespace was magnificent. It was unnecessarily expansive and thus all the more foreboding. By incorporating lighting, sounds, and smells, along with the set construction, 13th Gate created an unforgettable stage and just enough story for The Collector.

The breadth of the set enabled an exciting and memorable mid-game transition. We loved this.

One early puzzle was just tricky enough to be humorous, and also challenging.

We enjoyed a number of late-game puzzles that required us to interact with the eerie set and props. There were multiple satisfying puzzle moments.

The villain in The Collector was injected via audio, and his dialogue was amusing.

Shortcomings

The Collector got off to a slow start, in part because of a lack of gating. We spent considerable time on puzzles before they were truly open to us.

At times, the puzzles in The Collector lacked clue structure. This was more pronounced for less narrative-driven puzzling.

All of 13th Gate Escape’s rooms use Escape Room Boss for automated hints. If you’re curious about the details, feel free to read this post on the subject. Beyond that I’ll say that 13th Gate’s gamemasters were fantastic and I wish that they had more direct control over the experience.

Should I play 13th Gate Escape’s The Collector?

The Collector was imposing. I can’t think of another escape room company that has used vertical height and overwhelming scale like 13th Gate Escape. When mixed with the level of detail applied to every nook of the set, this experience came to life in a way that most “murder basement”-style games do not achieve.

If you like or are even ok with horror experiences, The Collector is worth experiencing simply because there’s nothing else like it. It’s beginner friendly with approachable puzzles, and novel in a way that will appeal to even the most jaded of escape room players.

Note that mobility is a factor in The Collector. At least one or two players will need to crawl, and there are some stairs to climb.

See if you can claw your way out of the well.

Book your hour with 13th Gate Escape’s The Collector, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: 13th Gate Escape comped our tickets for this game.

Leave a Reply