The Puzzle Parlour – The Heist Part 1 [Review]

Don’t piss off the Chief.

Location: White Plains, NY

Date Played: December 18, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $90 for teams of 2 up to $199 for teams of 8

REA Reaction

Puzzle Parlour made subtle changes to a popular escape room theme to deliver more drama, adventure, hidden technology, and consequences than most. While we wished Puzzle Parlour had built a more captivating environment, they justified the setting and scenario through gameplay. The brilliance of The Heist Part 1 will be lost on most players, but maybe this doesn’t matter.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Adventure seekers
  • People who like to banter in a bad British accent
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Interactive gamemaster
  • Great puzzle flow
  • Gameplay shifts based on player action (or inaction)
  • Silky smooth, practically invisible tech

Story

We were robbing a crooked cop who had stashed a whole lot of loot in his locker at the London Police Station. We had to break in, cut the power, and steal our prize without getting caught by the Chief.

In-game: A pair of handcuffs beside a keyboard, dramatically lit with computer monitor lighting.

Setting

As explained in our pre-game briefing, we targeted the Chief’s office and the adjacent locker room.

The office set was largely as expected… but a bit more realistic than typical escape room offices. It looked office-bland, but not like a lock-riddled escape room-y office.

While the locker room wasn’t a heart-poundingly adventurous environment, it justified the existence of the locks and it offered up a few creative puzzles that we never saw coming.

Gameplay

Puzzle Parlour presented us with a cleanly executed, well-thought-out standard escape room with a break-in twist.

Puzzle Parlour designed subtle, yet impactful game mechanics: We had a job to do. Our proficiency (or lack thereof) resulted in 1 or 2 meaningful differences in gameplay.

Depending upon how you play, there are at least 3 different paths in The Heist Part 1 and 3 different outcomes. The crazy thing is that most players will likely never even know about the variance. 

In-game: a police hat and attaché case on a desk.

Standouts

Puzzle Parlour created an energy that lasted the entirety of The Heist Part 1. This was a lot of fun.

Our gamemaster was a character in this clandestine mission. His interactions – a combination of hints and narrative progression – kept us on edge, in a good way.

Our actions in The Heist Part 1 had consequences that changed the nature, tone, and challenges within the escape room.

The Heist Part 1 included fun puzzles, a few of which solved in exciting, atypical ways.

Puzzle Parlour’s technology was subtle, smart, and stable.

The office looked like the creator had seen a real-life office before.

Shortcomings

While realistic, the office didn’t instill drama. We would have liked the set to work in tandem with the gamemastering and game mechanics to up the excitement.

While some of the puzzles worked through the environment, others were more escape room-y and disconnected from the mission.

Near the end of The Heist Part 1 we were able to solve a puzzle before we had an input for the solution, which confused us and screwed with the pacing.

The win was anticlimactic. Especially with our gamemaster as a character, we would have liked a more dramatic ending as a culmination of our covert operation.

Tips for Visiting

  • Puzzle Parlour has a lovely lobby.
  • Park in their lot and use the app ParkWhitePlains to refill your meter.
  • There is plenty to eat and do in the area.

Book your hour with Puzzle Parlour’s The Heist Part 1, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Puzzle Parlour comped our tickets for this game.

 

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