Alcatraz Escape Games – Prison Bus Escape [Review]

Please take a seat and fasten your handcuffs.

Location: Draper, UT

Date Played: January 7, 2018

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

REA Reaction

Prison Bus Escape put a refreshing twist on the prison escape theme by setting it on a bus. While this was an old school game with a lot of recognizable tropes, it still felt exciting because of the actor / gamemaster, strong puzzle flow, and entertaining environment.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • People who are mobile
  • Best for any experience level

Why play?

  • It was on a bus
  • The actor / gamemaster
  • Gameflow

Story

Our crew and some other notorious gangsters were being transferred to another prison. With the bus disabled, we had a brief opportunity to free ourselves.

The Alcatraz Escape Bus. An old Blue Bird school bus pained black.

Setting

Alcatraz Escape Games had a bus parked beside their building. This was Prison Bus Escape. It was an old school bus turned into an escape room. The concept was clever and the space was fun.

In-game: Bus interior, school bus seats, but in the middle of the bus, there's a large metal door mounted in place and locked.

Gameplay

Prison Bus Escape was a fairly standard escape room with solid puzzles and good flow. The key twist (in addition to the setting) was an in-room actor gamemaster who added a lot of flavor.

In-game: David's hand cuffed to the wall of the bus.

Standouts

Prison Bus Escape took place on an actual school bus. This setting enhanced the story. It came together nicely.

The bus was partitioned such that even on this confined set, the escape room had different scenes. This built dramatic tension.

We weren’t alone on the bus. Our prisoner-gamemaster was helpful and amusing.

In-game: Overhead of the driver's seat. There is a rifle mounted to the wall, and a lot of extra wiring.

The majority of the gameplay took place in a heated area of the bus. Given that we visited Alcatraz Escape Games in January, this was really important.

We moved through the puzzles and the bus with ease, not because they were easy, but because Alcatraz Escape Games built clue structure into the bus. It played well, progressed the story, and delivered a finale.

The finale.

Shortcomings

We were confused how to approach the prisoner on the bus. In the introduction, we were told that if anyone touched the prisoner, our game would end. In a tight space, we exerted a lot of energy trying to avoid any contact with him. In truth, this rule only meant that we shouldn’t harm the actor… or his stuff… which was in an area that was in play… and not marked as out of play… This was also confusing.

Prison Bus Escape suffered from expansive search combined with weak search tools. In two instances, the tool we received could barely uncover the information or trigger the response.

Prison Bus Escape included a serious red herring. While likely not intended as such, the puzzle affixed to this prop didn’t look intentional enough to usurp the distraction of the item. This prop will likely be a time sink for many less experienced teams.

There were some exposed wires and out-of-game components that should have been hidden away.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is an actor on the bus: 6 Rules For Playing Room Escapes with Live Actors.
  • Players need to climb stairs (onto the bus) and be mobile enough to move around on a school bus.
  • The bus is parked outside Alcatraz Escape Games. You will have to go outside to start and end this escape room.

Book your hour with Alcatraz Escape Games’ Prison Bus Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Alcatraz Escape Games provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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