Epic Escape Rooms Brooklyn – The Taken [Review]

[At the time of this review, Epic Escape Rooms Brooklyn was called Element Quest.]

Buckle your handcuffs for safety.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: February 3, 2018

Team size: 4-6; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

REA Reaction

On the far side of Brooklyn we found a strong SAW-esque horror escape room. This is an often-attempted theme that doesn’t usually hit the mark. While some of the experience was unevenly executed, Element Quest made it work. This is an escape room for people who can handle uncomfortable situations.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Players who want to escape serial killers
  • Any experience level
  • Players with at least basic agility

Why play?

  • Intense setting
  • Surprising moments
  • One freaky, in-your-face interaction

Story

A serial killer with a preference for elaborate torture machines decided to make us his “apprentices” to instill in us a greater appreciation for life, if he didn’t kill us first.

Split up and restrained, we were given a brief window of time in which to prove ourselves worthy of life.

In-game: a dead body hung by a hook in his mouth hands next to a bloody message,

Setting

Half of our team began in a bloody murder bathroom, the other half in dim, furnace-lit space. We were all handcuffed to the floor in a crouching or sitting position.

The detailed spaces were compelling and made our more squeamish teammates feel a bit on edge.

In-game: David's wrist handcuffed to the floor of a bathroom.

Gameplay

Element Quest delivered the kind of puzzles and challenges that we’ve come to expect from both split-team and Saw-esque escape rooms.

We were put in situations where we had to overcome fears, discover, communicate, and solve puzzles. The Taken played well.

In-game: a burning furnace in a dark room.

Standouts

The split-team, handcuffed beginning added dramatic tension to an already dark and foreboding environment.

The Taken startled us, in a good way.

In-game: a hanging red and black portrait of a woman.

We were impressed with one shockingly pointed, tech-driven interaction. It was nifty and freaky.

The set was well padded, as appropriate for a required action.

The Taken provided a good variety of puzzles and fostered collaboration.

While there was a lot of crawling, most of it was well-padded.

Shortcomings

The set was neither polished nor clean. Given the starting positions on the floor and the lack of player mobility early on, we couldn’t help but zero in on this.

One prop was constantly in the way. We recommend Element Quest modify this so that players stop bumping into it before someone gets hurt (or the prop gets destroyed).

We struggled with a weak handheld light.

One puzzle necessitated unclued trial and error.

The Taken was unbalanced. One group of players solved along, triggering opens for everyone, while the other group solved nothing. They couldn’t; they had no inputs for much of the first act. Furthermore, given the distribution of key props, The Taken required backtracking, toward only one starting area. The players who started there felt inadequate, but they hadn’t had the tools or knowledge earlier to have played the game any differently.

We communicated over walky-talkies. These crackled the entire game, which added unnecessary challenge and annoyance to the experience.

Tips for Visiting

  • Element Quest is two short blocks from the Kings Highway Station on the Q subway train. (From Times Square, it is about an hour subway ride on the Q to Element Quest.)
  • Many shops in this neighborhood are closed on Saturdays, but the Starbucks and the Chipotle are open.
  • Much of The Taken is played in low light with limited flashlight access.
  • The Taken requires a lot of sitting, kneeling, and crawling. If that doesn’t sound like something your body can handle, you should consider a different game.

Book your hour with Element Quest’s The Taken, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Element Quest comped our tickets for this game.

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