Beat the Bomb [Review]

Play hard or become a Pollock.

Location: Brooklyn, NY (DUMBO)

Date Played: February 27, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend no more than 5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39 per ticket

REA Reaction

Innovation isn’t creating entirely new ideas from scratch; it’s taking existing concepts and refactoring them into something completely new. That’s Beat the Bomb.

Beat the Bomb presented 5 collaborative challenges requiring physical, mental, and communicative skills. Everyone was participating all the time. There was no waiting or watching from the sidelines. Teams win or lose together… and you’ll probably lose, which is part of the fun.

Beat the Bomb was not an escape room, but it drew on escape room concepts. We didn’t enjoy all the challenges equally, but we had a blast! Plus… Beat the Bomb is replayable.

Who is this for?

  • Thrill seekers
  • Players who enjoy some physicality
  • Team players
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t mind getting a tad messy
  • Graffiti artists

Why play?

  • The paint-splosion
  • Team challenges
  • Some awesome challenges
  • Adrenaline rush
  • It’s replayable

Story

This one was pretty simple: there was a giant paint bomb; we had to defuse it.

In-game: The paint bomb with 6 different cannons.
Tick… Tick… Boom.

Setting

There were 5 stages within Beat The Bomb. Each stage had its own set. Most of these were dimly lit rooms where the key interactions glowed. The lighting was never an issue.

The bomb room was the most visually impactful, as it had a monstrous paint-spewing contraption and walls covered in layers of paint.

In-game: gif of Lisa, David, and Lindsay getting doused with a paint explosion.

Gameplay

While the overarching goal of Beat The Bomb was to defuse the bomb, the gameplay was rooted in completing other timed tasks and puzzles to earn more time on the bomb’s clock. As we became more familiar with them, the challenges became increasingly difficult. The better we performed, the more time we earned in the bomb room at the end of the game.

Prior to entering the game, Beat The Bomb’s staff helped us get suited up in giant white onesies and safety glasses (for those not already wearing glasses). Basically, they turned us into human canvases.

Our team in white onesies with our hands in the air.
Check out dem fanny packs.

The Challenge Rooms

Hack Attack: While the gameplay in Hack Attack was incredibly similar to another popular game, it played fantastically. It was a great first challenge to get the team working together.

In-game: David looking and pointing intently at a touch screen.

Laser Maze: This physical challenge rewarded speed, agility, patience, and pattern recognition. To score, our entire team needed to cross the laser grid and push buttons on the other end. Each crossing changed the laser pattern.

A laser maze.

Echo Chamber: This was a take on Simon.

Floor Grid: The most distinctive puzzle in Beat The Bomb, Floor Grid was really cool. I’m not gonna talk about how it worked.

In-game: Gif of Lisa stepping back and fourth.
Lisa playing Floor Grid and looking like an Oompa Loompa. We’re not sure why she crossed her arms.

Cyberbot: To defuse the bomb, we navigated a robot through a maze, destroying targets along the way. We had as much time to complete this challenge as we had earned in the previous challenges. To even have a prayer of winning here, we needed to have performed well in the first four games.

Standouts

Beat the Bomb was well paced. These 10-minute challenge rooms gave us enough time to get the hang of the puzzle, but ended before we bored of the challenges. They were ordered such that we changed up skill sets from challenge to challenge.

While many of these challenges seemed familiar, Beat the Bomb spun up new twists. We’ve crossed many laser mazes, but none that required this level of strategic play.

Floor Grid was awesome. We’d both like to play it again.

All 5 challenges invited replay. They were the types of puzzles we could (and did) get better at over the time. Even though they were familiar, they were exciting. We can see people returning – bomb aside – because they want to replay these challenges.

In-game: The team in extra protective gear before the bomb.
The team: Now with extra armor and face shields.

Beat the Bomb was all about Instagram. They encouraged us to take our own pictures, even providing plastic fanny packs to keep our phones safe from the paint. They knew, however, that we’d be focused on the puzzles, so they jumped right in and took action shots. They do this for every team.

A wall covered in layers of paint.
The bomb’s artwork.

Getting doused by a giant paint bomb was fun. It felt very early Nickelodeon.

Shortcomings

While the gameplay was basic, each challenge came with new instructions to read. We had to read rapidly and catch any nuance in the instructions. This was challenging and especially so in the challenge that didn’t use a standard screen interface. We’d have to start in on the challenge before everyone had fully comprehended the instructions.

One of the challenge rooms started off approachable, but eventually reached a point where if a team didn’t have someone with the right sensory skills, it became a guessing game.

Cyberbot was frustrating for the wrong reasons. The controls were clunky and didn’t work well; one was pretty close to non-functional.

We wished Cyberbot was a “defusing” challenge. It didn’t seem to have anything to do with bomb deactivation. It felt strangely disconnected from the overall mission.

Tips for Visiting

  • Dumbo is easy to get to on public transportation
  • We recommend Randolph Beer for food and booze.
  • You need to be able to crawl and to move rapidly with some agility to complete all the challenges.
  • The paint washed out. That said:
    • Do not wear shoes or clothing that you 💖
    • Do not wear skirts or heels.
    • Do not wear clothing that is extremely tight or overly baggy.

Book your hour at Beat the Bomb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Beat the Bomb comped our tickets for this game.

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