Key Quest – The Cellar [Review]

Murder?

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: February 11, 2018

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $15 per ticket

REA Reaction

The Cellar exceeded our expectations. Based on everything we’d heard about Key Quest – the escape room extension of Laser Quest’s laser tag facilities around the country – we were prepared for disaster. The Cellar was a search-centric, reading-heavy escape game in the dark, but when we uncovered the puzzle components, it was solvable.

We’re confused who The Cellar is for: It seemed too dark – physically and metaphorically – for Laser Quest’s typical clientele. However, escape room players will find it looks and plays like these games did a few years ago. It’s not on par with the market.

 

Who is this for?

  • We’re not really sure, especially given Laser Quest’s clientele.

Why play?

  • Affordability
  • You came for laser tag and want to tack on an escape room.

Story

A serial killer had abducted and locked our group in a dark cellar. We had to solve his clues to escape or join his lengthy list of victims.

In-game: a dark room with a table lit red and a locked toolbox on top of it.

Setting

The Cellar was a dark room with minimal red lighting, a few tables, some shelves, and an assortment of locked containers and props. The major visual focal points looked like Halloween party store props.

In-game: A creepy party-store clown hanging from the wall by a string holding a large knife.

Gameplay

The Cellar was a search-based escape room in low light. The puzzles were generally straightforward once we found all relevant components.

In-game: a large red lit table with a small sage, a skull, and a locked ammo box.

Standouts

Key Quest crammed a lot of content into this 45-minute escape room.

We enjoyed the active solves, where we used the props in the room to move The Cellar forward.

The introduction was unexpectedly humorous, especially for adults.

The staff and gamemaster were lovely and professional.

Shortcomings

Given Key Quest’s location within Laser Quest, and the target audience (families, birthday parties, youth groups, and school groups) that visits their facilities, much of The Cellar felt off the mark. It was horror-esque and dark, both physically and metaphorically.

Much of the challenge in The Cellar came from the low lighting, which persisted throughout the experience. Given that the main game mechanics were searching, lock inputting, and reading, the low lighting was the main obstacle… and not a particularly fun one.

The props felt cheap.

We accidentally shut off the in-game audio. We came across a remote control while searching the room and only realized what the button did after we’d killed the sound. We were equipped with a walky-talky, but it ran out of battery early in our experience, so we couldn’t ask our gamemaster about the audio issue.

While there was plenty to do in The Cellar, it lacked excitement and intrigue.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: If you aren’t parking at Music City Center for a conference, we recommend the lot under the Metro Courthouse (accessible from Gay Street and from James Robertson Parkway) or the Nashville Public Library Garage (on Church Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).
  • Food: Demo’s Restaurant and Puckett’s
  • Accessibility: The content is horror-esque.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

2 thoughts on “Key Quest – The Cellar [Review]

  1. I Ann definitely surprised by this review. I went a while back in a different location, and I found it to be terrible. Nothing made sense in the room’s story (not something that typically bothers me, but when their are poorly renamed movie posters, that is too far), the puzzles were far too basic, and the story was beyond cliche. However, from the photos, it appears that it may have taken place in a different space, so it could possibly explain the difference in opinion.

    1. It seems that Key Quest has a wide variety of quality and that we probably saw something on the upper end of their offerings.

      I can’t really recommend it, but it wasn’t the unmitigated disaster that I was expecting to find. It wouldn’t come close to making the list of the worst games that I’ve seen.

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