Escapeburg – The Tomb [Review]

Brooklyn Bespoke Burial.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: March 15, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $49 per ticket

REA Reaction

There’s a good game buried in The Tomb, but it was unfinished. We had been told that the game was no longer in beta, but, oh boy, was it in need of serious iteration.

We’re rooting for Escapeburg to produce something fantastic, but at almost twice the market rate for NYC escape rooms, we can’t recommend playing this until they finish it. We wish we hadn’t played yet.

In-game: a barred metal door opening into a stone tomb.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Players who prefer escape rooms without combination locks
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • The first two thirds
  • Exciting reveals

Story

After we uncovered an Egyptian tomb, we became trapped inside and found ourselves at the mercy of an ancient curse, unless we could solve our way to safety.

The blue and brown doorway to enter the game with Egyptian hieroglyphs carved into it.

Setting

The Tomb was dimly lit.

Despite the darkness, the set was detailed. Escapeburg crafted and painted the walls and set pieces.

The set was composed of large, interactive set pieces that made the experience feel larger than it was.

In-game: close up of a caged light hung in a dark dig site.

Gameplay

The Tomb’s gameplay centered around manipulating our environment. We needed to associate props to set pieces and move these about to the solved positions.

Standouts

From the detailed walls to the large, interactive set pieces, there was a lot in the gamespace to enjoy. The construction took us out of a Brooklyn building into another place. The set felt solid.

We were excited when the set reacted by moving, opening, or triggering something new. Many of these effects and reveals – mechanical or tech-driven – delighted us.

The first two thirds played pretty well. We enjoyed the puzzles and the interactions.

Shortcomings

In the third act, The Tomb ground to a halt and the fun stopped.

  • The puzzles weren’t entertaining or gracefully executed.
  • One puzzle couldn’t be solved except by trial and error. It also couldn’t be hinted.
  • One puzzle required us to match items that weren’t a perfect match, and not just off slightly off, but different enough that we questioned whether matching was even relevant. (Interesting enough, there was another earlier puzzle with unusual component variation that seemed meaningful and, again, was completely irrelevant.)
  • One puzzle required us to perceive color differences in the low lighting.

The Tomb lacked clue structure, but the puzzles and interactions were pretty intuitive up until the final third. At that point, Escapeburg made some unorthodox design decisions such as prop reuse, which could have worked well, but suffered from lack of indication. We found this incredibly frustrating.

Our gamemaster had to play a hands-on role in making sure we, as players, didn’t disrupt our own ability to solve the puzzles just by exploring the environment:

  • In one instance, we had an order preservation problem; we had manipulated items that needed to stay in their original positions. Our gamemaster had to enter the game and reset the puzzle.
  • On two occasions, our gamemaster came over the god mic to tell us (in advance, now) not to move certain props or set pieces so as not to mess up the game flow.
  • In another instance, the tech was too finicky to register a solve state. Our gamemaster had to enter the game to make it work right.

Escapeburg could better affix items that should not be moved and refine their tech so that this problem doesn’t continually plague The Tomb throughout the experience.

The Tomb was dimly lit. Escapeburg provided flashlights but lighting was a constant struggle because:

  • they didn’t provide enough for everyone,
  • 1 stopped working after 10 minutes, and
  • 2 were on headlamps but worked better as handhelds, which was awkward.

While the set felt pretty good, it also looked like it was slapped together quickly. The plaster needed work and the 3D printing could use post-production. Additionally, the wiring lacked housing.

Escapeburg charged $49 per ticket. This is well above market rate. Frankly, there are far better games in New York City for almost half the price.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is street parking. Escapeburg is also accessible by public transportation. Take the L train to Lorimer.
  • There are plenty of restaurants in the area.
  • Accessibility: The Tomb requires color & auditory perception. It also requires players to step over a relatively high barricade.

Book your hour with Escapeburg’s The Tomb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escapeburg provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

2 thoughts on “Escapeburg – The Tomb [Review]

  1. Hi, Lisa!
    Great thanks for your review of “The Tomb”.
    I am a designer and engineer of this escaperoom. Thanks for your detailed recommendations, I will follow. 3rd part is already improved about 1 month ago.
    Thanks again.

  2. You’re welcome! We’re so glad to hear that our feedback is useful. Don’t hesitate to contact us privately if you have any questions (so that we don’t post any spoilers publicly.)

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