I Survived The Room – The Order [Review]

Go to the Mask-for-aid.

Location: Long Island City (Queens), New York

Date Played: June 28, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4 or 6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket weekdays, $30 per ticket weekends

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

I Survived The Room has been quietly creating unusual escape games in the basement of an indoor extreme sports facility. The first reaction of any diehard escape room player upon entering their lobby is something along the lines of, “this must be a terrible cash grab,” but that cannot be further from the truth.

The Order was an actor- and puzzle-driven split-team game that could be fairly comfortably replayed once.

The gameplay was bumpy and the experience uneven… but if you’re the kind of player who is willing to forgive some sins in the quest for unique experiences, there was a lot to love in The Order.

In-game: A dungeon with a dead body gripping a scroll mounted to the wall.
Photo by Kathryn Yu of No Proscenium

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Some fantastic interactions
  • An intriguing split-team, largely replayable escape room
  • The actor

Story

The Order, an ancient secret society, had issued us an invitation to join their ranks. If we could pass their tests, we would be granted access to their wealth of hidden arcane knowledge. If we would fail, we would pay a dire toll.

In-game: The Knight of the Order cloaked in black, red, and white with an ornate gold and red mask reading a book.
Photo by Kathryn Yu of No Proscenium

Setting

The Order was an actor-driven split-team game. A costumed knight of The Order escorted us around the block, blindfolded us, and led us into one of two rooms: a dungeon and a library.

The dungeon was detailed, dim, and imposing. The library was bright, less beautiful, but far more inviting. These two sets converged in a steampunk-ish laboratory.

Each area of the game was distinctive.

In-game: A self in the library with an augmented skulls, brain, and heart.
Photo by Kathryn Yu of No Proscenium

Gameplay

I Survived The Room’s The Order was a split-team escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, interacting with the actor, and puzzling.

In-game: A wooden table with strange medallions mounted to it.
Photo by Kathryn Yu of No Proscenium

Analysis

+ The knight of The Order introduced the game, fully in character. He set the tone for The Order and stayed true to the world of the game in every interaction.

+ The sets had different tones and styles, but all felt more or less part of a cohesive world. We liked the countdown timer.

+/- The sets were uneven. One was ominously detailed; another was mostly bare and unexciting.

+ We bartered with the knight for our hints. Hint delivery bled into the story.

– We needed 3 hints on the same puzzle. While we enjoyed the in-character hint-delivery, things really ground to a halt when we got stuck and didn’t fully grasp the subtleties of the hints.

+ We were drawn to one puzzle. Even after solving it, we kept playing with it.

– The tech-driven opens needed more feedback. We solved multiple puzzles without knowing what we’d unlocked.

+ We enjoyed one dramatic release that built tension.

– We read much of the clue structure from long passages. We would have liked these elements to be further incorporated into the environment. Reading was especially frustrating in low lighting.

– For much of The Order, we played split in two groups, in two separate spaces — for all intents and purposes, playing separate escape rooms in one world. At times we were unsure whether audio was relevant to us, or the other group. The reunification of the group was clunky. Whichever group finished first had to “help” the slower group before the entire team could move to the next scene. By entering a mostly solved space with no context, the other group seriously disrupted play.

The Order asked us to make a choice, but it was at best a blind choice, and could easily be an unknowing choice. Depending on the order the team found, read, and solved various clues, it would be possible to – and we did – accidentally choose an ending before realizing we were making any choice at all.

+ By starting in different spaces, and offering a choice of ending, The Order was replayable. The team could return a second time and each individual would see almost entirely different puzzles. This was an interesting innovation.

– A few too many interactions didn’t trigger as expected, resulting in our in-character gamemaster having to hobble out and fix them or re-input our correct solution.

– The final gamespace was crowded. Neither the physical space nor the puzzle flow lent itself to the full group coming together in one room.

+ I Survived the Room introduced many great ideas in The Order. While these innovative concepts didn’t all come together perfectly, they offered new experiences. We hope I Survived the Room continues to refine the flow in this game because this is a society players will want to join.

Tips for Visiting

  • I Survived the Room is accessible by public transportation: take the 7 Subway to 33 St – Rawson St.
  • There is street parking in this area.
  • We recommend Doughnut Plant for a post-game snack.
  • All players must be able to walk down a flight of stairs.
  • Half the players must be comfortable playing in dim lighting.
  • For an additional take on this game, with a bit more spoilers, read our friend and teammate Kathryn Yu’s review over on No Proscenium.

Book your hour with I Survived The Room’s The Order, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: I Survived The Room comped our tickets for this game.

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