Reason – Reactor Escape [Review]

Mini Mini Maker Faire

Location: San Francisco, CA

Date Played: August 21, 2018

Team size: 10-16; we recommend less than 10*

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $500 per team

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Reason tag-lined Reactor Room “test drive the future.” It was a fitting bit of marketing as the experience felt like a tech demo for a variety of gadgets. Some of these made for interesting gameplay moments. Many of them felt like an opportunity to see some expensive tech in action.

At $500 per private group, the staggeringly expensive Reactor Room was targeted towards corporate groups. With its large capacity and focus on gadgetry, I think it could make for an interesting outing on a corporate credit card. If you’re a regular escape room-playing civilian, you’ll likely want to pass on this game. Reason did something different, but the gameplay and puzzles fell short of what we’d expect at such an exclusive price point.

In-game: a pair of monitors mounted to a wall.

Who is this for?

  • Corporate groups
  • Technology aficionados
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • The gadgets

Story

We had been in the control room of our spaceship when the reactor was sabotaged. Now we were trapped there. We needed to puzzle through the tech-laden control room to shut the thing down.

In-game: a doorway between two rooms.

Setting

Reactor Escape was a dramatically lit environment with an assortment of gadgets, buttons, switches, screens, and the like lining the walls of the gamespace.

It had a space-travel science-fiction vibe. Many of the props and set pieces felt like they belonged; others felt anachronistic or otherwise out of place.

In-game: A wall with buttons.

Gameplay

Reason’s Reactor Escape was an atypical escape room with a heavy reliance on techie gadgets and a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around making connections, puzzling, and operating gadgets.

Analysis

? Reason tag-lined Reactor Escape “test drive the future.” The escape room incorporated VR, drones, a 3D printer, a hologram, and a terminal, among other devices. This escape room felt like a collection of guided tech demos. It was atypical for an escape room. Whether this is good, bad, or neutral will be in the eyes of the player.

Reactor Escape was puzzle-dense. There was a lot to accomplish, spread throughout the gamespace. The puzzle types and difficulties varied enormously.

– Labeling was inconsistent. While we appreciated additional connective tissue to keep puzzle paths straight and streamline gameflow, it wasn’t evenly incorporated. It appeared slapped on as an afterthought rather than integrated into the set and props.

– It was rarely clear when a puzzle had been solved.

+ The most cerebral puzzle had some incredibly clever aha moments that we loved.

Reactor Escape incorporated elements we’d never before seen in an escape room. Some of these lent themselves to puzzling and enhanced the experience.

– The more interesting the tech, the less interesting the puzzle. In one instance, the puzzle consisted of pushing a button to start a machine. In another, the puzzle consisted of viewing a piece of information. These weren’t particularly inspired ways to incorporate these devices into a puzzle game.

– One gadget required hands-on teaching. Our gamemaster appeared in the room to walk one player through how to operate the device. The puzzle for it had clearly been scaled back due to the challenge of the gadget and was hardly a puzzle at all anymore. While nifty, this gadget didn’t make sense in a timed puzzle game. It wasn’t satisfying for the player, who felt dragged through using it. Using this thing detracted from playing the game.

+ We enjoyed Reason’s spin on how to open a padlock.

– The tech was finicky. We had one nifty component fail to accept correct solutions for a good while.

+ The puzzle paths came together in a satisfying endgame.

– This was the most expensive escape room that we’ve ever visited. At $500 per team, most normal non-corporate groups will be priced out of even entertaining the notion of visiting Reason.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is street parking.
  • We recommend a short walk to SOMA StrEat Food Park.
  • You must be able to walk upstairs to get to the escape room.

Book your hour with Reason’s Reactor Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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