Don’t fear the reaper.
Location: Leominster, Massachusetts
Date Played: December 17, 2018
Team size: up to 6; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 35-45 minutes depending on play style
Price: $23 per player
Emergency Exit: Yes
D.J. Death was The Gate Escape’s introductory Halloween popup game that didn’t die.
With structured puzzle sections, this game was far more directed than your typical escape game. Additionally, it was nonthreatening, even if the theme sounds scary.
Although the set design was a bit uneven – with some puzzle sections looking great and others looking a bit cheesy – it played well and culminated in a delightful conclusion.
D.J. Death would be a wonderful game for newbies. Even as experienced players, we found a lot to enjoy. It wasn’t hard, but it was amusing. If you’re an experienced player, The Gate Escape’s other games are must-plays. D.J. Death is worth adding to your lineup if you’re open to sacrificing some difficulty for a novel game structure.
Who is this for?
- Dance party goers!
- Puzzle lovers
- Halloween fans
- Any experience level
- Dance party
- Fun puzzles
Death DJ would host the most exclusive Halloween party of the year. If we wanted to gain admittance, we would have to pass his test and help him build his playlist one puzzle at a time. If we failed, we’d be cut… from the guest list.
D.J. Death was a large, open space with 10 smaller puzzle stations along the periphery. Each station had a unique, spooky theme: vampire, voodoo, mad science, etc. (They ranged broadly.)
The level of detail was a little uneven. Some areas looked great; some felt like party-store Halloween. Generally, the visual focus directed us at the puzzle components.
The coolest parts of the set were the dance floor and DJ booth… which were really what mattered.
The Gate Escape’s D.J. Death was an unusual escape room with a low level of difficulty.
This large gamespace was divided into sections, each containing one puzzle. We moved through the space solving the puzzles and collecting tunes from the D.J. himself.
Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.
The Gate Escape offered two play modes. If the entire group traveled between puzzles together, the game clock was 45 minutes. If the group split up to tackle the puzzles separately, the game clock was 35 minutes. (Our group of 4 stayed together so that everyone could experience the entire game. That worked well.)
➕ D.J. Death was cute and joyous. It didn’t take itself seriously.
➕/➖ The set looked a bit party-store. With the Halloween theme, this generally worked just fine. There were, however, opportunities to improve the aesthetics.
➖Despite the name and the Halloween theming, D.J. Death was not a scary escape room. I have to imagine that this marketing is confusing to The Gate Escape’s customers.
➕ D.J. Death provided a gentle on-ramp to a puzzle game. By wrapping the game in a dance party, encouraging teams to work together, and keeping related puzzle components contained, it would be approachable to new players of all ages and abilities. The Gate Escape is willing to turn the lights on for nervous players.
➕ The Gate Escape built a great mix of puzzle styles into D.J. Death. They were largely tangible and interactive.
➖ Our least favorite puzzles were the less interactive of the lot. The puzzles with larger components generally felt more exciting.
➕ The separate puzzles came together with a meta puzzle. It made the escape room feel whole.
➖ There was opportunity for a more engaging meta puzzle in this space.
➕ The finale. D.J. Death had a wonderful ending. It really was the only way this game could have ended.
Tips For Visiting
- There is a parking lot.
- Take the elevator up and walk down the long hallway to The Gate Escape.
- 435 Bar & Grille is conveniently located in the same building.
- D.J. Death is not scary.
Book your hour with The Gate Escape’s D.J. Death, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: The Gate Escape comped our tickets for this game.