A Gold Bug
Location: New York City
Date Attended: January 12, 2019
Duration: 120 minutes
Price: $95 / $125 / $150 per ticket depending on seat
The Enigmatist was a night of puzzles, magic, and storytelling. It was as quirky as it was phenomenal.
It was a performance, not an escape room, but it included escape room-style solving.
The Enigmatist has just extended its run of Friday and Saturday evening shows through March 2019. If you read this blog, and you are near New York City, you should purchase tickets immediately.
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Magic fans
- Wonderful feats of magic and word play
- Good puzzles
- Lots of hidden layers and meaning
The Enigmatist was a one-man show performed by magician and New York Times cruciverbalist (crossword constructor) David Kwong.
Throughout the evening, Kwong explored the story of Riverbank Laboratories.
The performance was an unusual mixture of magic, puzzles, cryptography, crosswords, and storytelling.
The Enigmatist was set on a small stage at the High Line Hotel. Upon arrival we were presented with 4 puzzles to solve in the lobby.
Once we took our seats within the intimate theater, we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the performance and solving the puzzles within it.
David Kwong’s The Enigmatist was a performance with gameplay. There were multiple puzzles to solve throughout the evening. The audience’s ability to solve the puzzles shifted the energy and dynamics of the show.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, deciphering, and making connections.
➕ The opening puzzles were lovely. They generally struck the right difficulty balance. They set the tone for how to approach the puzzles in the show.
➖ Of the initial 4 puzzles, one was noticeably more involved than the others. Unfortunately it was also the most compact and hardest to see. This led to a an uncomfortable crowd around it. Having an extra copy or spreading it out more would solve the problem.
➕/➖ There were self-service hints available for the opening puzzles. This kept solvers of all levels engaged with the puzzles. That said, more granular hinting would probably have helped alleviate bottlenecks.
➕ Kwong has an impressive gift for sleight of hand. In general, the magical moments of The Enigmatist were really well produced. He put a fresh spin on everything by integrating the tricks into the story. In the process he gave both more meaning.
➕ Kwong played with words a lot… and I don’t mean puns. I mean he manipulated words and letters in mind-bogging ways. My biggest takeaway from the night was to never play a word game against David Kwong.
➕/➖ Throughout the performance, Kwong told an intriguing story of cryptography. He integrated a lot of charm and historical facts. At the end of his tale, however, he made some questionable decisions. I think I get why he did it, but I didn’t like it. I still don’t.
➕ There were layers and layers of hidden meaning and hidden magic. The last few minutes of The Enigmatist were 🤯.
Tips For Visiting
- Parking: It’s New York City. Good luck.
- Food: It’s Chelsea. You’re spoiled with options.
- Arrive early and enjoy the puzzles.
Book your tickets with David Kwong’s The Enigmatist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.