Sherlock’s Escape Rooms – The Wild West [Review]

Yeehaw!

Location:  Florence, Kentucky

Date Played:  December 30, 2018

Team size: 2-12; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit: Yes

REA Reaction

The Wild West was traditional and innovative.

Sherlock’s Escape Rooms built puzzle-focused, escape room gameplay with some added twists.

With an unusual win-condition, The Wild West focused on collection, which gave everyone a fighting chance at winning, even if they couldn’t solve some of the puzzles. This approach kept our team busy for the entire hour.

In-game: The word "BANK" cut from corrugated Aluminum. Below it is a barred door and beyond it, a vault door.

The Wild West also included some unorthodox gameplay moments that were both exciting and a little unnerving. It wasn’t anything terrible or dangerous, but we were legitimately confused as to what we were supposed to do, why we were supposed to do it, and what the implications would be if we ignored it.

Overall, we enjoyed our first (and so far, only) escape room in Kentucky. Sherlock’s Escape Rooms had a passion for their work that was infectious. The energy and creativity shined throughout the experience, even when we found ourselves a bit confounded.

Regardless of your experience level, there was fun to be had in The Wild West if you are willing to surrender to the chaos and puzzle through it.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle cowboys
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Gamemastering enthusiasm
  • Puzzle density
  • Atypical win condition

Story

We were part of Jesse James’ posse and owed our boss a gambling debt of $3,000. He had sent word that he was on his way. His train would roll in an hour.

Either we were going to give him his $3,000 or he was going to give us a some bullets. It was heist time.

In-game: A small craps table beside a strange wooden construction with nails protruding from it.

Setting

We stepped into an Old West-themed escape room that was half saloon and half bank; both sets held money to steal.

The set was clearly a labor of love, if a little uneven. Certain portions of the set looked great; others seemed cobbled together from scrap hardware.

In-game: Shot over a poker table, a gated doorway in the background.

Gameplay

Sherlock’s Escape Rooms’ The Wild West was a standard escape room with a twist and a moderate level of difficulty.

As a twist, our goal was to steal at least $3,000, not necessarily to complete all the puzzles. As long as we had solved enough to pay the debt at the end of 60 minutes, we would win. (We left one puzzle unsolved.)

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: Closeup of a small bar featuring old liquor bottles.

Analysis

➕ We didn’t need to solve every puzzle to complete our mission. We liked this twist on typical escape room-style gameplay. The mission-based play worked well with this staging.

➕/➖ There were plenty of puzzles in The Wild West… more than most teams will solve in an hour. There was always something to solve. That said, many of these were purchased puzzles that would be more suited to lobbies than in-game gameplay. They weren’t integrated into the set or props of the escape room.

In-game: Closeup of a blow that is labeled "Alive Reward."

➕/➖ Sherlock’s Escape Rooms tried out some novel ideas and fabricated the puzzle mechanisms themselves. We enjoyed the concepts, but the implementations and clue structures needed refinement. Gameplay and prop manipulation were messy. In one case, the mechanism was easy to hack, which made the puzzle less functional.

➕/➖ The Wild West included a few amusing and surprising moments. Sherlock’s Escape Rooms delivered these through an atypical sequence. We found this to be well-intentioned, but off-putting and a bit frustrating. Although we enjoyed the reveals as part of this sequence, the design felt uncomfortable and needed refinement.

➖ Many of the locks in the final scene in The Wild West were in rough shape.

➕  The folks at Sherlock’s Escape Rooms were really enthusiastic about their work. Their excitement felt genuine. They were all about embracing the fiction and having their customers do the same.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Sherlock’s Escape Rooms’ The Wild West, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Sherlock’s Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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