Escape Room Family – Castle Adventure [Review]

Fun for all ages.

Location:  Cincinnati, Ohio

Date Played: February 25, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $23.43 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We had a ball in Castle Adventure. This family-friendly game worked for all ages and experience levels.

We energetically worked through puzzles to earn balls that we had to toss into a goal to earn points. Our objective wasn’t to win or lose, but to earn enough points to land ourselves a medal. (We won gold!)

Escape Room Family provides fun for all ages. The challenges in Castle Adventure varied widely in difficulty… which was great because there was so much to do.

In-game: An assortment of puzzles and armaments in Defend The Castle.

Escape Room Family was a testament to the power of structure. By splitting the game into 2 30-minute segments, shifting the objective, and putting a us in a bright and friendly environment, Castle Adventure felt like an entirely different experience… even though it was very much an escape room.

If you’re anywhere near Cincinnati, Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure is a must play, whether or not you’re with your family.

Who is this for?

  • Families
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Approachable, interactive puzzles
  • Tangible interactions
  • The scoring mechanism
  • To win a medal

Story

Castle Adventure was a two-part game. In one segment, we defended a castle from within its walls; in the other we attacked a castle from the outside.

These two acts could be played in either order.

In-game: A shot of Attack The Castle's set, a painted castle wall behind a tent.

Setting

Castle Adventure consisted of two different 30-minute escape games: Attack The Castle & Defend The Castle. We had a short break between the two to grab a cup of water or buy candy and juice boxes in the lobby.

Both castle environments were bright and friendly containers for puzzles and challenges. The sets were covered in props and set dressing that abstractly and non-threateningly conveyed the notion that we were playing a medieval castle game.

In-game: Some of Attack The Castle's colorful physically tangible puzzles.

Gameplay

Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure was an atypical escape room. The two-part staging with the break in the middle – designed to cater to children and families – was unusual.

It had a score-based system. Teams don’t need to complete all the puzzles to succeed at Castle Adventure. It’s less about winning and losing and more about achieving a high enough score to earn a medal.

Solving puzzles earned us foam balls that we had to then toss into the scoring basket.

In-game: The score track with a large basket at the top between two thrones.

Castle Adventure had a varied level of difficulty. While there were certainly challenging puzzles, there were also fun tasks that weren’t hard at all.

In-game: Closeup of the score track filled to 500 points with balls.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, unlocking, and tossing balls into the goal.

Analysis

βž• Castle Adventure was bright, open, and welcoming. It had minimal set decor, but it was definitely a castle. The abstract look worked well.

βž• The puzzles in Castle Adventure encouraged teamwork. We usually needed or wanted multiple people to work together on a puzzle. Escape Room Family built some unusual mechanisms to facilitate this.

βž– Escape Room Family built a lot of custom props and set pieces for Castle Adventure. Some of these lacked durability. Higher build quality would go a long way to making sure these games continue to look good and play well over time.

βž• It was fun to unlock a solve in Castle Adventure with the beautiful, hefty keys. We loved this unlocking mechanic. With each key open, we could experience the excitement of solving a puzzle twice.

βž• We increased our score as we solved puzzles. The scoring mechanic added physicality for high energy kids and a familiarity for kids who might be shy to approach the escape room puzzles. We could track our progress as we played.

βž• When you win at Escape Room Family, you get a medal. You can return and play again to try to win a medal of another color. These prizes were a nice touch.

In-game: Closeup of the schore track showing how many points we needed to earn a silver or gold medal.

❓ Escape Room Family was a part of The Seven Forces, which also operates Cincinnati Escape Room and The Summons. Some puzzle types repeated across the different games we played at these companies. While the solutions may be different, the aha moment didn’t exist a second time. Since The Seven Forces targets different audiences at their different locations, most players won’t encounter this issue.

βž• Castle Adventure was almost entirely non-linear. We could approach almost any puzzle at any time. Escape Room Family didn’t offer hints, but they didn’t need to. There was always plenty to work on and teams don’t need to solve every puzzle to win a medal. (We didn’t solve one puzzle and its corresponding metapuzzle).

βž– We found a particular portion of Defend The Castle especially challenging and would have preferred to play it as our second round.

βž• We loved the frantic moments that Castle Adventure dropped on us. It was frenetic, silly, and a delightful way to close out each round.

βž• The break between the 30-minute rooms made a lot of sense. A hour can be a long time for kids. Escape Room Family games build in a snack and bathroom break. This structure also enables Escape Room Family to entertain larger groups, such as birthday parties, by splitting the group between the two episodes and then swapping them for the second half. Escape Room Family also has a video feed of the games in their lobby so that additional family and friends can watch from outside the room. I imagine it’s exciting to be hanging out in the lobby as a group plays the final minute of Castle Adventure.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • While Escape Room Family is geared toward kids and families, we played as 4 adults and we had a ton of fun. You don’t need to be a family to enjoy this style of escape room.

Book your hour with Escape Room Family’s Castle Adventure, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Room Family comped our tickets for this game.

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