St. Louis Escape – Pirate’s Curse [Review]

Blow the man down!

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 21, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Pirate’s Curse looked great and included some interesting puzzles.

Unfortunately, the great things about this escape game were undercut by a lack of feedback, finicky technology, and gamemastering that became condescending when we became confused by the lack of feedback and finicky technology.

The reason to play Pirate’s Curse is to see the set. If sets are your thing, then this is a must-play. Beyond set design, we found this experience lacking.

In-game: An open door with a coat of arms on it.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A great pirate adventure set

Story

We’d boarded a cursed pirate galleon loaded with gold and treasure. In order to keep the gold and our lives, however, we would have to break the treasure’s curse.

In-game: A wrack filled with muskets and swords.

Setting

Pirate’s Curse was a compact game with an attractive pirate ship’s interior as the set.

It was deliberately designed from floor to ceiling and beautifully weathered. From a visual standpoint, there was a lot to enjoy in this game.

In-game: a dead and decaying pirate captain surrounded by treasure.

Gameplay

St. Louis Escape’s Pirate’s Curse was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: Closeup of a shelf with a lantern and a ship in a bottle.

Analysis

➕ The pirate ship looked outstanding. We appreciated the rounded aesthetic that made it feel especially… ship-y.

➕/➖ Pirate’s Curse included some interesting and thematic layered puzzles. Unfortunately, many of these were not clearly clued. Additional playtesting would go a long way.

➖ Pirate’s Curse included a lot of different symbol systems. This started to feel repetitive.

In-game: A bright "we need a clue" sign beside a flashlight, an ornate skull, and many small treasure chests.

➖ We had some problems with triggered opens. In one instance, the open was substantially delayed. Additionally, if we closed anything that we had previously triggered to open, we had to resolve that puzzle to reopen that part of the game. This was tedious when we wanted to recheck our searching.

Pirate’s Curse lacked feedback. We were hardly ever sure when we’d solved something. Inclusion of sound and light cues, or even springs, so that opens would prominently pop, would have helped build forward momentum.

The barred off ceiling of the ship.

➕ The gold and jewels looked great. St. Louis Escape designed them in such a way that they were beautiful and touchable, but not distracting.

➕ We especially enjoyed one satisfying late-game search solve that didn’t flow as we’d expected.

➖ The final puzzle was incredibly finicky and lacked feedback. It took a hint and an unfortunately sassy conversation with our gamemaster to figure out that we had solved the puzzle minutes earlier. When the gamemaster came in, we asked for a demonstration of the final puzzle and it once again was finicky and slow to respond. We kind of enjoyed how this undercut the condescension that she’d flung our way.

Tips For Visiting

  • You can park for free on the street directly in front of the building or on the side of the building.
  • There are stairs up to the escape room lobby and the escape rooms.
  • Beware that St. Louis Escape has a habit for putting 4-digit solutions into 5-digit locks.

Book your hour with St. Louis Escape’s Pirate’s Curse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: St. Louis Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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