Codeword Escape – Curse of the Golden Touch [Review]

Long live King Midas and his weak grasp of basic economic principles.

Location:  Rocky Hill, CT

Date Played: August 18, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $35 per player for teams of 1-2 to $28 per player from teams of 6+

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Connecticut is peppered with lovely mom & pop escape room shops; Codeword Escape is one such location.

While this isn’t a massive-budget operation, they are doing traditional escape room gaming right. They picked a smart, unique setting (King Midas was a brilliant choice), built solid puzzles into the environment, and then let us players make our own fun. It worked.

Regardless of your experience level, there is something to love in Curse of the Golden Touch. If you’re in the area, you should check it out.

In-game: A golden chandelier hanging from an ornate gold ceiling.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Strong puzzle play
  • An elegant set
  • Cute and clever moments

Story

The King had found a magical lamp and used it to wish that everything he touched would turn to gold. It didn’t take long before he had transmuted his beloved daughter into a golden statue. The King had begged us to find a way to break his magical curse and restore his daughter.

In-game: A red and gold throne room.

Setting

Set within a gold and velvet throne room, Codeword Escape made this space look regal… and they managed to rework the drop ceiling so that it added to the aesthetic.

This wasn’t a complicated build, but Curse of the Golden Touch looked elegant.

In-game: Two shields hung on a wall decorated in red velvet.

Gameplay

Codeword Escape’s Curse of the Golden Touch was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Codeword Escape built an adventure into an office-y retail space in Connecticut. For Curse of the Golden Touch, they augmented the space to give it a castle-y feel. We also appreciated the King Midas theming, which was a new theme for us, and gave them smart design constraints on the “castle” theme. They leaned into this with great results. For a lower budget build-out, it felt appropriately castlesque and regal. We truly appreciated their attention to the details of design.

➕ Curse of the Golden Touch was a puzzle-driven escape game. The puzzles were varied, interesting, and challenging. There was plenty of content to keep a larger group engaged.

➖ Curse of the Golden Touch relied too heavily on laminated paper cluing. There were opportunities to build more clue structure into the set and the props so that it felt more integrated, rather than layered on top of the gamespace.

➖ In the first half of the game, the puzzles weren’t gated enough. Although we appreciated Codeword Escape directing our attention to the “first puzzle,” something that can be especially helpful for new players, we found that plenty of other puzzle paths could have been solved simultaneously. This wasn’t technically a first puzzle; it was a lengthy puzzle. This led some teammates to feel like they’d missed out on a good portion of the game by following the instructions.

➕ Codeword Escape mapped puzzles and locks well to keep the forward momentum of the solver. The challenges were in the puzzles, not the mechanisms; the game flowed well.

➕ /➖ The final scene of Curse of the Golden Touch was unexpected and adorable. That said, we didn’t spend enough time there. There’s an opportunity to shift a bit more gameplay into this segment so that the game feels more balanced and teams can fully enjoy the artfully designed space.

➕ The ceiling was great. They did a really smart thing with their drop ceiling… and there aren’t many companies doing smart things with drop ceilings.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Codeword Escape’s Curse of the Golden Touch, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Codeword Escape comped our tickets for this game.

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