21 Keys Escape Rooms – Project Iceworm [Review]

Operation Frozen Snake!

Location:  Colorado Springs, CO

Date Played: September 9, 2019

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Project Iceworm was a good puzzle-heavy game set in the dark. Armed with headlamps, we puzzled our way through a quality old-school game.

For puzzle lovers, there’s a lot to enjoy in Project Iceworm. We really just found ourselves wishing that 21 Keys Escape Rooms would have built a puzzle that turned on the lights.

In-game: Closeup of of a pair of gas masks.

If you’re seeking a challenging yet fair puzzle game in Colorado Springs, look no further than Project Iceworm.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A challenging mix of puzzles
  • Strong, traditional escape room gameplay

Story

Project Iceworm, a covert 1960s venture by the US military, attempted to hide medium range nuclear missiles under the ice of Greenland. This was planned without the knowledge of the Kingdom of Denmark, of which Greenland is autonomous territory. The intent was to enable secret first strike capabilities against the Soviet Union.

The project was ultimately a failure and cancelled in 1966, its secrets lost beneath the ice… until now.

And yes, Project Iceworm was a real thing.

In-game: The entry way to the game, a restricted area with a lab beyond the door.

Setting

We entered Project Iceworm armed with flashlights or headlamps (our individual choice).

The gamespace was physically small, with an elegant wood and metal makeshift laboratory look. It had a unique aesthetic that was obscured a little too much by perpetual darkness.

In-game: Closeup of mounted box gloves for handling hazardous materials.

Gameplay

21 Keys Escape Rooms’ Project Iceworm was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty compared to other local games.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: Closeup of a control panel.

Analysis

➖ / ➕ Project Iceworm was unnecessarily dark. We wished we could have solved something that would have turned on the lights. That said, 21 Keys Escape Rooms provided headlamps, so we all had hands-free flashlights that illuminated whatever we were working on. This lighting situation, however, bumped awkwardly against a particular search puzzle.

➕ Project Iceworm was a puzzle-driven escape room. It had solid, layered puzzles with satisfying solves. These puzzles rewarded persistence, in a good way.

➖ Much of the clue structure was on laminated paper. Although this worked for the game, we would have liked the cluing to be more fully integrated into the gamespace.

➕ 21 Keys Escape Rooms built an interesting dexterity contraption into this game. It was a fun puzzle and we appreciated the extraction. It was unexpected.

➖ Project Iceworm was grounded in a story, but the story didn’t play a role in the escape room. Our experience didn’t have an introduction, conclusion, or dramatic event. The overall experience felt one-note and too emotionally level.

➕ The set was small, but it looked good.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with 21 Keys Escape Rooms’ Project Iceworm, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: 21 Keys Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

Disclosure: Our trip to Denver was sponsored by the Denver escape room community. Contributions were anonymous.

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