Outside the Box – The Body Shop [Review]

Girls will be girls.

Location:  Webster, MA

Date Played: November 10, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Body Shop was a fantastic example of the kind of greatness that is achievable on a modest budget when an escape room is imbued with skill, passion, and attention to detail.

Outside the Box did a lot of worldbuilding in The Body Shop. Some of it was overt; a lot of the detailing was subtle. Altogether, their game world was as creative as it was grimly hilarious.

In-game: An autoshop of a motorcycle in the middle covered with a tarp.

The set looked great; the puzzles solved cleanly. From our vantage point, the biggest opportunity for Outside the Box to elevate their style would be to integrate the puzzles not only into the set, but also into the story. As it was, the puzzle looked good within the environment, but didn’t usually carry much meaning. If Outside the Box can figure out how to do this, they will be a real force. As it is, The Body Shop was already fantastic.

If you’re in the Boston area Webster, Massachusetts is a bit of a drive… but it really is worth it, especially if you have a dark sense of humor.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • People with a sense of humor
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Hilarious and nuanced storytelling
  • A strong and unique set
  • Great tangible interactions

Story

It was late at night and someone had placed an order for immediate delivery from internet retail giant Conga. We were the closest delivery people, so off we went, package in hand, to a local body shop.

As we followed the owner’s instructions and delivered the package, the door locked behind us and the alarm triggered. The shop seemed pretty shady, so leaving was our only priority.

In-game: a bay door for the autoshop.

Setting

We arrived at The Body Shop with a package to deliver in hand, and explicit instructions of where to deposit it. As we entered the space, it was clearly an auto shop. It looked fantastic. The tools, the look, and the grit of the place all achieved that recognizable aesthetic.

In-game: A detailed, heavily worn brick, concrete, and steel wall.

The level of detail also exceeded the obvious. It took some time before we realized the lengths to which Outside the Box had gone when constructing The Body Shop.

One key detail that I’ll point out: the story details were embedded in a number of places around the set. Taking a moment here and there to internalize these added a lot to the experience.

Gameplay

Outside the Box’s The Body Shop was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

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

In-game: a rack of tires sitting beside a set of red lockers.

Analysis

➕ Outside the Box took risks with their story and interaction design. This paid off. The Body Shop was edgy, but also hilarious.

➕ Outside the Box crafted the world of The Body Shop. From the opening moments of the experience, we were learning about this world, its characters, and our place in it. Outside the Box created a solid base on which their story unfolded.

In-game: a workbench with wrenches hanging from a pegboard.

➕ The detailed set and props made The Body Shop an exciting space to explore. One reveal especially impressed us. Although this wasn’t a high-budget build, it was thoughtfully designed to deliver impactful moments.

➕ Outside the Box used light and sound to enhance the atmosphere and add drama.

➕/➖ The puzzles were thematic, tactile, and interactive. They were fun solves. That said, many of the puzzles were escape room-y, which is to say, they were built within the environment, but they weren’t carrying the story beats.

➖ A few too many puzzles required writing utensils. This became a bit tedious and distracted from the detailed environment.

➖ It wasn’t always apparent whether we had enough information to work on a puzzle. We spun our wheels a few times.

The Body Shop had a lot of content, both in terms of puzzles and story. It generally flowed clearly and logically. This story was also intelligently delivered. It wasn’t arduous to take it in.

In-game: closeup of a motorcycle wheel.

Tips For Visiting

  • The entrance is behind the building.
  • There is a parking lot behind the building and street parking out front.
  • The theme is playful and funny, but might be off-putting to some players. There is a light Halloween-horror feel.

Book your hour with Outside the Box’s The Body Shop, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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