Puzzle Room Pittsburgh – The Study [Review]

Reading Between the Lines

Location:  Pittsburgh, PA

Date Played: July 2, 2021

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Stairs, although not necessary for all

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

With a room named The Study, I was fully prepared to search for puzzle codes given a chapter and page number, to arrange encyclopedias in order on a shelf, or a dozen other consistently-used puzzle formats in a library setting. Instead, we found that Puzzle Room Pittsburgh cleverly sidestepped stereotypical thematic puzzles while introducing unique tech interactions throughout the space.   

An old typewriter in the foreground, a beautiful bookcase wall in the background.

Of particular interest was the layered manner in which puzzles were assembled, allowing us to unpack the storyline from multiple viewpoints in the room. The pacing of gameplay appropriately escalated as we progressed, with one particularly delightful reveal awaiting us at the finale.

Although the room took advantage of non-standard locking mechanisms, enhanced audible or visual feedback would be welcome – we had to search for what had changed within the space after a few successful solves.

The Study was a solid escape room and certainly worth the trip if you are in the greater Pittsburgh region.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Puzzle lovers

Story

We were tasked with stopping Mr. Wellington, a famed book collector who would be back in one hour with all of the necessary items to take over the world.

Setting

The Study was appropriately set in a warm and inviting book collector’s library.

A large and beautiful bookcase.

Gameplay

Puzzle Room Pittsburgh’s The Study was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty. The gameplay was split between puzzle-centric experiences throughout the space and task-based physical manipulation challenges.

A wall in a study with art hung from it.

Analysis

➕ Puzzle Room Pittsburgh built a well-lit, energetic space with more than one reveal that took our breath away.

➕ Novel, integrated technology introduced new ways to interact with an already impressively-designed room.

➖ A fair number of breakable items were spread throughout the space, and one was incorporated in an unstable (and potentially dangerous) way within a reveal.

➖ There was an unintentional red herring that could be easily adjusted to reduce confusion.

➕ Linear and non-linear puzzle flows allowed for multiple individuals to comfortably work to reveal solutions within the same space.

➖ Communication with the gamemaster was completed via walkie-talkie, which we found ourselves inadvertently changing the channel or volume on as we progressed through the space. It was cumbersome and did not fit into the otherwise thematic world.

➕ Appropriately-paced onboarding into the room eased us into the storyline.

❓ The name of the game was rather unremarkable, and did not do the uniqueness of the game justice. Perhaps consider renaming to something less generic?

Tip For Visiting

  • Puzzle Room Pittsburgh is invested in encouraging the curiosity of puzzlers. Be sure to look around and explore outside of the room itself.
  • Parking: There is ample metered street parking in front of Puzzle Room Pittsburgh.
  • Food: There is delicious Italian food about 15 minutes away at Alta Via (46 Fox Chapel Road, Pittsburgh), making for an upscale post-game debrief spot.

Disclosure: Puzzle Room Pittsburgh comped our tickets for this game.

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