Bold Escape Rooms – Stalked by a Killer [Review]

Murderer on Main Street

Location:  Pittsburgh, PA

Date Played: July 3, 2021

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $24.95 per player

Ticketing: Public

Game Breakage: Yes, a broken prop among other issues detailed below

Accessibility Consideration:  at least one teammate needs to crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Bold Escape Rooms surprised us with a classic murder basement-style escape room, executed well, at a player-friendly price point.

The set had classic haunt vibes and props, and the puzzles followed suit. This game wasn’t breaking new ground, but it tread the old ground well.

A streak of blood on the floor entering into a dark room with a computer desk.

My main issue with Stalked by a Killer was the volume of malfunctions that we encountered. A prop broke from wear and there was a key that mistakenly worked on two locks, a lock that wasn’t reset, and a broken flashlight. None of these were game-breaking, but that was strictly because we had the knowledge and discipline to recognize each issue and seek support from our very helpful gamemaster. Now, maybe this was a collection of flukes that all happened at one time in our game and they rarely happen to anyone else… but I find that unlikely. All of these were minor, inexpensive issues, and Bold Escape Rooms would do well to inspect and refresh their props a bit more regularly. Literally everything that went wrong in our game was easily avoidable.

The overall experience at Bold Escape Rooms really exceeded our expectations for a classic-style escape game. It had a great set, and fun interaction design. In spite of the issues that we encountered, we had a lot of fun. If you’re in the area, Stalked by a Killer is worth checking out.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Slasher fans
  • Newbies
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Strong set design
  • The Bold Escape Rooms facility is cool
  • Classic horror escape room
  • Great value for the price

Story

We’d been abducted by a serial killer. He gave us a chance at life through a series of puzzle challenges in his murder lair.

A computer desk in a dim room with an old CRT monitor illuminated.

Setting

Off of Bold Escapes’s lobby was Main Street, a beautifully painted hallway. Players enter each of their escape games through a different door off Main Street.

Stalked by a Killer was a classic serial killer’s murder basement set with a few more poop jokes than normal. It had a juvenile sense of humor that was honestly refreshing, and lightened the tension inherent in this theme. Aesthetically, it had strong haunt vibes, which made sense considering how Bold Escapes roots are in haunted houses with ScareHouse.

A shelf with a metal box, beyond it is a pinboard with the faces of the killer's victims.

Gameplay

Stalked by a Killer used traditional search-and-puzzle gameplay. To a lesser extent, it relied on thematic tasks.

4 electrical boxes, each locked with a padlock.

Analysis

➕ The set captured the classic serial-killer-murder-basement-escape room vibe. It was creepy and dingy, but not overly terrifying. It was dirty-looking, but not dirty. The minimal decor worked, and was kicked up a notch in later scenes with larger props. Plus, we loved entering the set from Bold Escape Rooms’ beautiful Main Street hallway:

A dimly lit main street in Bold Escape Room's. The doors are the entrances to their games.
Bold’s Main Street hallway

➖ The lighting was challenging. A dark room was thematic, but Stalked by a Killer would benefit from select spotlighting. The flashlights provided were too weak, and not enough to go around.

➕ We enjoyed the inclusion of various tools in Stalked by a Killer. It was clear when and how these items facilitated gameplay, and they made sense thematically.

➕ Bold Escape Rooms managed to take a dreaded escape room prop and subtly turn it into something far more player-friendly.

➕ The gameplay flowed well. The puzzles made sense and there was plenty of content. Stalked by a Killer had good momentum.

➖ One puzzle was double-clued. We understand why they build a redundancy. (The original design was too hard for most teams.) However, the doubling confused gameplay for a bit, as we solved the harder version first and progressed in the game, and then the same information resurfaced later.

➖ We experienced multiple room malfunctions including a key that unintentionally fit two locks, a broken prop, and an unlocked prop. Interestingly, none of these were gamebreaking, as we figured out we had problems and stopped ourselves from breaking sequence. That said, you can’t count on that level of awareness from most teams and it was still frustrating to encounter this many easily avoidable problematic scenarios. (Of note, in each of these scenarios, the gamemaster was responsive and helpful.)

➖ Bold Escape Rooms lacked awareness of the gameplay. They did not have complete camera coverage of the gamespace, and the walky-talky hint system wasn’t sufficient.

➕/➖ Bold Escape Rooms’ skill in set design was apparent in one early-game reveal, which I imagine will surprise and delight any novice team. That said, I encourage them to build more clue structure around this interaction, to ensure that all teams uncover it on their own.

➕ We really enjoyed the jazz soundtrack, which balanced the intensity of the theme.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: Street parking is free after 6 PM Monday-Saturday and free on Sundays.
  • Food: There are lots of restaurants in walking distance.

Book your hour with Bold Escape Rooms’ Stalked by a Killer, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Bold Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

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