The Perfect Escape – Wong’s Chinese [Review]

Everything AND the Kitchen Sink

Location:  Arlington, TX

Date Played: July 18, 2021

Team Size: 3-10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27-$33, depending on number of players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Wong’s Chinese is an homage to the creators’ childhood experience of helping in the family Chinese restaurant. As such, its story and setting are strikingly realistic, yet fairly rare in the world of escape rooms.

Wong's Chinese escape room looks exactly like a Chinese restaurant, with all of the right furniture and decor.

This room was a stellar example of how a simple but well-executed narrative can add energy and purpose not only to the entire experience but also to every interaction along the way. The room contained quite a large number and variety of puzzles that ranged from somewhat typical math and counting tasks to truly original interactions with delightful props, set pieces, and characters. Whether familiar or not, each interaction felt justified by the narrative, adding motivation to even the more common puzzle types. It always felt like we were making necessary and valuable contributions towards our goal, and usually it was joyful to do so.

The narrative was made all the more plausible by the realism of the environment. Every space in this room was believable, begging us to appreciate its details and play with its props. Thankfully, the goal-oriented nature of the tasks along with strong cluing made it easy to distinguish the relevant details from the general ambiance. The only issue with the set was a mid-game sequence that felt too small for larger groups to comfortably explore. This contrasted with the rest of the experience, which would both support and benefit from a large team.

The unique plot, authentic setting, and story-driven puzzle selection of Wong’s Chinese make it a highlight of the Dallas/ Fort Worth escape room scene and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Anyone curious about the inner workings of a Chinese food restaurant
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Story

Renowned chef Mitchell Nom is scheduled to review Mr. Wong’s famous dumplings tonight, but Mr. Wong had to leave his restaurant for a family emergency. Now you, Mr. Wong’s trusted employees, must manage his restaurant and deliver the perfect dumplings in an effort to win the coveted Mitchell N Star.

Setting

I could have easily been convinced that we were entering an actual Chinese food cafe when we arrived at Mr. Wong’s Restaurant. This is surely because the set was patterned after the family business that the creators participated in as kids. Embedded within this ambiance, however, were touches of almost cartoonish whimsy, a delightful juxtaposition that gave the room a distinctive, playful style.

Back room in a Chinese restaurant.

Gameplay

The Perfect Escape’s Wong’s Chinese was a standard escape room with a moderate-to-high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, making connections, puzzling, and interacting with props in realistic and narrative-driven ways. The room’s difficulty stemmed from the large number of puzzles to complete.

Analysis

➕ Every space was visually interesting and full of engaging things to do. While we were eager to experience the full room, no part felt like “filler.” It was all consistently enjoyable.

➕ An abundance of details never translated to red herrings. It was usually clear what to pay attention to.

❓ The room used video to share certain pieces of information. Although this presentation was entertaining and justified by the narrative, it was also time-consuming to revisit in search of more clues.

➖ One lengthy puzzle overstayed its welcome. The basic mechanic was interesting and satisfying, but repeating it a dozen times was wearisome and prone to error.

➕ There were a few cartoonish elements in this room that tempered the realism with a bit of playfulness. We smiled a lot.

➕ Multiple rooms at The Perfect Escape addressed a common interaction type with a unique approach that we had never seen before. This approach was not only amusing but also moved the stories along in a believable way.

➕ Even when this room employed common escape room mechanics, it did so in immersive, believable ways. One in particular was so subtle that I thought it was real.

➕ Parts of this room reminded me of playing pretend restaurant and kitchen games as a kid, just on a much larger and more rewarding scale. It’s something special when a room can evoke that kind of childlike joy.

Tips For Visiting

  • If one of the owners is around, ask about the inspiration for this room. They can point out all the personal details that went into making this experience.
  • Parking: There is plenty of strip mall parking on-site.

Book your hour with The Perfect Escape’s Wong’s Chinese, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.