Escape.exe – Site 117 [Review]

Escaping: 101

Location:  Bethlehem, PA

Date Played: July 25, 2021

Team Size: 3+; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The team at escape.exe has set their sights on a very ambitious format: a series of escape rooms all woven into a detailed story. This story starts on their website and carries over into their first in-person escape room. Site: 117 was puzzle-dense and tech-heavy.

We were helped along by escape.exe’s A.I. companion GAVIN. (To note, the company escape.exe also exists as a company in its own lore.) GAVIN was our friend, offering us vital information and occasional nudges. At times GAVIN was a little too present, and sorting out the difference between banter and important game cluing was a touch difficult with everything else going on.

A locker room in leading into a clean room.

Site: 117 gave our team the chance to spread out among multiple parallel puzzle paths. This allowed each teammate to not only find something personally interesting to solve, but also something that played to their individual strengths. Of particular note were the puzzles that were enhanced by coordinating and communicating with other team members. We all know that communication is important, and Site: 117 gave us plenty of opportunities to practice it. The narrative comes to a meaningful conclusion at the end of the experience, setting players up for the next game. If you’re in the area, you should stop by and check out escape.exe’s first chapter.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Story

Our team had been recruited to travel to a research facility at Site 117 to determine what had happened to an elite team of test subjects after only one of them had made it back to base.

Setting

Site: 117 takes place at…Site 117, a research base somewhere in the Kuiper Belt. The set was mostly grey, industrial, and impersonal – which is what you might expect at a far-flung research station.

Advertisements for GAVIN: the Global Autonomous Virtual Intelligence Network.

Gameplay

This game offered a large variety of puzzle types, including dexterity challenges and audio puzzles on top of more standard escape-room fare.

Analysis

➕ One puzzle presented a creative variant on a common cipher type in a novel way that didn’t give a major advantage to our outside knowledge.

➖ There was a lot of audio in this room from more than one source. It was occasionally difficult to filter out the less important dialog and audio cues.

➕ Escape.exe used very thoughtful integration of tech-based puzzles that led to some memorable moments. 

❓ There were multiple puzzle paths and opportunities for parallel solving. Teams should be prepared to be on their organizational “A” game. 

➕ An otherworldly centerpiece was the focal point of the room, driving home just how far away from Earth we were.

➖ Many of the clues in the room were paper-based. While they were in good shape, some of the sheets were difficult to read in the atmospheric lighting.

➕ There was a great diversity of puzzle types in this escape room, and it allowed each teammate to have a moment to shine.

👓 You start the game wearing opaque goggles as a blindfold, but these are both optional (if you close your eyes) and glasses-friendly.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking available on site.
  • Food: escape.exe is a 10-minute drive from downtown Bethlehem, which has a variety of options to choose from.

Book your hour with escape.exe’s Site: 117, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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