MindEscape – Alice in Wonderland [Review]

Time for tea.

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Date Played: October 23, 2021

Team Size: 3-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $35 per player for up to 5 players, $32 per player for 6 or more players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players must pass through low doorways.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

MindEscape’s Alice in Wonderland was a colorful yet bumpy adventure down the rabbit hole.

Alice in Wonderland was filled with tactile puzzles that visually screamed “Alice in Wonderland” both in subject and aesthetic. The props were colorful and chunky, but also faded and showing significant wear. A diverse range of classic hands-on games and puzzles were generally fun and encouraged collaboration. However, the gameplay lacked an attention to detail which led to a frustrating number of ambiguous or finicky interactions.

A collection of 3 signs with arrows, thy read, "wonderland," "tea party," and "somewhere."

With multiple puzzles available in parallel for much of the game, this room would work well for medium-sized teams. Although the set of Alice in Wonderland appeared kid-friendly, this room was actually the most difficult room at MindEscape.

A note to itinerant enthusiasts: Alice in Wonderland is a turnkey design from Indestroom, a large escape room supplier, so it’s possible you’d find this same room design in other locations. While the puzzles and props were prefabricated, MindEscape added some of their own in-house artistic touches to the set, including murals by local artists.

Who is this for?

  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Scenery snobs

Story

We’d fallen down the rabbit hole, made friends with the various inhabitants of Wonderland, and even received an invite to The Queen’s Annual Royal Tea Party. But when we realized that we had accidentally missed the party, we followed the advice of The Mad Hatter to find all the pocket watches so we could turn back time and make it to the tea party without miffing The Queen.

Setting

Alice in Wonderland took us down the rabbit hole to a whimsical depiction of Wonderland. We met a colorful cast of characters and entered The Mad Hatter’s house.

Set pieces included a number of sculpted elements. The walls were covered in spray-painted murals.

A strange red, white, and black tree in Wonderland.

Gameplay

MindEscape’s Alice in Wonderland was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Gameplay revolved around searching, dexterity challenges, and puzzling.

An oddly shaped house with many bells and colorful windows, it's labeled, "Hatter."

Analysis

➕ The set of Alice in Wonderland felt distinctly Wonderland-esque. The Mad Hatter’s house was an impressive and dominating set piece, and we enjoyed various other sculpted elements. Colorful murals and lighting established a fun aesthetic.

➖ It was clear that the set of Alice in Wonderland has experienced lots of wear. Many props looked old and faded, though nothing was outright broken.

➕ There was a fun, diverse range of tactile puzzles and games that encouraged collaboration and communication amongst players.

➖ There were a number of disheartening game design flaws in Alice in Wonderland. One puzzle was physically solvable before it was actually active in the game, with no indication of when it later turned on. Another puzzle didn’t clue the intended orientation, so we had to just try it both ways. A logic puzzle contained a clue with a visually ambiguous interpretation.

➕ A sensory puzzle was well implemented to work even when we were all wearing masks.

➖ A couple of prominent items in the room were part of a ghost puzzle. Though we never really had a way to interact with them, they were clearly puzzle-y and it was unsatisfying to end the game thinking we’d skipped something.

➖ A multipart dexterity challenge was nearly impossible in the way it was implemented and maintained. I suspect that this interaction is much of the reason why Alice in Wonderland is a 75-minute rather than a 60-minute room, and after our game, we learned that most players end up skipping this puzzle. For all intents and purposes, I’d consider this interaction to be broken.

➖ Avoid looking too closely at the room photos of Alice in Wonderland on MindEscape’s website. I was perplexed to notice that they contained some puzzle spoilers.

➖ The monitor to verbally communicate with the game host was fixed in one corner and on a low volume. This led to some awkwardness especially as we explored further areas of the set.

➕ Our game host was genial and responsive in guiding us through some of this room’s idiosyncrasies. Even when we lost some faith in the consistency of the game design, we still trusted our game host.

Tips For Visiting

  • MindEscape partnered with a nearby parking garage, Target Park U.S., to offer a 20% discount on parking. More details are available on their website.

Book your session with MindEscape’s Alice in Wonderland, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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