Escape the Room NYC – Cartman’s Escape Room [Review]

Respect mah authoriteh!

Location:  New York, NY

Date Played: December 5, 2021

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36.00 per player

Ticketing: Private

Game Breakage: One very damaged prop

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

Content Warning: It’s a South Park game.

REA Reaction

There are two ways to look at Cartman’s Escape Room: as a South Park product and as an escape room.

As a South Park product, Cartman’s Escape Room is pretty good. The incorporation of animation, character voicing, and references from throughout South Park history were great. The writing wasn’t tight like an episode of the show, but it was a fun environment that will resonate with South Park fans.

South Park Elementary classroom, desks, posters, and classroom pet cage.

As an escape room, Cartman’s Escape Room was an old-school game with some maintenance issues, logic leaps, and puzzles that felt a little too detached from the game’s narrative. Our gamemaster was regularly speaking up with unrequested hints that bridged the logic leap gaps… and honestly, we appreciated each of those unrequested hints… they all should have been incorporated into the fabric of the game.

Overall, this is a game for South Park fans who know their way around an escape room. Frankly, there are better escape rooms out there if you aren’t into the source material. Cartman’s Escape Room does more justice to South Park than it does escape rooms.

Who is this for?

  • South Park fans who know their way around an escape room

Why play?

  • The set faithfully recreated the South Park classroom
  • There were a couple of fantastic South Park moments

Story

Eric Cartman set up an escape room for his friends in the most diabolical place he could: school.

Cartman's Coon & Friends super computer made out of cardboard and an iPad.

Setting

Cartman’s Escape Room was set in the kid’s classroom at South Park Elementary. It looked like a three-dimensional version of the animation.

The set and props remained fairly faithful to the source material throughout the game (although not everything looked as cool as the classroom).

South Park Elementary classroom. "Biology Basics" is written in chalk on the blackboard.

Gameplay

Escape the Room NYC’s Cartman’s Escape Room was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

βž•Β Cartman’s Escape Room paid homage to iconic South Park moments throughout the show’s long history. It was on brand and on theme. It felt true to the show, stylistically and narratively.

βž• Cartman’s Escape Room was at its best when it leaned into the classic South Park narrative tropes and in one spectacular moment, theatrically brought an iconic scene to life.

βž• The introductory video was great. Furthermore, the animations and voice actors provided a lot of fun within the game.

βž• The classroom set looked good and matched the kid’s classroom on the show well. With the exception of a few random props, it had a cohesive aesthetic that worked well for the theme and these characters.

βž–Β We encountered a few props that lacked the elementary school vibe and the polish of the rest of the space. For example, they were marked up in Sharpie to provide clue structure. Other aesthetically mismatched props seemed too high tech for the classroom. These items were so aesthetically off that we thought that they weren’t in play.. but they were.

βž– A number of puzzles lacked necessary clue structure.

βž•Β /βž– Our gamemaster was quick to provide unsolicited hints when we came upon a puzzle that lacked in-game cluing… And we appreciated that her attentiveness kept us from stalling. However, this made it abundantly clear that Escape the Room knows (or at least our gamemaster knew) that in-game clue structure was lacking, and compensated for it. Ultimately all of the unsolicited hints should have been baked into the game; it would have been better for it.

A bookshelf with some worn books, and obvious hinges.

βž– Maintenance was an issue. One key interaction was basically busted, although it still kind of worked enough for the game to move forward. We also encountered exposed wires, a prop that wasn’t sensitive enough to properly receive inputs, and inconsistent audio volume (which dropped to inaudible levels every so often).

βž– We experienced a significant reset failure during our playthrough that added a lot of unnecessary confusion, and also effectively removed one of the game’s largest puzzles.

βž–Β The final puzzle felt weakly structured, narratively disconnected, and anticlimactic.

Tips For Visiting

  • Escape the Room NYC is easily accessible by subway. Take the elevator up to the game.
  • We played Cartman’s Escape Room in person at Escape the Room’s New York City location. It is also available in other cities and for remote play.

Book your hour with Escape the Room NYC’s Cartman’s Escape Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape the Room NYC provided media discounted tickets for this game.

3 thoughts on “Escape the Room NYC – Cartman’s Escape Room [Review]

  1. Ugh I so agree with this review. I was a huge South Park fan when I was younger still enjoy a good episode today. I needed more from this one but after all… it’s Escape The Room πŸ™‚

  2. This was so fun to play, for free, at Comic Con maybe five years ago, when it was unabashedly just there to promote the show.

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