Trap Door Escape – F5: A Tornado Escape [Review]

Winds of Change

Location:  Bartonsville, PA

Date Played: January 29, 2022

Team size: 2-12; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: one person needs to climb over a high barrier and crouch in a small space

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I was a big fan of the original F5 game from Trap Door. I loved the way that it blended physicality with escape games and a unique setting. It played in a space that we have rarely seen escape room designers explore.

The new F5: A Tornado Escape was a completely different game. It maintained the unique cornfield setting, the ever-present wind of fans, and the projected tornado… but it swapped out the physicality for more traditional escape room puzzle play. The end result was a game that was considerably more accessible. Plus the new version had far better puzzle design than the original.

A corn field at night.

F5: A Tornado Escape stumbled in some of the details. There were some puzzles that felt noticeably altered, missing, or under-clued. This was particularly rough in the early game, where a few decisions made it difficult to build trust in the design. The good news was that the deeper we pushed in the game, the more it recovered.

If, like me, you’re a fan of the original F5, there was a really interesting callback with a bit of physicality, but this was a fundamentally different experience and one that I probably enjoyed more than the original, even if I missed some of the obstacle course interactivity. I’m sure plenty will be happy that the physical challenges were blown away.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • The setting was unique and remains novel (even though Trap Door Escape did it before)
  • It’s a completely different and improved game from the original
  • The finale was neat

Story

A terrifying storm was coming and bringing a massive tornado with it. Could we make it to the barn and save ourselves before the tornado took us?

A corn field with a tornado off in the distance.

Setting

Trap Door Escape revived the windblown cornfield of the original F5, and it remained a compelling environment. The blend of corn maze, projections of the storm and tornado, and large fans created a unique escape room environment. It was unusual when Trap Door Escape did it the first time, and it’s still unusual today.

A view out a home's backdoor. The sky looks dark and stormy.

Gameplay

Trap Door Escape’s F5: A Tornado Escape was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Unlike in the original F5, the gameplay did not require any physical prowess beyond a bit of agility and bravery from one player.

A well between a fence and a corn field.

Analysis

โž•ย Trap Door did an incredible job establishing the world of this experience, and bringing it to life during the game. The projection, fans, wind chime, and added effects created the ominous feel of an imminent tornado. It was an unusual escape room theme and it really worked.

โž– The news briefing that introduced this game – while thematic – was impossible to comprehend and painfully loud. Our frustration at a lack of understanding was compounded by having no clear starting place for the gameplay, and what we realized later was an intentional red herring in the game briefing. It made for an unnecessarily rough beginning.

โž– The poor build quality of one early puzzle deterred us from attempting the correct solution. It felt like this puzzle had been changed from the original design, leaving us spinning in some unnecessary directions.

โž• We enjoyed when our interactions made sense in the world of the game. One early puzzle generated a fun reveal.

โž• The gameplay had us traversing the set repeatedly, but there was a joy in running to and fro through this corn maze. Once the gameplay got rolling, it flowed forward, even as we moved back and forth and all around.

โž–ย While the set was fun, we felt the presence of likely ghost puzzles throughout. One central set piece appeared interactive, but was nothing more than decor. A crawl space provided no payoff… or even reason for its existence.

โž–ย Trap Door could pay a bit more attention to detail. We encountered tags and barcodes on the furniture and wear on parts of the set. While the set was fun, the build quality was sometimes questionable.

โž• One later sequence required fun maneuvering and coordinated teamwork, which we all enjoyed.

โž• F5 built up to an exciting, thematic conclusion. The finale delivered.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We highly recommend Pho Saigon II for a meal before or after your game. They are located in the same plaza.

Book your hour with Trap Door Escape’s F5: A Tornado Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Trap Door Escape comped our tickets for this game.

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