Once Upon an Escape – 7 Dwarfs [Review]

Heigh-hi, heigh-ho, it’s off to puzzle we go

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: January 30, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39 per player

Ticketing:  Private

Accessibility Consideration: Players are all required to duck under a low doorway.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Once Upon an Escape’s 7 Dwarfs was a whimsical adventure into the childhood story we all know and love. From the nostalgia-inspired puzzles to adorably dwarf-sized props, Once Upon an Escape did a good job of taking intricate details from the fairytale and implementing them into puzzles inspired by key moments of the story. On its own, though, the game didn’t tell the story to a player without the prior knowledge of the fairytale. Our players who were unfamiliar with the fairytale did not grasp the story of the room, and felt as if there was room to integrate more storytelling throughout.

A bird house with a small cardinal atop it.

I adore One Upon an Escape’s overall atmosphere, bringing whimsical and magical moments into the smallest details of their venue. The lobby was decorated from floor to ceiling (complete with the cutest fish tank), and each entry to each escape room had an accompanying doorway designed around the fairytale. While the dΓ©cor inside the room was adorable and thematic with multiple, vastly different sets, it felt lesser compared to the lobby. With multiple “do not touch” labels and out-of-play red locks, the immersion was broken early on.

From a gameplay perspective, the puzzles flowed well, with only short moments of hesitation and quite a few aha moments. Once Upon an Escape did a good job of taking puzzles we’ve seen before and surprising us with unusual applications.

Overall, 7 Dwarfs was a cute fairytale experience filled with traditional puzzles, adorably small booties, and whimsical moments.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fairytale fans
  • Newbies

Why play?

  • Nostalgic fairytale-inspired puzzles
  • Traditional escape room puzzle play

Story

Our princess had fallen ill due to a poison apple, and the Seven Dwarfs had asked for our (human sized) help to bring her back to life before she’d be gone forever.

A string of lights above some plants and ivy.

Setting

The start of our journey took us through an enchanted forest complete with apple trees, a wishing well, and a whimsical dwarf-sized cabin. The set extended through multiple rooms to portray various fairytale-inspired sets, including many adorably small items.

A wooden wall with a few small compartment doors.

Gameplay

Once Upon an Escape’s 7 Dwarfs was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

βž• One of the puzzles was designed to be more forgiving to players, allowing a typically problematic puzzle to be fun and engaging.

βž• Once Upon an Escape had a clever implementation of a puzzle we’d seen many times. We loved the way they changed things up and this was followed by a satisfying aha moment.

βž– One section of the game could have benefited from either spotlighting or better lighting in general. We had to rely on weak flashlights to see in a dark environment.

βž• There was a great transition sequence in the middle of the game with such a cute doorway. We loved the small details put into the transitions between the various spaces, and the whimsical settings on the other side.

βž– There was an overbearing amount of do-not-touch labels throughout the game. These took away from the immersion and could have been replaced with more concealed locking mechanisms.

❓ If you know the fairytale this game is based on, you will find many adorable references, complete with a beginning-to-end storyline. Unfortunately, for those who do not know the fairytale, the game does not portray a clear story, with seemingly random transitions and no actual storytelling. We felt like this was a missed opportunity to retell the tale through puzzles.

βž•/βž– The hint system was valid, yet flimsy. We loved the concept of delivery, but a better casing could have elevated the execution greatly.

Book your hour with Once Upon an Escape’s 7 Dwarfs, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Once Upon an Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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