Trap Door Escape – We’re All Mad Here [Review]

Alice in Asylumland

Location:  Bartonsville, PA

Date Played: January 29, 2022

Team size: minimum of 4; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 120 minutes

Price: $60 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players need to climb up a ladder, climb over a high barrier, and crawl to fully experience the game. However, as long as at least one player can do these things, other players could opt to skip this segment.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

There’s no way to make this medicine go down easier:

2 hours of game spread out over 4,000 square feet was a lot for an escape room. It felt like a lot as a player… and it seemed like it was too much for Trap Door Escape.

This game didn’t need to be 2 hours long. The space felt empty and shoddily constructed. The game felt dreary and slow… and the moments that were brilliant overstayed their welcome way past the point of fun.

A bed with a large caterpillar smoking a hookah.

Trap Door Escape was playing with some interesting ideas in We’re All Mad Here, but for whatever reason (time?, budget?, materials?, skillset?), this game felt tragically thin.

Selling the idea that an experience is massive and epic means that it needs to deliver; scale is a burden.

I wished that we liked this game. We wanted to enjoy it, but in the end… we weren’t mad, we were disappointed.

Instead of We’re All Mad Here, I’d strongly urge you to consider playing Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Trap Door Escape really hit their stride in that game.

Who is this for?

  • Alice in Wonderland fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • It’s big and long
  • There are some interesting performative bits
  • The cool segments

Story

As patients of the Red Heart Mental Institution, we explored this Alice in Wonderland-inspired world, digging deeper down the rabbit hole of this curious hospital.

A white much with the words "Red Heart Mental Institution" on a red table.

Setting

At 4,000 square feet, We’re All Mad Here’s defining trait was its size. From a set design standpoint, most of the game felt like a prototype for the game that we were playing, with cool ideas roughed out, but incomplete.

In far too many instances throughout this experience if we stopped playing and looked straight ahead, we’d see a prop that felt bare and unfinished… or nothing at all.

A caged in desk in a hospital. It looks both bare and imposing.

Gameplay

Trap Door Escape’s We’re All Mad Here was a standard escape room with an unusually large footprint and an extended play time. It had a moderate level of difficulty and a long game clock.

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

A room with a bed and truck cut in half.

Analysis

➕  The opening act was intriguing. Trap Door used projection well to draw our attention to our starting place.

➖ While the space was shockingly expansive, every room felt sparse and underdesigned.

Room with a bed with a bit of ribbon strung around it. There are numbers painted on the wall.

➖  The build quality was shoddy. For example, there were doors that were only partially framed. The result was that there were plenty of times when we were pushing when we should be pulling, with no reinforcement, and my guess is that most teams will be less gentle than we were.

Closeup of a doorway with a padlock. You can see through the door frame to the next room.
This is not how you hang a door.

➖ The most compelling interaction in We’re All Mad Here… drove us mad. The combination of low lighting, colors, misleading instructions, and a certain programming decision made us want to bash the thing harder.

➕/➖ The puzzles themselves were hit-or-miss. In some instances, the sparse nature of the space made for straightforward solves. When there were multiple puzzles at once, however, we tended to find some missing clue structure and struggled to sort input numbers from sequence numbers, for example. This sort of thing happened more often than we would have liked.

➕/➖ Our favorite set was a late-game surprise reorientation. It was fun to behold, and then maneuver through. That said, with the size of the space, the maneuvering overstayed its welcome.

➕ Trap Door added a lot of personality to this game through projection and video. The final set, in particular, had a lot of character. It upped the stakes as we approached the end of the experience.

➕ The staff at Trap Door introduced and concluded this game in character. The performers were a lot of fun, and added excitement, especially for the conclusion.

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 experience with Trap Door Escape’s We’re All Mad Here, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

3 thoughts on “Trap Door Escape – We’re All Mad Here [Review]

  1. Yes, there are some rather large escape rooms. They aren’t necessarily common, especially in cities where rent is too expensive to make scale even plausible.

  2. I’m a little shocked that Trap Door Escape has a game that is not on par with their usual offerings. Kudos to REA for honest and accurate assessments – these serve all of us (owners/players) to our benefit.

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