The Secret Chambers – Fort Worth – The Mafia Adventure [Review]

The Mafia Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

What happens at the jazz club stays at the jazz club.

Location:  Fort Worth, TX

Date Played: March 29, 2022

Team Size: 4-12; we recommend 2-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player (you must pay for a minimum of 4 even if fewer play)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players must climb a staircase. At least one player must crawl.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Playing The Mafia Adventure was like touring a historical model of the Prohibition era while getting to play with actual artifacts from the time period. All of the puzzles and activities were strongly thematic and often fully immersive, asking us to role-play actions that made complete sense in the environment. The set felt so authentic and well-researched that I wondered whether I could study it to learn about history. According to the company’s website, it seems that you can.

This escape room followed The Secret Chambers’s pattern of designing a rich scenario, filling it with delightful interactions and reveals, and then giving a path through those interactions using written notes that you discover along the way. Some of these notes were of the form “do this thing.” Others were more cryptic than usual, leaving room for more ahas on the part of the adventurer.

A pool table with red felt in a room with ornate gold ceiling tiles.

Our main critique of the experience was an occasional though significant benefit from outside knowledge that might be hard to grok from the materials meant to scaffold it in the moment. The knowledge was entirely thematic, and the room would have been drastically different without it. This design bought immersion at the expense of added difficulty for some players, but the room should still be doable either way.

The Secret Chambers is a regional must-visit company, and The Mafia Adventure stands out for its intricate attention to detail and impeccable ambiance.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • To interact with a gorgeous Prohibition-era environment, replete with refurbished antiques and references to actual Bonnie & Clyde history
  • To participate in an intense theatrical finale

Story

During the height of Prohibition, we bounty hunters were hot on the trail of the gangsters Bonnie and Clyde. They were last seen frequenting Tom Foolery’s Jazz Club, an infamous establishment widely known for harboring illicit activities. The owner permitted us to look around…after we all agreed that what happens at the Jazz Club stays at the Jazz Club.

A wood stairwell flanked by brick.

Setting

The club owner (a.k.a. our in-character gamemaster) led us up a dim flight of stairs to reveal a warmly lit, lushly adorned, clearly innocuous jazz club, transporting us to a painstakingly realistic rendition of a bygone era. From the antique period pieces to the embedded historical details to the real-wood paneling, this set was of the highest quality. It was splendid to watch it evolve.

I wish we had dressed up to play this room. It felt like we were doing it a disservice by disrupting its ambiance with our modern attire.

A large old record player in the corner of a brick room.

Gameplay

The Secret Chamber’s The Mafia Adventure was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Puzzles involved making observations and connections, following instructions, reasoning, and above all, interacting with amazing set pieces.

Analysis

➕ The environment overflowed with historical detail, authentic set pieces, and high-quality construction. I could list a dozen details that kept me oo-ing and ah-ing throughout and still not have scratched the surface.

➕ Not only were the old-timey set pieces a sight to behold, but we also actually got to use them. It was thrilling.

An ornate old cash register.

➕ The room evolved throughout the experience in both subtle and striking ways.

➕ The in-character gamemaster added flair, and the hint mechanism strongly reinforced the theme. We felt extra gangster-y knocking on the wall and speaking to them through the small window that opened.

➕/➖ There was a rotary phone. Its presence, styling, and purpose were immersive. The printed instructions that accompanied it were not, necessary though they were. We still found the combination to be worthwhile in this context and quite enjoyed the phone booth.

➖ Certain activities would be more difficult without outside knowledge, despite printed instructions to fill that gap. One particular connection seemed extra tricky without internalized vocabulary. We found the description of another one to be unusually confusing.

➖ One reveal was a bit finicky, detracting from its impact.

➕ The finale was interactive and momentous, bringing an intense and satisfying conclusion to the narrative. We yelled and laughed quite a bit.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is plenty of parking.

Book your hour with The Secret Chambers’s The Mafia Adventure, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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