Not Another Escape Room – Battleship [Review]

💥 BOOM! 💥

Location:  Brea, CA

Date Played: March 7, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36-50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Battleship brought a classic board game to life as an escape room. Players split into two teams and competed in a free-for-all puzzle fest, attempting to earn as many cannonballs as possible. Each cannonball then turned into an extra guess while playing an oversized game of Battleship. As in the real tabletop game, the first team to sink all their opponents’ ships won.

Following in the footsteps of Time Machine, Not Another Escape Room once again strongly demonstrated their ability to reimagine what an escape room can be with Battleship. Though overtly themed around pirates, Battleship felt unlike other pirate-themed escape rooms with its Battleship game-oriented structure. Gameplay was almost fully nonlinear, and each puzzle’s trailhead and input were clearly associated. The game was presented as a competition, but it’s only as chaotic as you choose to make it. The set was simple yet attractive, almost fully tech-free — except for a large interactive set piece that was smoothly constructed and coded.

Battleship was a game for competitive puzzle lovers. If you’re looking for a more story-, discovery-, or set- driven escape room, this might not be the game for you. That said, there were a wide variety of puzzle types that would appeal to many different types of solvers, and plenty of flexibility for players to hop from puzzle to puzzle.

A room with walls covered in different pirate flags, in the middle is a table with a digital display that reads, "SHIP."

If you are in Southern California, Not Another Escape Room is well worth a visit. Time Machine is a sprawling narrative-driven adventure filled with unexpected “wow” moments, whereas Battleship is a more self-contained, puzzle-packed competition. If you have the time, I highly recommend giving both rooms a play.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Pirates

Why play?

  • A real-life game of Battleship
  • Unique gameplay mechanics
  • A ton of fun maritime-themed puzzles

Story

When our crew of pirates located a fleet of ships off the coast of Tortuga, mutiny broke out and we split into two teams. Each team raced to earn as many cannonballs as possible to shoot down all the opposing team’s ships first.

Closeup of a small 3D printed cannon.

Setting

Battleship took place in a pirate ship-inspired space that was visibly flooded with puzzles. In the center of the room was a hefty wooden table on which sat each team’s oversized Battleship boards and 3D-printed cannons.

Gameplay

Not Another Escape Room’s Battleship was a highly unique escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

At its core, Battleship featured an actual game of Battleship. Following a short warmup puzzle sequence, each team was prompted to secretly place ships on their board. Players could earn cannonballs for their team by solving maritime- and pirate-themed puzzles scattered around the room, all available in parallel to both teams. The first team to crack each puzzle earned its cannonballs. The game consisted of multiple rounds: solve puzzles, play Battleship with the number of cannonballs used, another round of solving puzzles, and a final round of Battleship. As in normal Battleship, the first team to sink all their opponent’s ships won.

Analysis

➕ Not Another Escape Room cleverly made a lot with a little. Much of Battleship used no tech at all — except for the handful of puzzles that meaningfully required it. The puzzles took advantage of all parts of the space, and the space itself was efficiently laid out.

➕ All the tech worked smoothly and seamlessly in the background. As we placed the ships on our Battleship boards and later chose where to attack our enemy’s fleet, our scores and progress were reflected in real time on a nearby monitor, with responsive light and sound feedback on our game boards.

➕ Battleship included a wide variety of recognizable puzzle types with some clever little twists, almost all of which were maritime- or pirate-themed. Different puzzles will appeal to different players, and if you’re not jiving with a particular puzzle, it was totally fine to skip over to a different one.

➕ It was visually clear once a puzzle had been solved. The door for that puzzle swung down, stayed down, and never obscured anything that would be needed for a different puzzle. This may sound trivial, but this clarity was an essential design feature in this sort of fast-paced, head-to-head environment.

➖ There was a range of puzzle difficulty and length. The most involved puzzle offered a slightly greater reward, but otherwise the puzzles were all worth the same number of cannonballs. A stronger points-to-difficulty correlation might have mitigated players’ snatching up all the low-hanging fruit right at the start, as well as added an additional strategic element to the puzzle frenzy.

➕/➖ We entered the game space with dramatic flourish. While exciting, novel, and on-theme, the implementation of this interaction also seemed a tad dangerous, especially for players waiting in the lobby while a Battleship game took place. I (accidentally) nearly smacked one of my teammates upon reentering and then exiting the space following our game.

Battleship is ideal for exactly 4 players, especially for enthusiasts. The gameplay relies on having two balanced teams for a balanced competition, though imbalanced teams can choose to play in cooperative/ non-competitive mode where everyone works together to solve puzzles and then splits into two sides just for the Battleship-playing portions.

Tips For Visiting

  • Street parking was available nearby.

Book your hour with Not Another Escape Room’s Battleship, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Not Another Escape Room comped our tickets for this game.

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