ESCAPE:chandler – Kate’s Motel [Review]

The cheerful staff are always eager to lend a hand

Location:  Chandler, AZ

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team size: 3-9; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: from $46 per player for teams of 3 to $37 per player for teams of 9

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Kate’s Motel was a traditional escape room executed really well.

The set looked like a convincing motel, the horror was playful (not terrifying), and the puzzles were mostly strong.

Information pamphlet for "Kate's Motel, Kate Bates, Manager" held up in the middle of the lobby of Kate's Motel.

There were a couple of puzzles that left us thinking, “there might be a better way to clue that,” but overall, this was a cleanly executed game.

If you’re in Phoenix, and seeking a traditional escape room, for us, this was the strongest of the batch we played. I’m glad we checked into Kate’s Motel; we could feel that a lot of love went into it.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A lot of puzzle content
  • Playful horror atmosphere
  • Solid execution

Story

Kate’s Motel had been the last known sighting of many missing persons. The ominously named Kate Bates was suspected of murdering her patrons. Our team of private detectives had been hired to investigate.

A large, wooden check-in desk in Kate's Motel lobby.

Setting

Kate’s Motel looked and felt like a motel, with a playful horror twist. While not necessarily the most complicated environment to built, ESCAPE:chandler deliver on it. They also added a few creative flourishes that made good use of the various spaces found within a motel environment.

A grandfather clock beside a mirror and a chair.

Gameplay

ESCAPE:chandler’s Kate’s Motel was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

The difficulty stemmed from the volume of content.

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

A small locked chest beside two metal cups on a shelf. Behind them are room keys hung on hooks.

Analysis

βž•Β The gameplay flowed well, especially in the first half. As long as we searched, and kept track of what we had in play, connections fell into place and the game moved swiftly.

βž•/βž– With so much content, cluing was largely on point, but every so often, a detail went unclued.

βž– There were opportunities for further lock-mapping so that we’d always know where to enter any given solution.

βž• Kate’s Motel was more than a classic lock-and-key escape room. The second act heated up with multiple unusual interactions. We especially enjoyed these ahas.

βž• There were jump scares, and they were well timed (triggered by the gamemaster) to catch the unsuspecting player, but never at an unsafe moment. These were more fun than terrifying.

βž– We were frustrated when an interaction triggered an unexpected open, but failed to give us feedback. Thus we continued to try to make sense of our actions in the usual way. We lost a lot of time trying to comprehend the incomprehensible.

βž– There was room for polish. Throughout the set, the wiring needed housing.

βž• We enjoyed when decor revealed itself to be solvable. In one instance, we revealed a large, intuitive interaction that could collaboratively engage larger teams and newer players.

βž• The mid-game transition sequence was minimal, but elegant.

βž•/βž– We needed to find evidence throughout our stay at Kate’s Motel. We appreciated that there was a purpose to collecting it all. That said, the culminating interaction was a bit too ambiguous, and overall more frustrating than fun. There was opportunity for a more exciting culmination of our mission.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your session with ESCAPE:chandler’s Kate’s Motel, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: ESCAPE:chandler comped our tickets for this game.

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