International Escape Room AZ – Gravitational Effect [Review]

Beam it up blacklight

Location:  Gilbert, AZ

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least 3 players need to have moderate agility

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Gravitational Effect was a straightforward, beginner-friendly escape room (one of the few that we found in the challenging Phoenix escape room scene).

With a janky blacklight aesthetic that was supposed to feel alien, but felt far too handmade to feel otherworldly… it wasn’t the most impressive looking game, but it was playful and fun.

Blacklight illuminated wall with hand painted UV paint, and an assortment of boxes. They come together in a pattern that looks like circuitry.

Additionally, there was a reasonably challenging laser maze, demanding the kind of agility challenge that you either love or hate. Enough of our team enjoyed it to make it work. I’d also caution everyone to be a bit careful with the laser maze, as the green lasers seem a bit too powerful. Please do not look into the emitters.

This was the kind of classic escape room design that I still get a kick out of. Not everyone on my team felt the same way, or understood why. If you’re new to escape rooms and agile enough to move through a laser maze, or looking for a quick, classic-style escape game, check out Gravitational Effect.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Newbies

Why play?

  • Blacklight lighting is fun
  • You like a good laser maze

Story

While out stargazing, we found ourselves bathed in a blinding white light. When our awareness returned, we found ourselves in an otherworldly room.

A green laser maze in the darkness.

Setting

Gravitational Effect was largely lit in blacklight, and had a very handmade aesthetic. Most of the environment was made from found objects, and the world was largely hand-painted with fluorescent paint.

The alien effect that International Escape Room AZ was going for was cool, albeit a little undermined by how janky and human it felt.

Gameplay

International Escape Room AZ’s Gravitational Effect was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, making connections, puzzling, and a bit of agility.

Analysis

βž• When the game began, and revealed a set lit entirely in blacklight, it was pretty neat. It was an impactful opening moment.

βž– Upon further observation, it was hard to take the set seriously. We could see the seams (literally). It felt janky and homemade. Cluing was handwritten. Components were taped on.

βž•Β Gravitational Effect included a fair and fun laser maze challenge. It was difficult, but doable. Plus, the lasers were visually clear.

βž– As noted above, green laser at eye level can be dangerous.

βž•Β The three gamespaces felt distinct because their gameplay styles differed pretty dramatically. We appreciated the variety in play, even with an overall similar aesthetic.

βž• Early on, we found a surprising satisfying aha hidden in plain sight.

βž– The scale of the interactions often felt at odds with the grand design aesthetic. Many props were quite small. On a large game surface, the only relevant information was displayed in a small window.

βž• International Escape Room AZ put a fun twist on an extraction, after we thought we had ID’d it.

βž– The AR implementation was frustrating to use and didn’t augment the gameplay.

❓ Gravitational Effect required substantial searching in a dark gamespace. Consider yourself forewarned.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with International Escape Room AZ’s Gravitational Effect, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: International Escape Room AZ provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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