The Nemesis Club – EVIL Robots [Review]

Kill all humans?

Location:  Phoenix, AZ

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: One person needs a bit of agility.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

If someone told me that EVIL Robots was actually an escape room designed by Pixar, I’d believe it. This feels like it could be their work. From the look to the characters to the storytelling, it’s a really cool game.

Oh, and it’s built around a larger-than-an-adult-human animatronic robot:

A robotic lab with a large red robot, a small robot dog, and a number of other equipment that looks like it could be from the Jetsons.

Animatronics in escape rooms often feel rigid and lifeless, repeating the same movements without intention. However, that was not the case in EVIL Robots. That big robot felt alive, relevant, and actively interacting with us.

Additionally, Nemesis Club had some clever ways to adapt the difficulty of the game on the fly. Even with these affordances, there were a few places where the clue structure could be further refined. There were a few instances where it was a bit confusing as to what the game wanted from us.

Nemesis Club is one of the newer companies to watch in the escape room world, and this was their first game… which is insane. It’s so overwhelmingly strong. If I had to choose just one game from them, of their first two, I’d pick Mogollon Monster (by a hair), but the truth is, if you’re playing one, play both.

Nemesis Club is a company worth traveling to see, and they have more in the works. I cannot wait to see where they take us next.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Robot or 60s sci-fi fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Incredible set design
  • Some great characters
  • Brilliant interactions
  • Challenging puzzles
  • Nemesis Club’s ambiance
  • Milkshakes

Story

While we were on a tour of the Experimental Virtual Intelligence Laboratory, Robots Division, their biggest, strongest, and smartest robot turned evil, with a desire to kill all humans. Could we stop it in time?

Setting

With a mid-century modern-meets Asimov-esque sci-fi-meets cartoon aesthetic, EVIL Robots looked gorgeous… like a Pixar movie brought to life.

There were a lot of details to celebrate, but the true centerpiece was the giant animatronic robot.

A 60s logo for EVIL Robots, atop a similarly 60s science wall paper

Gameplay

The Nemesis Club’s EVIL Robots was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Difficulty stemmed from the high volume of in-game content.

Core gameplay included observing, making connections, solving puzzles, completing challenges, and communicating.

Painting of a large, red, evil robot.

Analysis

βž• Everything in The Nemesis Club looks fantastic, unique, and deliberate: the milkshake shop, The Nemesis Club lobby, and the games themselves. Each space has its own personality. EVIL Robots had a vibrant, exciting set to explore. We loved the 60s futuristic aesthetic.

βž•Β The production quality was top-notch. The set and props were polished. The world felt pristine.

βž• The gameplay was playful. One early puzzle sequence was hilarious… with a joyfully simple aha.

βž– We wanted more from the goodest robot in this game. It seemed like a missed opportunity for another playful sequence.

βž• Then the enormous robot came to life… in a unique sequence that was fun and funny. It was gameplay and story all rolled into one.

βž• The interactions and puzzles were highly varied, relying on different skill sets, and frequently on team cooperation and communication.

βž•/βž– We always enjoy good button-y buttons and switch-y switches, and they fit in well with this world. The dials, on the other hand, tended to lack feedback.

βž•/βž–Β Clue structure for aspects of the final boss battle was presented early, but clearly not in play yet, which we appreciated. Under time pressure, however, we struggled with the unorthodox interaction for this sequence, even though we had a sense of the cluing already, and the action was narratively justified. In the moment, we needed a bit more narrative clarity.

βž• The late game twist – of course there was a twist – was a ton of fun.

βž– In the final challenge, energy dropped quickly. The finicky controls had too much lag and quickly caused frustration as we struggled to finesse an interaction long after the aha. Furthermore, only 2 players could actively participate, so others had to look on as they struggled, or sub in and put the learning curve back to square one.

βž• The Nemesis Club built adaptive difficulty into EVIL Robots such that most teams will get the full experience without realizing if content is skipped over or simplified. This is challenging to do, and The Nemesis Club designed it brilliantly.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is street parking in front.
  • The milkshakes are worth it.

Book your hour with The Nemesis Club’s EVIL Robots, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Nemesis Club comped our tickets for this game.

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