Escapology Austin – Star Trek: Quantum Filament [Review]

There’s been a polarity shift in the antimatter containment system…

Location: Round Rock, TX

Date Played: May 13, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $38.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are flashing lights in this room.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

This room was defined not only by its strong execution of the Star Trek theme but also by the palpable intensity it developed through its story, set, and the difficulty of its puzzles.

Star Trek fans (and Discovery aficionados in particular) will recognize characters, voices, iconography, and ambiance in this room. It leaned into the pseudo-scientific, technological nature of Star Trek, speaking more to the geeky side of the series than to any of its specifically memorable situations or tasks. Most of the sense of adventure came from a couple of appropriately jarring and intense sequences. The rest of the game was a marathon of dense puzzles.

As a puzzling experience, the room was challenging in ways that suited the theme well but won’t appeal to everyone. Most puzzles involved 1) multiple levels of converting information into different forms, 2) interpreting and/ or entering many alphanumeric codes, 3) executing the solution process 6-8 times, and 4) no intermediate feedback. Combinatorially, then, the opportunity for error was staggering. On top of this, somehow none of the touchscreen keypads offered a backspace key. Come on, 23rd century technology!

A science lab on a star ship.
Image via Escapology

However, the strength of this particular design was that each puzzle benefited significantly from coordination among team members, usually enabling all four of us to contribute simultaneously. We all kept busy and felt like we played a significant role in saving the ship.

Ultimately, as a band of casual-to-mid-level Trekkies, we enjoyed role-playing on a convincing starship set and felt that our victory was hard-won. This was one of Escapology’s best games and is worth checking out if you have one in town.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Star Trek fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • For the legit Star Trek ambiance
  • For plenty of opportunities to self-organize and cooperate

Story

While we were analyzing the “ancient” Discovery starship, the ship was hit by a quantum filament, trapping us in a turbolift. We had to escape the turbolift, enable communications with the crew, and repair the antimatter containment field.

The story progressed in this game via communication with a handful of characters from the Discovery Star Trek series. Even though the substance of these messages was immaterial to gameplay, they were a fun thematic touch that fans should appreciate.

Setting

We spent the game aboard an impressive rendition of the starship Discovery. The Star Trek ambiance was pervasive, complete with sliding doors, dense schematics, futuristic paneling, and touch screens galore. Even the fonts screamed “Star Trek.” Other effects in the room contributed a realistic sense of urgency to the situation.

A hallway on a starship.
Image via Escapology

Gameplay

Escapology Austin’s Star Trek – Quantum Filament was a standard escape room with a fairly high level of difficulty.

Puzzling required close attention to the environment, pattern-matching and decoding, painstaking care in execution, and multiplayer coordination.

Analysis

➕ The set was on point. We not only felt like we had boarded a Star Trek starship, but we could also feel the gravity of the situation. Lights, sounds, and other effects convincingly communicated the intensity of our mission.

➖ We are fairly confident that one display failed to update with critical information early in the game, and none of the hints helped us recognize this issue.

➕ One particularly engaging puzzle was framed in an intense and compelling way. It focused our attention on a believable task, and the clues and solution process served the task well.

➖ Many puzzles had a belabored execution phase that introduced huge opportunity for error with little support for troubleshooting.

➕/➖ There were touchscreens EVERYWHERE. These absolutely needed to exist to complete the Star Trek aesthetic. However, they added an unintentional element of difficulty to the experience. Sometimes they did not accept inputs responsively. Other times they accepted inputs too responsively.

➕/➖ An abundance of schematic, flowchart-type information was delivered via display screens that updated throughout the experience. The dynamic nature of these screens was true to the theme, but it was also incredibly easy to overlook the changes given the narrow color scheme and similarity of the information being presented.

➕/➖ Almost every puzzle involved interpreting or entering a lengthy series of numbers and letters. True to Star Trek! Tedious for puzzling.

➕ This room included a well-themed progress indicator. I love progress indicators and find them especially valuable in intense, dense rooms like this one.

➕ Although the game flow was linear, each puzzle benefited from multiple participants and felt good to solve together. All four of us stayed busy throughout the game. 

❓ As a room built around licensed IP with an extensive fan base, this experience may attract fans who would be quite overwhelmed at its complexities. Unlike Escapology’s Scooby Doo room, which catered to escape room novices as a way of serving its broader fan base, this room demanded escape room skill.

➕ This was one of those rooms that begged for a costume. Many thanks to our friends for making it happen!

Team photo with Sarah and her team dressed as Star Trek crew.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is plenty of parking.

Book your hour with Escapology Austin’s Star Trek – Quantum Filament, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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