60 to Escape – Pirate’s Curse [Review]

I smell a rat

Location: Greendale, WI

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $90 for up to 3 players, $30 for each additional player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Walking over an uneven surface (there is a way around)

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Pirate’s Curse took a puzzle-forward approach to a classic pirate theme. A primary puzzle path guided us into an eerie pirate’s cove… and a set of bonus puzzles offered up the chance to earn some real treasure.

The set was beautiful. The puzzles were consistently fun.

But what I’ll remember most about Pirate’s Curse is a particular pun it made. It made me laugh, I loved how it was presented, and it provided narrative framing for our primary objectives. Yet it left me wanting more, as this delightful moment of whimsy didn’t really extend into the rest of the game, which skewed more serious in tone.

A dungeon with a pirate skeleton hung against it.

If you are visiting 60 to Escape, we found INVASION! to be the clear stand-out. It took the sort of whimsy that I enjoyed in Pirate’s Curse and really ran with it. But if you have the time, Pirate’s Curse packs a ton of puzzling into an alluring environment and is well worth a play.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • The puzzles
  • The puns

Story

We’d sailed into the infamous Dead Man’s Cove. Rumor was that treasure abounded there, if we could just avoid all the curses.

Setting

Pirate’s Curse was set in a pirate hideout. A rich range of wood, stone, and metal textures was cast in moody, cinematic lighting. We started off in an austere jail cell area, alongside a less fortunate skeleton friend. Beyond the cell doors, the rest of the pirate’s cove awaited…

Gameplay

60 to Escape’s Pirate’s Curse was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around solving puzzles, searching, and making connections.

In addition to the primary objective of the game, there was also a bonus track of 5 additional puzzles that were solvable in parallel. Bonus puzzle boxes and certain other items in the room that were used for the bonus puzzles were clearly marked with a specific symbol.

Analysis

➕ The set was attractive and well textured. A transitional space was especially magical.

Pirate’s Curse was full of fun, thematic puzzles, with tactile interactions that were organically rooted in the physical space.

➕/➖ We were introduced to some punny and potentially memorable characters. We wished that these characters and this tone had been more consistently present throughout the game.

➖ There was some room for improvement in the implementation of certain interactions. Some ropes were sticky to pull. It was difficult to see items even when we knew what to look at. An important object was a bit too subtly hidden, at least for our adult-height team.

➕/➖ Five bonus puzzles provided a fun extra boost in content for precocious teams. These puzzles were a small step up in difficulty from the main puzzle sequence, though they were similar in style and polish to the primary puzzles. A symbol clearly marked what was part of a bonus puzzle, and audio cues heard throughout the entire space indicated when a bonus was solved. However, certain bonus puzzles and modern combo locks on boxes looked a bit out of place in the pirate environment. And moments where bonus puzzles interacted with primary puzzles at times convoluted the gating of the main puzzle track.

❓ It was possible to end the game prematurely before finishing all the bonus puzzles if players didn’t wait to put the item they obtained from the main puzzle track in place. While this was clearly explained to us prior to the game, an extra in-game reminder could be a useful in-world aid to many teams.

➕/➖ Completing all the bonus puzzles earned teams a fun piece of treasure. While the prize itself was an attractive souvenir, the in-room presentation of the prize was comparatively anticlimactic.

Tips For Visiting

  • There was a parking lot for the shopping center.
  • If you are attempting to complete the bonus puzzles, remember not to put the final piece in place until you have all the other pieces.

Book your hour with 60 to Escape’s Pirate’s Curse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: 60 to Escape comped our tickets for this game.

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