Grapevine Escape – FocusTec Labs [Review]

Fix it…if you dare

Location:  Grapevine, TX

Date Played: March 28, 2022

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

FocusTec Labs delivered a well-paced, polished experience that combined classic escape room tropes with some special touches that distinguished it from average experiences.

Enthusiasts will recognize the lab as a common environment, and this room indeed relied on mainstays of that genre. However, the lore around this lab was less typical, and the evolving narrative raised the stakes as the game progressed. A curated, voice-acted hint-and-narration system added both reassurance and intrigue to the experience.

Wide angle view of a lab with man many locked cabinets, lab coats, and lab equipment.

The puzzles were fairly straightforward and well clued. They were at their best when they required interactions with props or served a narrative purpose. Even though they didn’t break new ground, we legitimately had fun collecting quick wins and interacting with the set.

Like the other rooms at Grapevine Escape, FocusTec Labs is a solid, enjoyable play for local enthusiasts and escape-room curious individuals.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Quick, fun dopamine hits for experienced players
  • Generous, friendly, thematic hint system

Story

FocusTec Labs shut down mysteriously, halting production of its mind-altering biotech implants. The chief technology officer had also disappeared, leaving only us trainees to enter the lab and fix the problem, with nothing but a remote assistant’s help to guide us.

Closeup of a few labcoats, cloves, and a facemask.

Setting

To fix FocusTec Labs, we had to explore FocusTec Labs. This was an appropriately stark, scientific environment. Decorations were realistically sparse, which helped us focus on relevant information for our mission.

A green wall covered in black pvc tubing that connects to some larger boxes. There is a big red button and a sign warning about lasers.

Gameplay

Grapevine Escape’s FocusTec Labs was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Puzzles revolved around observation, making connections, and using props to interact with and understand the environment.

Analysis

➕ The puzzles felt at home in this particular lab.

➕ The narrative was ever-present, if not directly tied to many puzzles. It was impossible to ignore the evolution of the story.

➖ There was an abundance of 4-digit locks without clear association to the relevant codes. This didn’t significantly distract from the game because the puzzles gave clear codes to try somewhere, but tighter cluing would solidify the experience.

➕ There was simple but satisfying physicality to several puzzles. We did more than enter codes into locks.

➖ One puzzle seemed like we might have what we needed, but we didn’t. It was easy to waste time in this situation without a clearer indicator that something was missing.

➕ The nature of the gamemastering and feedback mechanisms allowed for occasional “good job!” and “great teamwork!” types of messages, tailored to our unique efforts. Obviously, escape rooms are fun even without this kind of reinforcement, but I was surprised by how much that kind of encouragement buoyed the experience.

➕ We encountered many thoughtful redirections both in-room and via the hint system. It was clear that the creators anticipated our actions and planned to support our success.

➕ The ending was high stakes, and failure was a serious possibility.

❓ Success offered the satisfaction of a job well done, while failure yielded drama. This made sense narratively, but was disappointing from a payoff perspective. We’re human…drama is more exciting.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Grapevine Escape is located on Main Street of Grapevine, TX. You can stroll the street and find many shops and restaurants. For this trip, I enjoyed a Judypie and admired *multiple* window cats.

Book your hour with Grapevine Escape’s FocusTec Labs, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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