Escape City Buffalo – The Hangover [Review]

Assemble your Wolfpack

Location: Tonawanda, New York

Date Played: April 30, 2022

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: ages 18 & up; let your gamemaster know if you are uncomfortable with motion

Emergency Exit Rating: For most of the game, and most players, this is [A+] No Lock. However, for a portion of the game, some players experience [F] No Emergency Exit

Physical Restraints: For one player, a portion of the game is [F] No Emergency Release

REA Reaction

The Hangover wasn’t shy. It was an openly juvenile and utterly ridiculous experience.

A tower of empty beer bottles with a bra hanging from it.

The set was a gorgeous mess. Any direction we looked had multiple things going on that would make us chuckle. Through extensive and artful application of epoxy, Escape City Buffalo pulled off the miraculous feat of producing a cluttered and chaotic set that didn’t feel like a nightmare to puzzle in.

It felt like Escape City Buffalo built this nutty and amazing set before they’d figure out all of the gameplay. Maybe they had the main ideas, but not the details. The majority of the gameplay seemed bolted on top of the set and held together by weak clue structure, aided by hints. It was a fun game, but it did feel like there were lots of opportunities to better integrate the environment into the gameplay.

And when Escape City Buffalo did blend the set with the puzzles, tasks, and challenges… they did some incredible things. This was especially evident in some genius late-game scenes.

Escape City Buffalo has long been the place to play in Western New York, and The Hangover lived up to this company’s past games, and in some ways exceeded them. If you’re in the region, be sure to check this one out.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Ridiculous and fun environment
  • Delightfully silly interactions
  • Clever climax

Story

After a wild night in Las Vegas, we’d woken up in a wrecked hotel room with no memory of the previous night and a significant debt to the Russian Mafia that we had an hour to repay.

A fancy tile and marble bath that is a mess from a party, liquor and beer bottles, a bra, anda. statue of Caesar with lipstick and mask are strewn about.

Setting

The Hangover was set in a bonkers recreation of a Caesars Palace suite wrecked by a raging night of partying. The suite came complete with video windows of the Las Vegas strip and the Bellagio Fountain.

It’s hard to imagine an escape room set doing a better job of capturing The Hangover Las Vegas rager aesthetic.

A livingroom in a Caesar's Palace hotel suite overlooking the Bellagio fountain, the room is covered in empty bottles and looks ransacked.

Gameplay

Escape City Buffalo’s The Hangover was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty and an adult theme.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and interacting with hilarious props.

A bar in a hotel room covered in empty bottles, a roman legion sword and helmet, and the rest of the room looks ransacked.

Analysis

βž• The theming was outrageous and Escape City Buffalo nailed it. The Hangover was an escape game built around juvenile humor. The game consisted of a series of dumb aha moments… that felt entirely appropriate in this context. Go in with the right mindset and it will be delightful.

βž• The set was ridiculous. It seriously looked like a hotel suite after a giant party. It was messy by design, and elaborately so. Furthermore, the props were well epoxied so as to create ambiance without impeding gameplay.

βž•/βž– The split-team start was initially exciting, adding to the stakes of the experience. In practice, however, it stalled momentum. There was only one action available that would get the game moving. The net effect was a couple of players waited patiently without anything to do or even to explore.

βž–Β Throughout The Hangover, our progress felt slow. In part, this was because puzzles lacked feedback. When we solved something, it wasn’t always clear what we’d gained. Additionally, we needed to find items, but they didn’t provide any forward progress when found.

βž– Many of the puzzles were clued off a TV screen. This felt lazy. We would have liked to see more of the clue structure within the set itself.

βž• Escape City Buffalo struck gold with a dexterity puzzle that required communication and a sharp aha.

βž– One large set piece felt like a ghost puzzle, as if it had been drained of its intended purpose. Another set piece was incorporated to the perfect degree, but then failed to respond appropriately.

βž– We recommend changing one interaction to play on speaker phone so that the entire team can appreciate the (hilarious!) script and not leave teammates feeling like they’d missed out.

βž• The penultimate sequence surprised us and added intensity to the finale. It was a brilliant conclusion.

βž–For a brief segment early in the game, it wasn’t clear to us if there were appropriate emergency releases or how they would operate.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape City Buffalo’s The Hangover, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape City Buffalo provided media discounted tickets for this game.

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