The Escape Game – The Depths [Review]

Game #1,000 🤯

Location: East Rutherford, NJ

Date Played: May 23, 2022

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $42.99 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Depths was my 1,000th escape room… and I know that this must be a crazy thing to read, because it’s pretty strange to write. Over the past 8 years I’ve had a front row seat to a rapidly developing and evolving industry that has branched into so many interesting directions.

Over the course of my career as a player and critic, The Escape Game emerged as the standout escape room chain. Their ability to produce and maintain a quality product has allowed them to attract an audience of both new and experienced players… a rare feat. Players who are in the know are aware that escape room chains are not usually where you want to spend your time or money… but game after game, The Escape Game continues to show that they refuse to jump the shark. Speaking of which, let’s talk about The Depths.

Wide angle view of a submarine, it's long and narrow, and featuring a control panel, lockers, and a big metal door.

The Escape Game’s new submarine adventure presented a clean and refined experience, both in terms of aesthetics and game design. Everything looked and felt solid.

We had some gripes with lighting in the second act, and the final puzzle felt under-developed… but then we learned that a new ending had already been created for this game, so I get the impression that this issue is already resolved or will be soon. We’ll update when we get the chance to replay it.

Overall, The Depths was a great escape room that didn’t take many risks. It’s enjoyable for established players, and it would be a fantastic game to take newbies to… which I plan to do. If you’re near an Escape Game location, it’s always worth checking out which games they are offering. If they have The Depths on the docket, I’d recommend booking it.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fans of nautical nonsense
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Beautiful, clean set design
  • Fun and fair puzzles
  • Well-executed effects

Story

The brilliant Dr. Humphreys had gone missing and we had been sent via submarine to investigate their deep sea laboratory.

Glowing green locked indicator beside an unlit unlocked indicator.

Setting

The Depths was staged in a pristine steel submarine environment. Everything in the opening act had a clean and bright look to it that sort of defied time. There were elements that looked like they were from the 40s, other from the 60s, and some modern touches. The confluence of styles felt unique and came together well.

A locker set in a submarine.

Gameplay

The Escape Game’s The Depths was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Blue and yellow submarine control panels includes dial switches, keypad, indicator lights, and gauges.

Analysis

➕ The Depths looked good and played well. These are basics we’ve come to expect from The Escape Game, but are nonetheless important to callout. Our 1000th escape room was a smooth playthrough, and not just because we’ve done this 1000 times; the Escape Game delivered with strong clue structure and feedback.

➕ Our objectives were always clear. They changed throughout the game, but we always knew how to orient ourselves and never veered off course.

➖/➕ One collection of puzzle pieces seemed a little too beat up in an otherwise pristinely maintained game world.

➕ We especially enjoyed one layered puzzle that mapped props across spaces, and required coordinated communication. We also appreciated a clever dexterity challenge. The standout puzzles were varied in style.

➖ The second set was unnecessarily dim. While we recognize why this lighting was necessary, dramatic spotlighting would eliminate the need for flashlights, and improve the player experience in this segment.

➕ The effects elevated the experience. Sound, in particular, enhanced one reveal.

➕We always enjoy a well-hidden door.

➖ The last sequence fell flat. A slow pace and low stakes deflated energy and excitement. We were bored throughout the segment. While an easy puzzle can deliver a dramatic finale, this one lacked the theatricality required to pull it off. Shortly after we played, we learned that a new ending will be installed soon… so we’ll update when we revisit.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking: There is a large parking lot for the mall.

Book your hour with The Escape Game’s The Depths, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Escape Game comped our tickets for this game.

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