The Maze – The Sting [Review]

Escape the Escape Room

Location: Petah Tikva, Israel

Date Played: May 15, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 120 NIS per player for 3 players to 100 NIS per player for 6+ players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Crouching and climbing for all players

Emergency Exit Rating: We’re unsure what fire escape measures there were, if any. More Info.

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As soon as I realized the full premise of The Sting, I instantly squealed with glee. A version of this concept has long been on my wish list of escape room themes, yet given its potentially niche appeal to escape room enthusiasts, I’d all but given up hope that it would ever actually exist.

The Sting‘s designer, Gai Bosco, described this room as his “love letter to escape rooms.” I’d have to agree with that sentiment β€” from start to finish, through every detail of the game, it was abundantly clear that The Sting was a heartfelt ode to the escape room industry, to escape room designers, to escape room tropes, and to escape room enthusiasts. It successfully channeled many of the mechanics and emotions that made us fall in love with escape rooms in their many forms.

Inevitably, these meta nuances may only be fully grokked by escape room enthusiasts. But The Sting was thoughtfully designed to be equally playable and enjoyable by newer escape room players. The story and puzzles were straightforward and accessible, occasionally verging on overly simplistic for my taste. The gameplay was greater than the sum of its parts, which would have risked feeling too scattered or random if not for solid narrative justification.

A laser maze in a long, dark, narrow room.

I adored The Sting. Though this game may not have the same effect for all players, I strongly vibed with the story and sense of humor. Moreover, I deeply appreciate The Maze’s willingness to take risks on quirky, uncommon themes across all their rooms. This commitment to experimentation, along with their stellar set builds, establishes The Maze as one of the top escape room companies in Israel.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Adventure seekers
  • Any experience level (but especially escape room enthusiasts)

Why play?

  • The set was eclectic and delightful
  • Uniquely meta premise
  • The puzzles

Story

Our game host escorted us into a side room that was free of cameras and microphones to brief us on our secret mission: to infiltrate the inner depths of the very escape room facility we were in.

A kitchenette in an escape room.

Setting

The Sting was set at The Maze’s escape room facility. To say any more would spoil the story.

Gameplay

The Maze’s The Sting was a meta escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around solving puzzles, searching, and navigating obstacles.

Analysis

βž• Our gamemaster’s intro to the game and our entrance into the game space were delightfully meta.

βž• The set was cleverly integrated into The Maze’s escape room facility, bringing a new layer of narrative meaning to previously traversed common areas.

βž• The puzzles were consistently fun, clearly clued, and on theme. They intentionally utilized recognizable escape room tropes and felt like an homage to classic styles of escape room design.

βž– I didn’t find the puzzles to be as boundary-pushing as The Sting‘s overall concept. With an action-packed yet predictable ending, I found myself expecting there to be some additional layer or twist to the gameplay and/or story.

βž•/βž– A unique physical structure provided a unique pattern of movement through space. Once we figured out how it worked, though, it felt repetitive and could have benefited from some progressive variations.

❓ An interaction with a character was funny but felt slightly incomplete. We were told after the game that this interaction is more fully developed in the original Hebrew version of the game.

Tips For Visiting

  • English playability: Almost everything was translated, with the exception of some written instructions that were required to solve a puzzle.
  • If you are playing multiple rooms at The Maze, I recommend playing The Sting last.
  • A large section of the gameplay was available in parallel. Especially for more experienced teams, I recommend sticking together throughout the game.

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

Disclosure: The Maze provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Update November 15, 2022: To hear more from designer Gai Bosco, check out this interview on The Reality Escape Pod.

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