Amazon Escape – Hansel and Gretel [Review]

Confectionary capture

Location: Holon, Israel

Date Played: May 15, 2022

Team Size: 3-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: 135 NIS per player for 3 players to 115 NIS per player for 6 players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Players must walk through a narrow passage and over an uneven surface (there is a way around)

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

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The concept behind Hansel and Gretel was adorable, delightful, and delicious.

Starting off in a quaint, wood-paneled library, we entered into the story of Hansel and Gretel, through a magical candy forest and into a witch’s sweet abode. Along the way, simple puzzles were intermixed with the construction of some edible (and utterly cute) confections and light actor interactions.

Massive lollypops, and other candies.

However, at the time of playing in May 2022, the set of Hansel and Gretel was in a state of significant disrepair. The library was sparse and looked as though nearly all the books had been checked out. The candy forest, while colorful and attractive from a distance, appeared to have been partially consumed. Large foam-molded props had many visible scuffs and breaks, having been hastily hot glued back together multiple times. The mag-locks on compartments were either weak or falling apart, and it was often difficult to tell whether or not the compartment had actually been opened yet. We repeatedly asked the gamemaster for confirmation before opening almost everything, not wanting to accidentally break sequence.

Our visit fell just a month after Passover, a major holiday during which escape rooms experience a surge in traffic from families. Hansel and Gretel is especially popular amongst families, and when you put a bunch of kids in a brightly colored room full of candy and candy-like objects… well, some damage is bound to happen. That said, the set wasn’t built solidly enough to withstand this sort of expected wear and tear. In particular, applying some sort of hardened exterior to the molded foam could better protect it from this sort of abuse.

There was so much in Hansel and Gretel that I loved, and much more that I wanted to love, but it is hard to recommend in its current form. Amazon Escape was planning a major revamp of the game soon after our visit, upgrading the set, replacing the live-actor interactions, and making some of the puzzles more challenging. I truly hope that these changes restore Hansel and Gretel to its previous glory and future-proof it against players of all ages.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Newbies
  • Families
  • Players with a sweet tooth

Why play?

  • The transition into the story
  • The candy forest
  • The sweet treats

Story

We entered through a magical library into the fictional world of Hansel and Gretel. Following Hansel and Gretel’s escapades there, the witch had been having a hard time. It was up to us to figure out what was up and give her a helping hand.

The inside of a wooden cabin.

Setting

Hansel and Gretel was set in the fairytale world of Hansel and Gretel, as they made their way through the forest to a witch’s cottage made of candy. In this version of the world, the forest itself also consisted of colorful, oversized treats, with a chocolate and candy cane bridge, giant lollipops, and a surfeit of gummy bears.

A bridge made of candy canes.

Gameplay

Amazon Escape’s Hansel and Gretel was a standard escape room with a low-to-moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

βž– The initial library space communicated the opening narrative, but looked notably sparse. It was not as magical as the warm wood-paneled walls suggested it could be.

βž•/❓ A physical transition between spaces was delightful and surprising, embodying the action of entering into a story in a creative way. Part of it required more physical exertion than we were expecting, at least without being physically instructed that multiple people should be involved.

βž• The candy forest was a thing of children’s dreams. Colorful, cartoonish, and fantastical, this space looked delightful from a distance.

βž– Up close, the candy forest showed significant wear. Many parts felt flimsy or unevenly assembled.

βž• Mini culinary interactions reminded me of the Halloween-time craft kits that delighted me back in elementary school. The assembly instructions were clear, reliably producing the cutest little edible creations.

βž– The mag locks in Hansel and Gretel consistently malfunctioned, making it difficult to tell when doors had actually opened up by our own interactions. This particularly undermined one scene with the actor that would have otherwise been rather magical.

βž• An actor prompted a charming creative activity that drew upon the wordsmithing skills of one of my teammates. This interaction was only available in Hebrew, however, and we learned this segment of the game was soon being swapped out to no longer involve an actor.

Tips For Visiting

  • English playability: The game was fully translated into English, with the exception of some actor interactions (which we were informed were soon being removed from the game.)
  • In Hebrew, this room is called “Ami and Tami” (Χ’ΧžΧ™ Χ•ΧͺΧžΧ™). On Amazon Escape’s website, the name is translated as “Henzel and Gretel” in some places. These are all the same game.
  • There is a children’s and families’ version of Hansel and Gretel, available on request.

Book your hour with Amazon Escape’s Hansel and Gretel, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Amazon Escape 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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