Ocean State Escape – Mischievous Elves [Review]

When Santa’s away, the elves will play…

Location: Johnston, RI

Date Played: August 25, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $33 per player, $28 for 4 or more tickets, $20 for children under 13

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

What better way to get away from the scorching heat of summer than to play a Christmas escape room, themed around the antics of Santa’s little helpers? From the very first moments we were immersed in Christmas, from the cozy set to the festive music and the subtle scent of the holidays, Ocean State’s Mischievous Elves was proof that you don’t need high tech or a complicated story to create a fun game.

This year-round experience involved just about every Christmas artifact you can think of, and I was tempted to sit for a while and take in the holiday vibe – but there was no time for that, the clock was ticking!

I was impressed with the quality of puzzles, which used familiar items in surprisingly clever ways. Solutions were straightforward but not too obvious, and more than once we needed to rethink our strategy.  Some of the puzzles involved treasured childhood toys, and we actually called dibs on who took lead to solve those. 

A large chair beside a fireplace decorated for Christmas with stockings, a wreath, elves, and a picture of Santa.

There were quite a few combination locks in the game and it was not always clear which code went with which lock, causing some minor frustration. But memorable moments brought smiles to our faces, and even though it was a hot summer night, we each left with just a bit of Christmas spirit.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players of all ages
  • Fans of everything Christmas

Why play?

  • Cozy, festive set
  • Light hearted Christmas theme
  • Delightful puzzles that touch on childhood fun
  • Unexpected mid-game surprise


Santa’s elves were up to their old tricks. They’d hidden his Naughty & Nice list, and Santa wouldn’t be able to make his Christmas Eve deliveries without it. We needed to follow the clues to find the list, saving Christmas and restoring the spirit of the holiday! 

Closeup of a sign that reads, "Believe in the magic of Christmas" under a wreath.


The escape game began in a cozy space decorated for the holidays, complete with a Christmas tree, fireplace, candy canes, and a tray of gingerbread cookies just waiting for a cup of hot chocolate. Christmas music quietly played in the background to enhance the mood.

A table with a few toys on it. Stools have the names, "Jollybum" and "Hermy."


Ocean State Escape’s Mischievous Elves was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

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


➕ Mischievous Elves was a holiday-themed, family-friendly game that will appeal to both new and experienced players who want to spend an hour surrounded by Christmas.

➕ Clever puzzles were approachable and involved familiar, thematically appropriate items in unexpected ways; they didn’t always lead to the obvious solution.

➕ The use of childhood memorabilia in later puzzles was a highlight, making us feel like kids for a few special moments.

➖ Several puzzle components were similar and unmarked, causing us to try codes in multiple places before finding the right one; better signposting and decoration would help differentiate these items as well as improve their adherence with the overall theme.

➕ One memorable moment, simple in design yet exciting in execution, was our favorite part of the game.

❓ Of note, multiple puzzles involved colors as a main component and were not solvable for players who are colorblind.  

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot

Book your hour with Ocean State Escape’s Mischievous Elves, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Ocean State Escape comped our tickets for this game.

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