The Key Escape Rooms – The Cabin [Review]

Mmmm flavoring

Location:  Indianapolis, IN

Date Played: September 24, 2022

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $55 per player for teams of 2 to $30 per player for teams of 7

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: all players are enclosed individually in a small, dark space

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Cabin may have one of the most forgettable names in the industry, but let me assure you, this escape room was anything but forgettable. It was one of the most unusual escape rooms we’ve ever experienced.

The Key Escape Rooms dialed up the atmosphere and intensity by playfully messing with us and locking us each in individual dark cells in an extremely dark gamespace. Yet every minute of this introduction was playful… as were our attentive, creative gamemasters who haunted every minute of the experience. In effect, we’d stepped into a haunted house with some puzzles.

The puzzles ranged in quality. Some solved cleanly; others were structurally messy. Our biggest struggle with the gameplay was the lack of gating, which forced an uneven experience. Some teammates got to participate a lot more than others. It was clear that The Key Escape Rooms has been iterating on the gameplay and is striving to bring this up to the level of the atmosphere.

An eerie black wall covered in bones and skulls. A sign with a skull reads, "THE KEY"

We were impressed by the passion and craft at The Key Escape Rooms. We didn’t love every moment of The Cabin, but we were wowed more than once. If you seek something unusual, you’ll embrace darkness and scares, and you can overlook some bumps in gameplay, this escape room might just be your flavor. This whole experience was oddly memorable.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Haunt enthusiasts
  • Any experience level
  • Players looking for novelty
  • Players who can see pretty well in the dark

Why play?

  • Spooky, campy fun
  • The atmosphere
  • It was unlike any other escape room we’ve encountered


We’d run out of gas, but luckily someone had pulled over to help us out. Unfortunately, their “help” wasn’t what we had in mind, and now we had more problems than an empty tank.


The set was dark. We could barely make out enough details to solve some of the puzzles. Although there wasn’t much to see, there was a lot of ambiance to take in. The setting exuded creepy, haunted house vibes.

A pile of bloodied bones and dismembered limbs.


The Key Escape Rooms’ The Cabin was an unusual escape room where each player began locked in an individual cell.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, communicating, and making connections.

There wasn’t a lot of puzzle content, and some of it was redundantly clued. The difficulty was in the atmosphere.

A black hole in a wall with a metal grate, the wall is covered in blood.


➕ Play this escape room for the atmosphere. It was dark and creepy… inside the cells and outside of them.

➕ The gamemastering was phenomenal. Our gamemasters (two of them!) were incredibly engaged and attentive. They added to the haunted atmosphere, making each experience special. They were totally committed to the Magic Circle. They clearly delighted in their craft.

➕ While the set wasn’t much to look at – plus it was too dark to take it in – The Cabin included some fun effects that added to the excitement.

➖ The gameplay didn’t flow well. Some of the puzzles lacked complete clue structure. Others were redundantly clued (in an attempt for struggling teams to have multiple chances at victory!). This was confusing, when we spent time trying to solve something we’d already solved.

➖ We each had to escape our own cell, and then together we had to escape the room these cells were in. This led to uneven experiences. One player escaped within a minute of the game beginning… but the in-character gamemaster haunting the space wouldn’t let her leave her cell and explore further, insisting she had to stay in her cell to help clue another player’s exit. We appreciated this attempt to gate gameplay; however, it was frustrating.

The gating needed to exist within the clue structure of the experience as a whole. The game should have kept interactions inaccessible until the team was ready for them. It quickly became apparent (unfortunately), that those who remained in their cells longest missed pretty much everything that happened outside the cells.

➕ The hint system was unusual. We’d ask a question and receive an answer in knocks (one for yes, two for no). It worked well, and worked within the experience.

➕/➖ We entered blindfolded, in a way that set the mood and tone for the entire experience. We didn’t enjoy being blindfolded and disoriented, but we understand why it was part of the shtick. Plus, we loved a late-game callback to this opener.

➖ The lighting was unnecessarily frustrating. We each had a tiny red thumb light at our disposal, but these were not sufficient. One player who really struggles to see in the dark couldn’t do anything until many other players were freed and came over to her cell to shine as much light as possible.

➖ In addition to the blacklight ink that was part of the clue structure, other set details (or maybe the remnants of set construction) glowed under blacklight. This was misleading.

➕ The marketing 💯 matched the experience.

❓ Everything just felt gross. I don’t think it’s been cleaned… ever. But I don’t think it’s meant to be ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Tips For Visiting

  • The Key Escape Rooms is located behind the Washington Square Mall. The entrance is not in the mall. See the map on their website.
  • They request that players use the restroom elsewhere prior to arriving so as not to break the immersion.
  • Players are expected to wear blindfolds on the way from the entrance to the game (per the website, they are washed and sanitized).
  • They accurately brand themselves “mysterious & somewhat humorous escape room adventures.” The facility is dark and somewhat haunted and also a tad humorous.
  • The individual cells for The Cabin were small and dark. They were held shut with magnets. In the event of an emergency, pushing on the door gently will let you out.

Book your hour with The Key Escape Rooms’ The Cabin, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Key Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

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