The Escape Ventures – Neighborhood Watcher [Review]

Stranger danger.

Location:  Orlando, FL

Date Played:  November 17, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price:  $42.99 per player

Ticketing:  Private

Accessibility Consideration:  There are stairs, and at least one player needs to crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Escape Ventures puts a lot of thought into both story and set design in their games, and Neighborhood Watcher was no exception. Though I would consider this a horror-themed game, it was more creepy than scary. 

The set design was unusual, making the most of available space to create an interesting layout that felt very much like your childhood best friend’s rec room. The props were fun to interact with, though we did have a minor issue with a small piece of set that was not firmly attached. 

Puzzles were fun and intuitive, with several that brought out my inner middle-schooler who just wanted to hang out and play and maybe have a snack. The story was always front and center, and while the puzzles weren’t overly complex, they deftly drove the narrative throughout the experience. In fact, game flow was so smooth that we never actually needed a hint; however, the hint system was unusual and integrated so seamlessly that I wanted to ask for help just to experience it. 

A couch and a basketball hoop laundry hamper in a wood-paneled 80s room.

There was an actor in the room for a small but meaningful part of the game, and it was this interaction that heightened our experience and made it fun and engaging right from the start. If you are in Orlando, Escape Ventures should be on your list of venues to visit, and while there, make sure to play Neighborhood Watcher

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Creative, immersive set
  • Fun, intuitive puzzles
  • In room actor that adds just the right level of creepy

Story

We had been invited to spend the night at a friend’s house while our parents joined the neighborhood search for a missing kid. Did he simply run away, or was something more sinister going on?

Setting

Designed to look like a rec room, the set made creative use of the space. There were posters on the walls, a comfy couch, tv, and various toys and games just waiting for us.

A wood-paneled attic room in an 80s house. The walls have band posters.

Gameplay

Escape Ventures’ Neighborhood Watcher was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Set design was unique and creative, with an excellent use of space that allowed for separate and distinct areas that made sense with the narrative. (Note that all players will need to negotiate stairs.)

➕ Some players do not like in-room actors as they can intensify the experience beyond a player’s comfort level. However in this game, the actor was only in the room early on and significantly added to the experience without being scary. Our interactions with the actor were a definite highlight. Additionally, the gamemaster talked to us about this before the game and would have made adjustments if needed.

➖ At the start, we were warned we would have to do something unexpected and told it was ok to do so. Unfortunately, this broad statement left a lot to interpretation, and we actually pulled on a loose set piece, thinking that was ‘the thing’. It was not. Luckily it was easily fixed.

➕ Puzzles blended well with the narrative and were fun to solve. While there were some standard escape room puzzle styles, we were delighted by unique twists in a number of them. Most were approachable and we always knew what we needed to do. A few unusual puzzles and surprises made us laugh out loud; this would be a good escape room for both newbies and experienced players who like a strong storyline.

➕ The hint system was immersive and unusual and is worth trying at least once.

➖ Most of the puzzles involved locks and codes. While this did not affect the overall gameplay, there was an opportunity to add tech for certain puzzles that would provide a few surprises for the player.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape Ventures’ Neighborhood Watcher, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: