Give my regards to King Tut…
Location: Wharton, NJ
Date Played: November 30, 2022
Team Size: up to 8; we recommend 4-5
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $38 per player
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
13th Hour Escape Rooms’ The Gate is different from most of their other escape rooms. The company is known for its horror rooms and its Hayden family, but The Gate does not take place in that universe. Instead, The Gate is a reimplementation of Themescape’s game of the same name, initially reviewed in October 2019. The team at 13th Hour made a series of changes that improved the game in multiple ways and differentiated it enough from the original that a replay would be a mostly separate experience.
While both sections of the set looked well-built and inviting, I found myself unsure of the story and why the two very different elements were blended into the same gamespace. The room itself gave little indication of narrative and purpose, and we noted in our team debrief that we only had knowledge of the curse that needed lifting because it was on our in-game to-do list.
The bulk of the activity centered around the second room, just past the eponymous gate in the first area. And there was a lot of activity. Our team of five was in constant motion split along two paths, reconvening at times to confer about a puzzle, update on progress, or pull together for an anticipated set piece when a puzzle was solved. The ability to keep five enthusiasts busy through the end is an impressive feat. If you’re in the area, you should check it out.
Who is this for?
- Adventure seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Scenery snobs
- Sci-fi fans, especially Stargate
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
- To experience two very different and very detailed sets
- Exciting reveals
- Constant solving
A mysterious door has been discovered and beyond that door lay a terrible curse. We needed to open the door, enter the realm beyond it, and remove the curse.
The Gate began in a futuristic installation that was well-lit and decorated with items and symbols that foreshadowed what lay beyond the gate at the far end of the room. The setting quickly shifted into another world once we opened the gate.
13th Hour’s The Gate was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty. Game play revolved around puzzles, observation, making connections, the opportunity to solve along parallel paths.
➕ 13th Hour had two totally different decoration themes happening in this game. They were distinct, detailed, and well-kept.
➖ The story was a initially unclear unless you’ve read the introduction on the website.
➕/➖ Things just kept happening! There was always something new to explore…but it wasn’t always obvious what effect a solve had. There was always some hunting to do to find what had opened.
➕ 13th Hour took a fairly standard escape room puzzle and amped it up.
➖ One puzzle involved a laser beam that, while being a fun and dramatic interaction, was placed in a manner that felt unsafe and did not turn off when the interaction had ended.
➕ We appreciated one particularly oversized interaction that let multiple people piece together a puzzle.
➕ One reveal took everyone by surprise and led to a very cinematic moment.
Tips For Visiting
- Parking: There is ample parking in the parking lot. Make sure you know which building to go to, as 13th Hour uses multiple buildings on the same property.
- Food: For the classic New Jersey diner experience, we recommend the nearby Townsquare Diner. There are also many options available at the Rockaway Mall, which is less than a five minute drive away.
Book your hour with 13th Hour Escape Rooms’ The Gate, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: 13th Hour Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.