Doors of Divergence – Heresy: 1897 [Review]

Update 10/3/23: If you enjoy Heresy: 1897, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Christian Vernon and Zac MacKrell on The Reality Escape Pod.

Heresy: 1897 is one of the best escape rooms in New York City. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in New York City.

Pick a card, every card

Location:  Brooklyn, NY

Date Played: March 30, 2023

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 90 minutes

Price: Public booking: $65 per person; Private booking starts at $170 for 2 people and goes up to $500 for 8 people

Ticketing: Both Public and Private options available

Game Breakage: Some notable wear on one item that will likely become illegible in time. One lock body was broken and didn’t fully lock closed.

Accessibility Consideration:  None

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The experience of Doors of Divergence was like no other escape room I had ever played, and that was before we even walked through the time portal into Heresy: 1897. The designers wanted to create something unique, memorable, and – ambitiously – replayable. From the moment we entered their magic circle, we were transported: first to an out-of-time functioning bar populated by genuinely entertaining characters and music, and then into the escape room itself.

Wide angle of a cabaret stage in a strange space where time and space are visibly fractured.

Attention must be paid to the pre-show, the spectacle that occurred before we entered the portal to Heresy: 1897 itself. We were immediately immersed thanks to the actors, who provided perhaps the most entertaining and engaging onboarding I’ve ever received. We’ve all heard the rules before and we’ve all heard the quick story synopsis explaining our purpose, but we’ve never seen it done like this or taken such an active role. The characters at Doors of Divergence set the scene and the expectations in a novel and captivating way.

The game itself was a blend of Egyptian archaeology and occult themes. It started off on a very high note that set both the mood and our path forward. But we foundered soon after, searching and finding clues, but struggling to make a connection and a breakthrough. Once we did, the puzzle solving pace picked up and our progress was consistent. Throughout the game, multiple puzzles were available along parallel paths, allowing everyone to be working on something without getting in each other’s way.

The folks at Doors of Divergence have created something special. Heresy: 1897 ticked a lot of important and sometimes rare or unique boxes: a beautiful build, purposeful actors, meaningful choices, and replayability. This is a company worth traveling through both time and space to visit.

An alleyway with clothes drying. In the distance is a damaged coffin.

Who is this for?

  • Players seeking actor interaction
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Bold players
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A new approach to replayability
  • Engaging actors
  • Immersion from the first step into the “lobby”


Our future selves had tasked ourselves with investigating the allegedly heretical experiments of a man named Edmond Cavanaugh. We had to explore his manor looking for evidence of his apparent apostasy.

An illuminated pedestal with an orange sun inlay in the middle of a victorian study. A cloaked and masked figure sits beside a smoldering fireplace.


Heresy: 1897 took place in a Victorian manor brimming with archaeological artifacts, strange machines that blended magic and science, and a growing sense of dread.

Closeup of advertisements and newspaper clippings pinned to a brick wall.


Doors of Divergence’s Heresy: 1897 played like a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty and a focus on puzzling and making connections. There was also a heavy dependency on making (lasting and impactful) choices and interacting with actors both in the escape room and outside of it.

Closeup of a damaged coffin. A large hole has been punched into it and the coffin is empty.


➕ Heresy: 1897 showcased fantastic actor interactions, including dramatic lighting effects and clever use of the audio system.

➖ We were explicitly told to ignore some items based on choices we had made. This was more difficult to do than we would have liked, especially the multiple different symbol sets throughout the space.

➕ Choices actually mattered, and we were rewarded in the end with a way of remembering and reviewing the decisions to guide future playthroughs.

❓ Multiple justifiable and intriguing paths means multiple playthroughs to see all of the content – and we want to see everything this game has to offer.

➕ No in-room timer helped keep us immersed and not clock watching. Between an audio cue and actor intervention, we had a rough idea of how much time remained.

➖ Heresy: 1897 was a little harder than it needed to be, especially the early game. We would have liked to see some early quicker wins to build trust with the designers.

➕ / ➖ Our actor played their role with conviction and was hard to trust fully, acting as both an adversary and an collaborator depending on their character’s need.

💵 This is an expensive room even for the New York City market, but we found it to be worth the price of admission.

➕ After the game ended, the projectors display end credits. Our actors were wonderful and deserved recognition.

Tips For Visiting

  • Doors of Divergence is located within Future Proof HQ.
  • Take the subway to Grand Street or Montrose L line stops.
  • There is limited street parking available.

Book your ninety minutes with Doors of Divergence’s Heresy: 1897, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Doors of Divergence comped our tickets for this game.


  1. This room sounds incredible, and it seems like their second room will start differently depending on how you solved Heresy… Did you try the second room at Doors? Can’t wait to go to NYC and play this!

    1. All true! Heresy was an extremely memorable room and your decisions influence their second room, Madness: 1917. We played Madness right after Heresy. Check back for that review very soon! Let us know when you’re in town if you need recommendations.

  2. NIce! I’m going to have to check this one out. Sounds like a mix of a LARP and escape room.

    1. It’s definitely worth checking out, and it had some of the best actor interactions I’ve experienced in an escape room. Enjoy!

  3. Just tried this tonight GREAT recommendation. Most fun I’ve had at a room in a while! Thank you! Can’t wait to try the second room.

    1. So glad that you enjoyed. Some folks from our team went and played both games twice in a day and absolutely loved it.

      We are going to have to go back and play again.

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