Location: Hawthorne, NJ
Date Played: May 25, 2023
Team size: up to 6; we recommend 2-4
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $39.95 per player
Accessibility Consideration: This game is on the second floor of the building.
Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock
Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints
Once upon a time, The Other Tales established itself as a charming local favorite in Northern New Jersey. We’ve brought friends, neighbors, and family to The Other Tales. It’s the perfect place to take locals for their first escape room. And it’s special enough that experienced players will find much to appreciate as well.
In their latest game Once Upon A Winter, they’ve continued to elevate their world. They’ve added more details into their set and props. They’ve continued in their tradition of making fun, beautifully clued, thematic puzzles. They are reaching for more with this game, integrating story through a literal storybook that fits perfectly with the theme. There was room to continue to develop the characters.
The creators at The Other Tales are among the handful companies that make beautiful, thoughtful, impressive escape rooms on a small budget. Their work is proof that it doesn’t need to be big to be special.
This wintery theme would be perfect for Christmas break, or really any time of year. If you miss winter, go now, in July!
Who is this for?
- Story seekers
- Puzzle lovers
- Fairy tale fans
- Any experience level
- Germanic fairytale world
- Strong puzzle design
- Charming story-telling structure
We’d stepped into a fairy tale. Deep in an enchanted forest, in a magical cabin, Mother Winter needed our help to initiate the winter season.
We were in a fairy tale-inspired log cabin with tudor-style wall detailing. It had a hearth in one corner. The furniture, props, and decor were appropriately quaint and charming.
The Other Tales’ Once Upon A Winter was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, solving puzzles, and completing our own fairy tale.
➕ The Other Tales made it feel like we’d entered a fairy tale. The wall detailing, in particular, did a lot for the magical cabin atmosphere. Additionally, with each solve, we received another page in our story book that we could read and listen to. It was never too much text, but it gave us direction while also connecting the puzzles to our goal of initiating the winter season in a fairy-tale manner.
➖ We wanted more from some of the characters. We were excited by the staging and the goal, but we didn’t feel particularly connected to the characters.
➕ The Other Tales packed a lot of gameplay into a small space, using every inch of it well.
➕ With the small set, we appreciated the central table that served as a work station. We could lay out relevant items where everyone could see and participate.
➕ The gameplay flowed well. This was due to strong cluing and excellent lock mapping. We quickly identified which objects were related and what they would unlock.
➕ Although some puzzles used tech, we particularly enjoyed the puzzles where the extraction was its own aha, or its own Christmas morning gift.
➖ Some of the handmade props lacked finesse. In one instance, the material didn’t adequately capture the perfection of the item. In another instance, the material had distorted over time, making a cool puzzle more frustrating than it needed to be.
➕ The feedback was magical. Each time we solved a puzzle, the light and sound changed, making it into an event. It was invigorating.
Tips For Visiting
- There is a parking lot.
Book your hour with The Other Tales’ Once Upon A Winter, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: The Other Tales comped our tickets for this game.