Great Escape of Central Texas – The Cellar [Review]

Hold onto your heads

Location:  Killeen, TX

Date Played: July 6, 2023

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration:  N/A

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [B] Mechanical Release

REA Reaction

To someone (like me!) who hasn’t played many horror rooms, The Cellar may well serve as a gateway to the genre. Reservedly gruesome, pretendingly dangerous, and well-executed throughout, this room encouraged me to consider what might be fun about being scared without pushing me too far. It was my favorite of the six games I played at Great Escape of Central Texas (as of July 2023), and my whole mixed-experience team had a blast.

An assortment of dusty power meters on the wall of a dingy cellar. In the distance skulls and candles rest on a shelf.

It’s hard to pinpoint the room’s best feature because all of its elements formed a coherent whole. The basement scenario was full of realistic props and set pieces, but it was always clear what was in play. The puzzles made good use of these props rather than relying only on locks and codes, making us feel like we were realistically manipulating our environment to escape our predicament. On top of that, the game flow was impeccable, incorporating enough structure to guide our focus without undermining our sense of figuring things out for ourselves. It was clear from early in the game what we would get to interact with and why it was blocked. This effectively built anticipation toward when we would “unlock” each of these experiences and sustained the momentum throughout the game.

The highlights of this room were actions that we would never do in real life but were offered as absurd tasks in this creepy world. This is a tricky balance for horror-themed rooms: to mimic questionable activities while conveying the safety of a controlled environment. Overall, The Cellar executed this well, leading to lots of nervous laughter and fun moments to retell later. There was only one puzzle that bordered on too realistic. We approve of its existence; it was clever and thematically appropriate. We just wanted it to be slightly clearer that we weren’t going to hurt ourselves.

Overall, the Cellar incorporated all the fundamentals of a fun escape room: a motivating goal, an immersive space, interesting puzzles, evocative interactions, and the necessary guideposts to hold it all together. For me, it was on par with the best rooms in the nearby Austin market. If you can tolerate horror rooms, plan your trip to Killeen around this one.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Horror fans
  • Any experience level
  • Ages 13+

Why play?

  • To experience some simple scary thrills. It required us to do some ridiculous things that we’re still laughing about.
  • To share escape room fun with a mixed-experience group. It has something for everyone!
  • To enhance your Halloween season. It’s not scarier than a haunted house, but it’s a richer experience.
  • To complete your day-trip to Great Escape of Central Texas. This was our favorite game there.


Clyde, the local serial killer, had locked us in his basement and was finishing up some housekeeping tasks before finishing us off. Our only hope was to hack our way out of our imprisonment, find a knife, and fight our way to freedom.

A high voltage electric panel beside a furnace.


We found ourselves split into two groups and shackled within a dark, dangerous basement. The space was filled with all the appliances and tools one might attribute to any respectable serial killer… as well as the expected by-products.

Aside from the general subject matter, we didn’t find this room to be excessively scary or gruesome. There were a few angst-inducing moments, some cartoonish body parts, and constant reminders that we were going to die, but it was still easy to laugh throughout.

Bloodied knives and bones on a butcher block in a dark cellar.


Great Escape of Central Texas’s The Cellar was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Gameplay consisted of observing, connecting, communicating, and interacting with the environment.


➕ The game had excellent flow and structure. Newer players on our team found this to be critical to the experience, and everyone admired the pacing and signposting.

➕ Many of the puzzles involved satisfying prop interactions.

➕ The cuing was on point, making it clear when something new was available and where to look for it.

➖ The experience included several audio interludes intended to increase the suspense, but they were sometimes difficult to hear or understand. We grasped the significance – be scared! – but the details were lost on us.

➕/➖ Several “dangerous” scenarios in the setting fit the theme well and evoked nervous yet eager laughter. Indeed, these were our favorite parts of the game. That said, one seemed almost too realistic to be safe, giving us pause before trying it.

➖ The only scenery faux pax was the repeated use of colored buttons to clue puzzles. This was effective from a practical perspective, but it didn’t make sense within the space.

➕ The experience was well-designed for collaboration and offered enough interesting interactions to allow plenty of turn-taking among the highlights.

➕ The final sequence was climactic and well-staged to maximize anticipation. While there might have been scarier ways to present it, the room was consistent with its overall scare factor through the end.

Tips For Visiting

  • There was plenty of parking right outside of Great Escape of Central Texas.
  • We’ve happily eaten at Arepitas and Bobby Lupo’s Pizzeria in Killeen.

Book your hour with Great Escape of Central Texas’s The Cellar, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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