Escapism – Do Not Disturb [Review]

Do Not Disturb

Creepy dolls & good flow.

Location:  Southington, Connecticut

Date Played:  December 17, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

It’s great to see a new company come out of the gate with a strong game. Escapism gets escape rooms, and we’re incredibly excited to see where they take their designs.

Do Not Disturb was a fantastic game for less experienced players. It was well designed with strong puzzle flow.

If you’re an experienced player, there was something to enjoy in Do Not Disturb, but it wasn’t a must-play.

If you’re new to escape rooms, this would be a wonderful place to start.

In-game: closeup of a creepy doll.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • An elegant set
  • A great hint system
  • Smart puzzles

Story

Our team of private investigators was called to investigate an abandoned and allegedly haunted apartment. It was up to us to determine the fate of its tenant.

In-game: View through the door of Do Not Disturb into a studio apartment with a creepy doll sitting on a table in the middle of the room.

Setting

We “broke into” a small, grandmotherly apartment with a cohesive aesthetic. It wasn’t a fancy setting, but it looked and smelled right.

In-game: a small table two two unusual wooden locked boxes.

Gameplay

Escapism’s Do Not Disturb was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: An old apartment bedroom's dresser. There are metal boxes with wires running from them.

Analysis

➕ The set looked homey, but slightly creepy. It had a gentle, welcoming aesthetic with just the slightest edge.

➕ Escapism’s set design included visual, auditory, and olfactory ambiance. These extra details added a lot to the experience.

Do Not Disturb had a stellar entry for onboarding escape room newbies.

➕ The puzzles flowed well. Escapism even augmented a few puzzles so that experienced players wouldn’t accidentally (or purposely) bypass parts of the game. It worked well.

➖ One puzzle could easily become overwhelming depending on the order the players connect various in-game elements. In part, the ambiance contributed to potential sensory overload. This puzzle could benefit from either more gating and/or stronger cluing.

➕ The hint system was designed specifically for Do Not Disturb. This detail added to the overall experience. We didn’t use any hints… but Escapism clearly knew how cool the system was and worked it into our game nonetheless.

➖ Escapism mixed locks with tech-driven opens, but too often the tech was too visible. If they can build housing around the tech and hide it in the decor, it’s effects would be far more effective.

➕Escapism had a beautiful, spacious lobby. Leave yourself a few extra minutes to hang out.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We recommend Tavern 42 for BBQ nearby.
  • Leave some time to hang out in Escapism’s gorgeous lobby.

Book your hour with Escapism’s Do Not Disturb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escapism comped our tickets for this game.

Our Editorial for Escape Front

With the start of a new year, we reflected on the opportunities and cautions we see in the escape room industry in a guest post for Escape Front.

Escape Front's antique warded key logo.

Discussion Topics

We discussed safety, first and foremost. Safety is on our minds right now, in the wake of the tragedy in Poland and will be a feature in Room Escape Artist reviews in 2019.

We also discussed the following topics that we see as essential to the growth of this industry in 2019:

  • the evolving definition of “escape room”
  • the importance of community
  • the uptick in escape room closures
  • how to design and build for success
  • new avenues for theming
  • why we love collaborations

We’ll likely unpack some of these concepts more at Room Escape Artist as the year goes on.

Thank you to Escape Front for the opportunity to contribute Escape Rooms in 2019: Opportunities & Cautions.

Lisa Live on BBC 5 Discussing Escape Rooms & Poland

Earlier this week, David wrote about his appearance on live tv.

If that morning weren’t crazy enough, a few hours after his tv appearance, a radio producer from the BBC 5 Live emailed us. So David left the sound studio (minus the camera) set up on our table, waiting for me to take it over that evening.

Then it was my turn:

Thank you to Chris Dickson for finding this recording for us. (My parents also appreciate it.)

The radio host from the BBC 5 Live asked many of the same questions as the host from EURONEWS NOW… but with a different tone.

A blue yeti microphone surrounded by a sound absorbing shield.

David and I have more experience with radio than with tv. That said, this was my first live recording experience, which was intense, especially in the wake of a tragedy. It was a lot of pressure knowing that whatever I said would inform someone’s opinion of escape rooms.

It might not have been a lot of people’s opinions… it was live at 1:30am for the folks listening. But then again, the folks listening in the wee hours are probably really listening, right?

Trapology – Crush Depth [Review]

Crushed it.

Location:  Boston, Massachusetts

Date Played:  December 15, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit: Yes

REA Reaction

Crush Depth was a great escape room.

It had an intense, detailed, and imposing aesthetic. The puzzles were meaty and entertaining. The story put an atypical twist on a fairly common concept.

While we encountered a bit of ambiguity with puzzle sequencing, and it was occasionally difficult to find what we were supposed to do among the various set details, it still played really well.

We wholeheartedly recommend it for players who are nearby and have a bit of escape room experience.

In-game: overhead shot of a the bunks in the submarine.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Submarine aesthetic
  • Unorthodox story choice
  • Strong puzzles

Story

While we were serving aboard a submarine, the spirit of the boat’s former captain assumed control, and in a final vengeful act, set a course for crush depth. We had to banish the angry spirit and retake control of the submarine before we all received a gruesome physics lesson.

In-game: an axe hanging over a porthole.

Setting

Crush Depth was an aesthetically gorgeous game, among the most beautiful that we’ve seen in the region.

The submarine set was detailed and weathered. It felt right. There was a lot to look at.

Additionally, the layout felt correct. The entire game took place in a narrow series of rooms.

In-game: wide angle of a the bunks in the submarine.

Gameplay

Trapology’s Crush Depth was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: closeup of a high voltage electrical box.

Analysis

➕ Trapology turned a few rooms of their downtown Boston office building space into a submarine. The set design looked great.

➖ Although the set looked great, not all of the puzzle components were on the same level. Trapology relied on laminated paper for some clue structure.

➖ The submarine set contained interesting knobs, dials, and gadgets. It wasn’t entirely apparent which were in play and which were decor.

In-game: closeup of a axe-head.

➕ We’ve escaped a lot of submarines, but this was the first one that was haunted by a vengeful ghost captain. Trapology twisted two themes together to create something new and exciting. (Note, Crush Depth is not a horror game.)

In-game: closeup of a small metal step.

➕ Crush Depth was a puzzle-focused escape room with many excellent solves. We always had something interesting to work on.

➖ We encountered one clunky mid-game sequence. Some of the cluing felt a bit out of order.

In-game: A shower-head in a small stall.

➖/➕We couldn’t always tell when we’d triggered an open. Trapology could add lighting or sound cues to make tech-driven opens pop. That said, our attentive gamemaster directed us to anything we’d opened without realizing it.

➕ The final sequence of interactions was massive, tangible, and so satisfying. The conclusion was explosive.

In-game: close-up of a wheel/ door handle.

➕ Trapology had a beautiful lobby. We wish we could have lounged there for longer. We loved the cozy, steampunk-inspired aesthetic.

Tips For Visiting

  • Trapology is easily accessible by T. Take the Green Line to Boylston St.
  • We recommend Explorateur on the corner for a coffee, drinks, a meal… and some really interesting desserts.

Book your hour with Trapology’s Crush Depth, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Trapology comped our tickets for this game.

Los Angeles, California: Escape Room Recommendations

Looking for an escape room near Los Angeles, California?

Latest update: January 5, 2019

Los Angeles is one of the strongest escape room markets in the United States.

This city offers some of the best sets and scenery we’ve seen in escape rooms. That doesn’t mean they skimp on the puzzles. The best escape rooms in Los Angeles deliver full experiences.

You might be interested in our recommendations for Anaheim, California as well.

Scene from LA in black, white, & blue. A sports car speeding past a building that says, "MADE IN LA."

Market Standouts

  1. Stash House
  2. Lab Rat, Hatch Escapes
  3. The Elevator Shaft, THE BASEMENT
  4. The Courtyard, THE BASEMENT 
  5. The Morgue, Evil Genius (We haven’t played it yet. See comments below.)

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Creative Tech

Unusual Concept

Newbie-friendly

Big Group Games

Private Booking Companies

Spooky & Scary

Games with Actors

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.

Announcing Escape Immerse Explore for 2019… There are two tours!

This summer we will be running two different Escape Immerse Explore Tours to different parts of the United States.

Escape Immerse Explore: The Palace 2019

This tour takes you to San Francisco in early June. Read all the details.

Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019

This tour takes you to Southern Louisiana in mid July. Read all the details.

Both tours feature some of the most impressive escape rooms we’ve seen to date. Both tours feature 2018 Golden Lock-In Award-winning escape rooms.

We’re looking forward to two incredible weekends with escape room enthusiasts this summer!

If the links above don’t answer all your questions, please contact us.

See you this summer!

We are incredibly excited to host both these events. We hope to see you at The Palace and/or New Orleans this summer!

Live this Wednesday: 2018 Golden Lock-In Awards

In case you haven’t heard, we’ll be broadcasting the 2018 Golden Lock-In Awards live on Wednesday evening. Please tune in at 8:30pm Eastern.

At 8:15pm Eastern, if you click this link, you should see the broadcast. If all is working properly, we’ll probably take a few questions.

We’ll officially get started with the awards at 8:30 sharp.

(And if something goes wrong with the broadcast, we’ll post an update on this post.)

YouTube's red play button logo.

More details are available here.

The Golden Lock-In Awards won’t be the only announcement that evening…

Escape Room News: December 2018

Escape Room News: 
December 2018

The monthly escape room newsletter is a new feature on Room Escape Artist. Please share your news with us.

Anaheim, CA

  • Cross Roads Escape Games, creator of the 2016 Golden Lock-In Award-winning Hex Room, has opened a new game: The Psych Ward is not your average escape room. It is an interactive game of deduction, trust, and betrayal, with escape room, board game, and immersive theatre elements. We’re intrigued.

Washington, CT

  • There is a new escape room at The Institute for American Indian Studies: can you thrive for a day in 1518? In an immersive forest setting with no locks, keys or clocks, Wigwam Escape‘s thematic puzzles challenge game players to hunt, find water and prepare food similar to how Native people did for thousands of years prior to European contact.

Washington, DC

  • Escape Room Live has left their original small basement digs at 2300 Wisconsin Ave. in DC’s Glover Park. Their upstairs neighbor, Insomnia Escape, has taken over the space with a new game, The Patient. Insomnia plans to bring another game to that space in the near future. Escape Room Live still has two much larger facilities in Georgetown, DC and Alexandria, VA.

Tickfaw, LA

  • Rise Escape Rooms will be closing their escape room business on February 1, 2019. They will be focusing on their seasonal haunted house business instead. We’re incredibly sad to see them close their doors. Spellbound, Hijacked, and The Bookie were wonderful escape rooms. We’re glad to hear that they sold the games to good homes.

Frederick, MD

  • Clue IQ opened a Christmas-themed escape room called Holiday Hijinks for families to spend some puzzling time together to get in the holiday spirit!

New York, NY

  • Mission Escape Games has two new games coming soon to their Flushing, NY location: The Secret of the Alchemist and The Enigma Mission. Stay tuned for booking details soon.
  • Myss Tic is about a week away from the end of their Kickstarter campaign to launch in Brooklyn, NY. Their Montauk Project is almost ready to open.

Troy, NY

  • Enigmatic Escapes’ new room Defeat the Biz is now open. In this retro return to the year 1990, you are employees in the hottest consumer electronics store around and you have an hour to open or lose your jobs!

Portland, OR

  • Hour to Midnight has opened a new game called House of DarknessIt is part escape room and part haunted house; only the brave should tackle this one! Having played The Secrets of Nibiru last year, we’re looking forward to getting back out to Portland to play.

Houston, TX

  • Strange Bird Immersive, creators of the 2017 Golden Lock-In Award-winning The Man from Beyond, is moving… and there’s a puzzle game involved: in the free online game “Where’s Walter,” follow Madame Daphne’s bird Walter across the map of Houston to learn where Strange Bird is moving… and maybe get a hint of what else that new location will hold.

International

  • The members of the band First Aid Kit brought their friends The Staves to play Cursed Carnival at Breakout Liverpool in the UK.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qU_6HECj6KQ&feature=youtu.be

Online

Announcements

  • We will announce the 2018 Golden Lock-In Award winners on January 2 at 8:30pm Eastern. We will livestream the announcement and then publish the blog post.
  • This month we launched a Patreon to continue to grow this website more sustainably. Thank you to the 50+ readers who have already supported us! If you find our content valuable, we encourage you to support Room Escape Artist on Patreon.

Press

How To Submit News

Share your own news here!

We haven’t visited all of the companies featured in this news bulletin, but they (and their fans!) shared their news with us and we’re excited to share it with you. Follow their lead and submit your news!

News items include:

  • Facility openings & closings
  • Game openings & closings
  • Special events
  • Escape room-related products
  • Escape room-related intrigue of all sorts
  • Celebrity visits (if you have a post-game photo that we can publish)
  • Escape room pieces in the general press

Send us your newsworthy information via our news submission form:

Lisa & David Visit the REDivas Podcast

It’s become a holiday tradition that we visit the Room Escape Divas podcast in December. In today’s episode we talk about our latest news, tease some upcoming awesomeness, and discuss many other things (all relating to escape rooms!). This is a conversation among friends, with some deep musings on game design in the mix.

Room Escape Divas Episode 80 – The Escape Room Scene with Room Escape Artist

Thank you, Errol and Manda, for the lovely discussion. It’s always a pleasure!

Room Escape Divas Present "The Escape Romm Scene with Room Escape Artist." Image features us with Manda wearing yellow raincoats on a fishing boat.
Amazing post-game photo via Escape Room Zandvoort

New Microphone Setup

In related news, we have greatly improved our microphone setup… So listening to us should be a more pleasurable experience. 

Conversation Cheatsheet

00:01:45Patreon, expansion, and publication schedules

00:04:30 – Kickstarter & crowdfunding 

00:06:00 – 4 years of REA and the process of making our first video

00:06:45 – Children in escape rooms. David misremembers how he first met Errol… and Errol corrects him.

00:10:00 – Project management with Trello & our stash of content ideas

00:11:40 – Bringing on new writers (Steve Ewing & Sarah Willson), paying them, and the REA Style Guide 

00:14:30 – Our new monthly News Bulletin

00:16:30 – Patreon perks, why ours are set up as they are, and planning for success in crowdfunding

00:22:21 – Errol tells a story about how he’s dumb.

00:24:00 – 2018 Holiday Buyers Guide and some of our favorite gifts for it

00:31:45 – Announcing the 2018 Golden Lock-In Awards live, the best post-game photos ever, and how David saved Manda in Amsterdam

00:36:50 – Suspension of disbelief

00:41:15 – Our wild experience at Escape Woods

00:46:55 – Puzzle complexity, immersion, and pacing

00:52:10 – Establishing expectations, “the curve of judgment,” and horror vs “horror”

 00:56:38 – Designing for what you can build well

00:59:00 – Being picky or forgiving about the limitations of what a company can legally do within their physical space

01:00:10 Taking phones and charging phones… and why forced surrender of mobile devices still angers David

01:04:40 – Do any escape rooms still lock players in?

01:06:48 – Do not touch stickers

01:13:22 – What it’s like playing with Errol

01:18:45 – Teasing the next Escape Immerse Explore Tour

01:19:26 – 2019 conferences that we’re attending, meetups, real life community interaction, and escape room travel

01:23:40 – Where is the escape room industry going in 2019?

01:31:00 – The importance of community in the industry

01:32:00 – The notion of first- and second-wave escape room enthusiasts

01:36:20 – We all torment Manda while she tries to deliver the conclusion of the podcast.

Listen to the Conversation

Room Escape Divas Episode 80 – The Escape Room Scene with Room Escape Artist