Farewell to RISE Escape Rooms & the Fate of their Games

Hijacked

Rise Escape Rooms is closing their three outstanding escape rooms today. These games each impressed us, in different ways.

Spellbound won a 2017 Golden Lock-In Award.

Luckily, the games won’t be moving too far.

Book tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019… and you can still play them!

Interview with RISE

We caught up with Mindi Plaisance, owner of RISE Escape Rooms, to talk about these changes.

What brought about RISE’s change in direction?

Mindi: We are family owned and operated. We are hands on with every aspect of both RISE Haunted House and RISE Escape Rooms. Our team quickly became escape room enthusiasts and felt we had the creative talent to bring immersive games to our community.

As successful as our games were, we realized that juggling the escape rooms along our rapidly growing Halloween attraction and extremely involved children was too much on our plate. We didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product so we decided that focusing all our attention on one industry would give us the opportunity to provide a great seasonal event.

Bookie

What was your favorite part of owning an escape room?

Mindi:Personally, my favorite part was the creative process. I like the challenge of building unique rooms that are immersive, have a variety of puzzles, and flow well… games that are challenging, but not impossible.  

Will your escape rooms live on?

Mindi: We have local buyers for all three games:

The Bookie will be going to the Clue Carré newest location in New Orleans.

Hijacked and Spellbound will be going to the 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge. If I know Dwayne, he will put his own spin on our games, so I am looking forward to see what he’s got in that ever-creative mind of his.

Image via RISE Escape Rooms

What is on the horizon for RISE?

Mindi:We are considering a 4th Dark attraction for Halloween as well as transforming our Hayride attraction into a Christmas show. The details are still in the works, but we are definitely sticking to seasonal. 

We love your style. Will we ever see more escape rooms from you?

Mindi: We still have our 5-minute games that we will run through Halloween. I am sure we will be turning those over at some point. 

If someone approached our team on a consulting basis and our schedule permitted it, we’d be open to that idea, but we won’t actively be seeking to get into the game design business.

In-game: The gamespace looks exactly like the interior cabin of a commercial airliner.

Interview with Clue Carré & 13th Gate Escape

After getting the news from Mindi, we reached out to Megan Mouton, owner of Clue Carré, and Dwayne Sanburn, owner of 13th Gate Escape, to learn what we can expect from their production of RISE’s games.

When do you expect the RISE games to reopen?

Megan: The Bookie will hopefully be ready by May. We will be opening it at our 3rd location, which will be inside of Surge Trampoline Park.

Dwayne: We aren’t sure exactly how long it will take to move Spellbound and Hijacked, but we are planning on having them open before your tour in July.

What changes are you making?

Megan: We are not changing much in The Bookie. We have plans to improve and tweak some puzzles, but the overall puzzle structure will be the same.

At this point, we are also planning to make it a 45-minute game, to keep players flowing during their jump time at the trampoline park. We’ll have the option to extend it back to 60 minutes if we feel the 45-minute model isn’t working.

Dwayne: Both games are very solid. We probably will only be making minor changes.

If someone has already played and loved these games at RISE, should they replay them?

Megan: We will not be marketing The Bookie as a game to replay if you have played it at Rise.

Dwayne: It’s doubtful that we will be making enough changes to warrant a replay of either Hijacked or Spellbound.

Visit Spellbound, Hijacked, and The Bookie this July

We will miss RISE Escape Rooms. Their work is phenomenal and we’ll be sad not to stop in Tickfaw on this summer’s tour.

We highly encourage seasonal travelers to check out the other attractions at RISE.

We are, however, incredibly excited the games will be nearby and that we’ll get to see them again this summer at Clue Carré and 13th Gate Escape.

Escape Room News: January 2019

Art deco news bulletin kiosk.

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

International News

On January 4, 2019, 5 people died in a fire in an escape room in Koszalin, Poland.

In Theaters

  • Earlier this month, Escape Room (the movie) opened in theaters. Read our review.

Los Angeles, CA

  • Mister and Mischief’s limited run Escape From Godot will be returning Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays March 1-24. It will be at The YARD Theater in Los Angeles, CA. Get your tickets while they last.
  • Level Games opens in North Hollywood, CA. Level Games is a partnership between two local companies, Arcane Escape Rooms and Escape Chronicles, taking over the space that was previously Escapades LA. The Escapades LA games Doggie Dog World and Disrupted Decades will remain in operation for a short time under the management of Level Games. If you haven’t yet played these games, you still have time! There are also brand new escape games and other projects in the works. Level Games will soon announce more details about a dedicated gaming / event space, as well as some alternative immersive experiences.

San Francisco, CA

  • Room Escape Artist announced Escape, Immerse, Explore: The Palace. Visit Palace Games with us June 1-3, 2019. On this tour you will play 4 incredible escape rooms, including the Golden Lock-In Award-winning The Edison Escape Room. If you’re a traveling player, this is your chance to visit Palace Games!
  • Room Escape Artist will be traveling to San Francisco, CA for the Immersive Design Summit February 22-23, 2019. We will be hosting a meetup for escape room fans while we are in town. Stay tuned for details.

Santa Monica, CA

  • Red Bull Mind Gamers Escape Room World Championship starts the new year with another US Qualifier, this Saturday, February 2, at the Red Bull eSports Studio in Santa Monica, CA. There are still open spots if you want to sign up!

Temecula, CA

  • Mindtrap in Temecula (Southern California) has opened a new location with 2 new games and 2 more coming soon.

Sarasota, FL

  • Lokey’s Escape Rooms opens February 14 in Sarasota, FL. It will offer 24-hour access (with off-the-schedule booking options), private rooms, and immersive experiences.

New Orleans, LA

  • Room Escape Artist announced Escape, Immerse, Explore: New Orleans 2019. Join us July 12-14, 2019 to visit some of the most amazing escape rooms in the world including multiple Golden Lock-In Award winners such as 13th Gate Escape’s Cutthroat Cavern. Last summer’s tour to New Orleans sold out, but we didn’t want anyone to be left out, so we brought it back again for 2019!

Saugus, MA

  • Wicked Escapes, known for The Great Museum Heist Caper Job, has closed their Saugus location. They are focusing on building games for other companies. We look forward to seeing what they build next.

Kalamazoo, MI

  • Clock N Lock Escape Rooms has opened a new Amelia Earhart-themed escape room in Kalamazoo, MI. Amelia’s Attic Escape Room challenges 4-8 players to find evidence that Amelia Earhart was living in hiding.

Apex, NC

  • Apex NC has its first escape room: Whole Brain Escape. It features 2 rooms: Bustin’ out of the Eighties and Escape the Supervillain’s Lair.

Wharton, NJ

New York, NY

  • On February 11, 2019, Room Escape Artist is teaming up with No Proscenium to bring you this winter’s New York City Meetup for Everything Immersive. This event is for those interested in, passionate about, or working within immersive arts & entertainment in New York City. We’re calling all creators, storytellers, directors, engineers, artists, designers, writers, performers, event planners, producers, and more. Lovers of immersive entertainment are welcome as well. Please RSVP on Facebook.
  • Myss Tic has opened the room Montauk Project in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Shipwrecked in Brooklyn has opened three 30-minute escape rooms.

Corpus Christi, TX

  • There is a new escape room aboard the USS Lexington. Set aboard a real World War II aircraft carrier and based in part on actual historic events, Beat the Blast asks players to locate the nuclear bomb aboard the USS Lexington Museum, defuse it, and save the world.

Awards

Participate

  • If you design/manage/fund live-action games (i.e. escape rooms), please take part in this thesis research survey. Jerald Belich, designer of Utopia at Riddle Room in Minneapolis, MN and MFA candidate at Miami University, is conducting this research to better understand needs for immersive tools! You must have completed 2 projects and worked on a related project within the last 2 years to participate in the survey.
  • The Immersive Design Summit has launched the Industry Survey 2019. The immersive entertainment industry uniquely combines decades-old disciplines with modern-day experiential entertainment, connecting audiences to artistic works with resonating emotional impact. If you create escape rooms or any other types of immersive entertainment, please contribute to this effort to quantify this impact for summary in an annual industry report.
  • Submissions are open for IndieCade 2019. IndieCade accepts games of all genres, on all platforms, in all languages, and encourages works in progress. They would love more escape room creators to submit to this independent gaming conference. Learn more about IndieCade.

Celebrity News

Coldplay singer Chris Martin with his daughters in 60 Out's Red Alert escape room.

How To Submit News

Share your own news here!

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:

February 11: New York City Meetup for Everything Immersive

We are looking forward to the next New York City Everything Immersive Meetup, co-hosted by Room Escape Artist and our friends at No Proscenium.

Stylized New York City skyline.

Details

Please RSVP on Facebook or by contacting us.

  • Monday, February 11
  • Starting at 6:00pm and continuing for a few hours
  • Shades of Green Pub (125 E 15th St between Irving Pl and 3rd Ave)
  • We will be congregating in the back room

Location

Note that this is a new location for the Everything Immersive Meetup.

We encourage attendees to order food and drink from Shades of Green Pub. They are kind enough to host this meetup without charging a cover. We’d like to support their business.

Additionally, Shades of Green Pub requests that we limit checks to 1 per table. Please order as a group on one tab and take advantage of Venmo, Paypal… or cash (most immersive method of payment).

Who Attends?

This event is for those interested in, passionate about, or working within immersive arts & entertainment in New York City. We’re calling all creators, storytellers, directors, engineers, artists, designers, writers, performers, event planners, producers, and more.

Lovers of immersive entertainment are certainly welcome as well.

It’s a chance to meet us, and Kathryn, who interviewed us on No Proscenium, and lots of friends whom we’ve meet through these websites.

Why Attend?

If you are an escape room creator or designer, we encourage you expand your horizons by meeting those working in other types of immersive entertainment. We’ve learned so much from this group of people.

In our experience, the Everything Immersive Meetup is a wonderful place to meet new people and exchange ideas.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Chatting with No Proscenium about our 2019 Escape, Immerse, Explore tours

No Proscenium's purple "NP" logo.

Our friends at No Proscenium are curious about all sorts of immersive entertainment… including escape room tours!

We recently spoke with Kathryn Yu, No Proscenium’s Managing Editor & NYC Curator, about Escape, Immerse, Explore.

Kathryn asks great questions. We talk about why we started these tours and what we have in store for 2019, among other things.

Join us for Escape, Immerse Explore: The Palace (in San Francisco) and/or Escape, Immerse Explore: New Orleans this summer.

If Kathryn’s interview doesn’t answer your questions, please contact us.

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!