Dallas, Texas: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: March 13, 2022

The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metroplex has an enjoyable mix of noteworthy local escape room companies alongside multiple large chains. We enjoyed our quick trip there enough that we plan to go back soon and play out several of the companies we visited. So, watch for this guide to evolve!

Dallas, Texas Escape Room Guide
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Mindware: Dig It Up! Crack the Crate – A Dragon’s World [Kids’ Product Review]

Don’t let sleeping dragons lie

Location:  at home

Date Played: January 15, 2022

Team size: 2-4; we recommend 1-2 kids and at least one adult

Duration: 1.5-2 hours

Price: $34.95

REA Reaction

Dig It Up! Crack the Crate – A Dragon’s World was a strong kid-focused tabletop escape game that was unique for its inclusion of three “magic” orbs/ eggs (i.e. diggable clods of clay containing clues). Depending on your perspective, this integration with Mindware’s Dig It Up! product line either enhanced or interrupted the game. Kids throughout my house raved about the orbs and chiseled with an uncharacteristic persistence, eager to earn their prizes. Adults weren’t as enthralled, mostly because the diggable objects awkwardly disrupted progress for sizable chunks of time, sidelining the majority of our team.

Dig It Up! Crack The Crate - a dragon's World Adventure box, looks like grey wood paneling.

Aside from the divisive issue of magic orbs, the puzzling was the star of this game, with nine entertaining puzzles that were remarkably well constructed for young players. These puzzles won’t challenge experienced players, but I still felt genuine admiration for how they combined interesting objects, motivating scenarios, and simple interactions to engage us.

The overarching story was a bit convoluted, stretching to justify some of the orbs. Even so, the themes of magic and dragons persisted throughout every aspect of the game and gave sufficient coherence to the experience.

This would be a lovely game for experienced puzzlers to play with their younger apprentices. Kids will be able to do most of it on their own, and they’ll love the gimmicks. More experienced players will appreciate much of the design and wish things like this existed when they were kids.

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The Detective Society – The Professor’s Missing Potion [Review]

Kids on the Case

Location:  at home

Date Played: November 18, 2021

Team size: We recommend 1-3 kids plus an adult

Duration: 45-60 minutes

Price: £8.99

REA Reaction

Within the genre of puzzling games for kids, The Professor’s Missing Potion stands out as a well designed, satisfying experience that did many things well for its audience. It offered an introduction to some common puzzle types within a cartoonishly immersive plot and environment. It used smart design choices to make the gameplay manageable for kids while still engaging them in delightful and authentic ways. Its fantastical plot, variety of interactions, and subtle humor connected well with my kids’ imaginations, effectively convincing them that they might actually be doing something real.

A man in a white lab coat with goggles, and a green background.

My main critique regards some minor quality control issues that detracted from the experience. First, no orientation materials were included in the downloaded files. This undermined my ability to set expectations and to make sure we were referring to the print materials as intended. This unease dissipated as the game progressed, but the scarcity of information between purchasing and beginning the game was a gap in the customer journey that could easily be bridged to give players (or their adult sidekick) more confidence. Also, the final puzzle seemed to have an error that forced us to guess rather than solve, resulting in anticlimactic feelings about the conclusion.

Ultimately, though, The Professor’s Missing Potion was a solidly entertaining kids’ activity that literally evoked childlike wonder. We’re glad we played and hope The Detective Society makes more games for this audience.

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Nordo – The Interrogation of Alice [Review]

“Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

Location:  at home

Date Played: November 6, 2021

Team size: We recommend 2

Duration: 1-2 hours

Price: $117 plus shipping

REA Reaction

If you’re a Through the Looking Glass fan, a collector of berry curds, or a devotee of absurd theater, Nordo’s The Interrogation of Alice may be for you. From the post-purchase email through the very end of the video credits, it’s clear that the creators of this game invested extraordinary attention to the details of its source material. They infused every aspect of…well…everything with references to the book. If I’d played a game like this about one of my personal obsessions, I would absolutely die. In a good way.

A box filled with smaller red and black boxes that are labeled, "eat me," "drink me," & "evidence."

If you’re an average escape room enthusiast who prioritizes puzzling and/or has just a passing knowledge of Alice lore, this is a much harder sell at $117. Nordo’s background and strengths lie in immersive theater, so the details woven throughout the videos, puzzles, and food were well executed and delightful. However, we found the story to be disorienting in a way that, while honoring the nonsense of its source material, left us constantly uneasy that we were missing something. Ultimately, that confusion was irrelevant because the handful of simple puzzles didn’t hinge on clues from the videos, and the characters seemed to solve the overall mystery on their own. This was both a relief and a disappointment that left us feeling like befuddled observers rather than useful participants. Fortunately, there were some exquisite berry curd and biscuits to soothe our feelings.

Overall, this concept has enormous potential for filling a gap in the world’s offerings for a premium date night at home. With a more intelligible script and a tighter interrelationship between the puzzles and performances, there would be a huge opportunity to transform an experience like this from a collection of impressive details into a more thorough engagement of the audience. This was a respectable effort in that direction, but at the price point, it needed to be exceptional.

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The Secret Chambers – The Poe Adventure [Review]

The Poe Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

“There is no beauty without some strangeness.” – Edgar Allen Poe

Location: Arlington, TX

Date Played: July 18, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player (you must pay for a minimum of 4 even if fewer play)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least one team member must be able to navigate stairs and tight crawl spaces; the gameplay included dexterity challenges

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As soon as we stepped into the lushly decorated Poe manor and met our disembodied gamemaster, it was evident that The Secret Chambers was deeply invested in delivering a haunting and haunted experience. The décor and gameplay delivered an immersive exploration of the world of Edgar Allen Poe that, while suitably chilling, was not overtly terrifying. Anyone comfortable with Poe’s works would be comfortable with this room.

A skull on a railing in an ornate room with portraits hung on purple walls.

Small design details contributed enormously to the smooth flow of this experience. Sound effects drew our attention to the next points of interest, clear labels helped us associate information efficiently, and there was even a way to track our progress. Being comfortable with our pace was invaluable because it gave us permission to fully absorb our surroundings. The main detriment to the room’s flow was a bottleneck in the middle of the experience; spatially, there was only room for two players to participate, leaving larger parties with little to do.

From a gameplay perspective, the puzzles and tasks were simple yet satisfying. Indeed, experienced players shouldn’t expect a challenge here; this “adventure” (like others we played at The Secret Chambers) was more about participating in an immersive environment and delighting in its revelations. Our favorite puzzles delivered joy via interactions with one-of-a-kind set pieces that required unusual feats of collaborative dexterity.

Despite the extensive thematic coherence of the props and puzzles, there wasn’t a strong rationale for why things were happening. Regardless, this room’s impeccable atmosphere and captivating interactions make it well worth your time if you’re near the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fans of Edgar Allen Poe
  • Any experience level (but must be older than 10 to play)
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