CU Adventures in Time & Space – Revenge of the Cabin [Review]

Quaint abandoned property. Sold.

Location: Urbana, IL

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25-35 per player depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: At least one player will have to climb a few stairs and crawl a short distance.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

CU Adventure in Time & Space’s Revenge of the Cabin was a joyful – albeit creepy – experience filled to the brim with character. The game was oozing intricate details. It offered excellent flow, consistent fun, and well-designed puzzles. Our team never had a lack of tasks to do or objects to examine, keeping the game flow consistent and the energy high.

Revenge of the Cabin was flooded with personal touches for each of the players, which added a bit of customized flair to both the gameplay and the puzzles. CU Adventures did a fantastic job leaning into the horror genre without being overly scary. Their use of spooky elements without the cheap scares brought a creative and particularly fun take on a fairly common escape room theme. With the exception of one section requiring more light than was provided, the game otherwise kept our five-player team busy for the full hour.

A necronomicon sitting on a demonic alter.

CU Adventures has seriously stepped up the game for Illinois, and across the board, their games were works of art. These are worth the road trip to check out if you’re ever in Chicago, no question.

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CU Adventures in Time & Space – Game Night [Review]

Roll for initiative

Location:  Urbana, IL

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25-35 per player depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Game Night was a fantastically unique Dungeons & Dragons adventure lovingly brought to life, full of nostalgia and delightful moments. With the help of an energetic in-game “dungeon master” (gamemaster), our experience was hilarious and whimsical from before the game even began. 

Escape rooms usually stick to 1-2 styles of gameplay and ride that out for a full 60-minute experience. In Game Night, CU Adventures was able to incorporate an homage to unique and vastly different styles of escape room design, curating gameplay for all types of players. Each section of the game was a varied “type” of escape room, whether it be interactive and fast paced, split team, or inclusive of immersive character interactions. CU Adventures brilliantly designed each portion for the overall storyline to flow seamlessly while also tailoring to different player archetypes. They wrapped all this into one coherent experience. 

Closeup of a dragon's head.

Even without having a background knowledge of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), this game can be an absolute blast for every adventurer. CU Adventures is spinning up some incredibly unique and exciting experiences, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future.

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60 to Escape – INVASION! [Review]

You’re killing me, Smalls!

Location: Greendale, WI

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player with a $90 minimum

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Players are required to duck through a low doorway

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

I have been yearning for an outrageous theme to be brought to fruition in an escape room for a very long time, and 60 to Escape accomplished this mind-boggling feat in INVASION!. In the game, we were sent on a quest to retrieve our prized baseball and find our friend Brian who had gone missing looking for said baseball.

We were blown away by the set, reveals, puzzle variety, and full-circle story, halting only at a key decision point. The range of emotions our team encountered was a rollercoaster full of pure joy, fright, sorrow, and everything in-between in a mere hour. Furthermore, 60 to Escape designed a protagonist for the experience who guided this endearing story arc, further elevating the immersion and narrative. 

A front door beside a garage, the door has warning signs. The garage door and exterior walls have strange writing on them.

60 to Escape designed something special when they created INVASION!. If you’re anywhere within driving distance of Milwaukee, it is absolutely worth going on a journey to find your friend Brian in your weird neighbor’s house.

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Once Upon an Escape – Neverland [Review]

Off to never never land

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: January 30, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $39 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Players are all required to duck under a low doorway. One player is required to crawl.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Neverland was Once Upon an Escape’s first dive into non-linear gameplay. The game was based on a fairytale we had always wished to see an experience designed around. Similar to the other games by Once Upon an Escape, the puzzles encompassed some traditional escape room puzzle play with numerous twists on their typical implementations. Puzzles were overall fun to solve and interact with, including a handful of dexterity challenges. Because this room had multiple communication puzzles, it was nicely designed for teamwork.

Neverland carried the strongest story out of Once Upon an Escape’s three current offerings, with a cohesive adventure traversing varied sets that showcased a creative use of space. With this being said, the experience felt less polished due to a few of the puzzles not making sense thematically. Additionally, Neverland had the ability to break sequence, allowing us to bypass a series of puzzles and ultimately finish the game with leftover clues.

A well-like table with a thatched roof beside some tropical plants.

If you’re visiting Once Upon an Escape, check out the room with the fairytale that calls out to you, whether it be your childhood favorite or a novel theme you have never played before!

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Third Gate Escape – Third Gate Hotel [Review]

Welcome to Hell

Location:  Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: January 29, 2022

Team Size: 3-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 70 minutes

Price: $45 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: One player must be able to crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Third Gate Hotel was a memorable experience, grounded in a consistently haunted ambiance, and punctuated by a unique interaction in the middle of the experience.

Transitions between the vast set spaces were polished, with each door leading us to unknown and increasingly eerie scenes. The gameplay traversed these areas, making this linear escape game feel more layered than it was. While the spaces made sense to be in a hotel with the detailed décor to match, we left wishing to see more of a fleshed out story carried throughout the experience.

The final puzzle was weak and included elements of what seems to be a previously designed puzzle. The components from this ghost puzzle solved well, but they ended up being unused for the actual solution. Following the mid-game climactic sequence, this conclusion was a let down.

A luxurious couch in a room covered with flower wallpaper, in the center of each flower is an eyeball.

We really loved the haunted hotel vibe at Third Gate Hotel, and can’t wait to see what this game looks like once all of the kinks are ironed out.

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