5 Wits Syracuse – Espionage [Review]

An enhanced playground experience.

Location: Syracuse, New York

Date played: May 15, 2015

Team size: 2-15; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 30 minutes

Price: $17.99 per ticket for one adventure, discounted if you play multiple adventures

Plot

“The Fate of the Free World Depends on You!

Time is ticking and everything is on the line when the evil CABAL Corporation threatens the world. Do you have what it takes to infiltrate an enemy base and disarm the missiles before it’s too late?

Dodge lasers, crawl through vents, defuse a giant missile and stop a madman from triggering a world war in this action packed spy thriller! Every puzzle you solve, challenge you conquer, and mistake you make will change the outcome, so stay sharp, move fast-and don’t get caught!”

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Espionage

You are the team that has been tasked with disarming a missile to save the world. A kid-friendly agent personality leads you through a series of puzzles culminating in this task. Espionage is the most physically involved of the games that 5 Wits offers in Syracuse. Players feel that they are infiltrating high command.

Puzzle difficulty

The puzzles in Espionage are less cerebral than those in their other game, Tomb. They are significantly less intellectually challenging than those in traditional room escape games.

The challenge derives from their physicality. Crawl precisely; hit the buttons quickly. They rely on nimble teamwork.

There's a laser-grid that is larger than most escape games!
There’s a laser-grid that is larger than most escape games!

The experience

The game feels like you’re infiltrating an enemy base. As with the Tomb, it’s kind of nuts. The look, the feel, and the sounds are all on-point.

For a more about the 5 Wits experience, design and production value, see our aforementioned review of Tomb.

The environment

There is an intensity to the environment in Espionage that pushes the game forward. The scale and variety in the game are  impressive. The setting greatly elevates the puzzles.

Still, Espionage has a playground feel that is unlikely to intimidate a child. In fact, I imagine children will want to loop through these puzzles again and again… I know that I would have.

Like a playground, it is infinitely re-playable for children (less so for adults).

5 Wits Espionage Image 3

Should I play 5Wits Syracuse’s Espionage?

If you were a playground kid, you’ll love how 5 Wits integrates that rush into the escape room experience.

If you have kids and want to incorporate mentally stimulating games into a physically interactive environment, this room is a must.

If you have trouble with mobility, this isn’t the game for you. But you could still accompany children or friends to experience it from the sidelines. At the very least, you’ll have quite a sight to watch.

If you’re an escape game designer looking to create more physically involved puzzles or understand the possible scale of environment, you should play. 5 Wits sets the bar incredibly high.

If you’re focused more on the intellectual puzzle aspect of games, this isn’t the game for you. However, I recommend you try one of their other games just to experience the production value. If you are in the area, you should play, just for comparison.

You don’t go to 5 Wits to test your mind, and you especially don’t play Espionage for that reason. But there are other reasons to play this game.

No need to book in advance, just head over to 5 Wits Syracuse and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Images via 5 Wits Syracuse

5 Wits Syracuse – Tomb [Review]

An awe inspiring game, with Disney-level production value and family friendly puzzles.

Location: Syracuse, New York

Date played: May 15, 2015

Team size: 2-15; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 30 minutes

Price: $17.99 per ticket for one adventure, discounted if you play multiple adventures

Plot

Prove your worthiness and survive to tell the tale!

Enter a 3,000 year old tomb with only a flashlight and your wits to guide you! At an archaeological dig, you find yourself deep in an Egyptian tomb… face to face with the spirit of an ancient Pharaoh! Are you brave enough to make it out alive?

The only way to survive will be to best the Pharaoh at his own game and prove your worthiness… but watch out for traps along the way! Test your skills in this amazing adventure thousands of years in the making!

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Tomb

Tomb is an Indiana Jones-esque crypt raid where you disturb the ghost of a dead pharaoh who puts you through a series of challenges. This is billed as the more cerebral 5 Wits offering, and has more mentally challenging puzzles than their other games. Still, escaping the tomb isn’t difficult.

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The experience

The game feels like you’re in a pyramid. It’s kind of nuts. The look, the feel, and the sounds are all on-point.

I have to imagine that the experience must be intensely cool for children (and maybe a bit too much for sensitive kids).

Literally every single puzzle is physically involved.

The game has a production value that is a few orders of magnitude greater than anything we have seen from any other escape game company.

5 Wits Syracuse Tomb Photo

Automation

A team of 2-15 players will begin with a recorded briefing (with solid, kid friendly acting), and advance into the first room. Everything from this point in the game is fully automated; the game mechanics push the team into each of the subsequent three rooms. Each team completes the game in 20 – 30 minutes.

The game mechanics are designed so that players reset the room for the next team. This allows 5 Wits to have a team in each of the four rooms at one time. It’s impressive. It is designed such that teams can’t butt up against each other.

The ceiling actually drops!
The ceiling actually drops!

Should I play 5 Wits Syracuse’s Tomb?

Yeah, you probably should.

If you’re an escape game designer, and you want to understand how high the bar is set for production value, go to 5 Wits.

If you have kids and want to do something fun and mentally stimulating with them, then you must go.

If you’re a live action puzzle enthusiast, this isn’t going to present a serious challenge to you, but I think you should see it if you’re near one of their locations (Syracuse, NY, Foxboro, MA, and they will be opening in West Nyack, NY soon). However I wouldn’t recommend rounding up a whole team and traveling specifically to play Tomb.

If you’re going to 5 Wits looking to test your mind, you’re profoundly missing the point. This is about the experience, family-friendly fun, and the brilliance of a fully automated escape game that reset itself.

No need to book in advance, just head over to 5-Wits Syracuse and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Images via 5 Wits Syracuse