60 Minute Escape – The Fallout [Review]

Rush in.

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: July 26, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

60 Minute Escape opened with The Fallout. It was a strong first game that combined searching and puzzling with narrative elements and revealing moments. Despite a few frustrating design decisions, The Fallout flowed well.

If you’re a new player in the area, The Fallout would be a fun place to start. If you’re a more experienced player, 60 Minute Escape’s newer Pharaoh’s Chamber was a far more special game.

In-game: the exterior for a rundown and boarded up home.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Detailed and grim set design
  • Puzzle-driven gameplay

Story

We stepped through time into an alternate history where Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was on the brink of nuclear annihilation. We had to work together to gain entry into a fallout shelter before the bomb fell.

In-game: A wooden door with a nuclear symbol painted on.

Setting

Low lit and grim, The Fallout had an ominous, spooky vibe. With a highly detailed set, the staging felt intense.

While we knew something bad would happen at the end of our 60 minutes, it seemed like something terrible might have already happened in this place.

In-game: the grim livingroom of an old rundown home.

Gameplay

60 Minute Escape’s The Fallout was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

+ The opening set looked intense and exciting.

+ 60 Minute Escape incorporated cluing in the form of story. Or maybe story in the form of cluing. It worked well.

– The setting was unnecessarily dark. Throughout much of the game, the set and lighting felt more “horror” than “bunker.” It wasn’t scary and it didn’t really enhance our mission. The low lighting also made puzzle-solving far more frustrating.

+ Although the staging for The Fallout was intense, the cluing was at times humorous, which we enjoyed.

+ We enjoyed how 60 Minute Escape set one lock during reset so that we wouldn’t go off on a wild goose chase.

– At times The Fallout lacked feedback, especially when multiple puzzles had to be solved to trigger one reveal.

– The Fallout included an input mechanism that didn’t make a ton of sense in the experience, and didn’t seem to be used with intent.

The Fallout was heavy on searching in low light. 60 Minute Escape hid clues well, but fairly.

+ We enjoyed the layered puzzle solves.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed the muffins (and other delicacies) at Mimi’s Cafe.
  • Players must be able to duck through a low entrance.

Book your hour with 60 Minute Escape’s The Fallout, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: 60 Minute Escape comped our tickets for this game.

60 Minute Escape – Pharaoh’s Chamber [Review]

A ball of light in a dark tomb.

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per ticket

REA Reaction

Pharaoh’s Chamber was an understatement. 60 Minute Escape built an expansive explorable environment. The scale of this set and its interactions dwarfed chamber expectations. While not every puzzle flowed quite cleanly, they were interesting, interactive, and memorable.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Players with a little agility

Why play?

  • The set
  • The interactions
  • The exciting moments
  • The finale

Story

We had been exchanging letters with an old friend and fellow archeologist as he excavated the ancient Egyptian tomb of the Scarab King until without warning, his letters stopped. We had set out to explore his dig site and find him when upon entering the tomb, we found ourselves sealed in. Could we find our friend, uncover the Jewel of the Scarab King, and escape with our lives?

In-game: a scarab painted on the stone wall of an Egyptian tomb.

Setting

Pharaoh’s Chamber was an intense ancient Egyptian tomb loaded with details and tangible interactions. While the lighting was a bit low, the depth and nuance of the design made this an especially fun setting for an escape room adventure.

In-game: a lantern illuminating the stone walls of an Egyptian tomb.

Gameplay

Pharaoh’s Chamber mixed typical search-and-puzzle escape room play with exploration and a bit of physicality. While the core of the room escape was built around discovering details and solving puzzles, it was augmented with light physical challenges and obstacles that made Pharaoh’s Chamber feel like an adventure.

In-game: the stone walls of an Egyptian tomb, there are compartments carved out of the walls.

Standouts

The set of Pharaoh’s Chamber was incredible. It was artistic. It was also expansive and the detail extended throughout the space. It was a beautiful playground for puzzlers.

60 Minute Escape constructed large-scale, team-centric interactions.

The finale was dramatic and complex. This last sequence built excitement.

Pharaoh’s Chamber was packed with memorable moments.

Shortcomings

We couldn’t always tell which action had solved which puzzle.

Early on we found a prop that suggested that the game was linear. We quickly discovered that it wasn’t linear… although we eventually reached a point where it was. This inconsistency was frustrating and contributed to choppy flow.

One puzzle needed additional gating. We wasted a long time trying to complete the action in different ways because it hadn’t appeared to unlock anything. Later, it turned out we’d completed this correctly the first time, but we didn’t yet have access to its reveal.

We absolutely loved the most physical sequence in this escape room, but it’s not instantaneous to complete. We recommend that 60 Minute Escape make it clear in-game at the start of this sequence that if any player doesn’t want to participate in this, an alternative path will be revealed, and adjust signage so that this path is revealed as quickly as possible.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed the muffins (and other delicacies) at Mimi’s Cafe.
  • At least a few players need to be relatively agile and surefooted.

Book your hour with 60 Minute Escape’s Pharaoh’s Chamber, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.