Big Escape Rooms – Outbreak [Review]

We have another puzzle outbreak.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date played: April 3, 2017

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

A government super soldier program went wrong and unleashed a horde of zombies. We had to find a cure for their mindless rampaging before they broke down the door to our lab and ate us.

Set within a stark research facility, the aesthetic ranged from mundane doctor’s office to grim lab.

Big Escape Room's maze logo. Captioned, "Can you escape?"

Puzzles

Outbreak was search-heavy with clumsy puzzling.

Many of the puzzles ultimately came together in laborious processes that didn’t require so much reasoning as they did working through tasks.

Standouts

Big Escape Rooms created a humorous introductory video to set the stage for Outbreak. 

In one instance, we encountered an error-tolerant design adaptation of a puzzle trope that is frequently misused. It was refreshing.

Shortcomings

One unfortunate side effect of the implication of this puzzle was that it caused some team members to have mild allergic reactions to the environment.

When the cluing was particularly tenuous, the rest of the props quickly became distracting red herrings.

The set wasn’t particularly interesting. It was a large space, but not purposefully designed or well used.

Should I play Big Escape Rooms’ Outbreak?

If you don’t care much for setting, there are a few thoughtful and fun puzzle designs in this escape room. Outbreak is a generic early escape room design from a company that is learning the ropes.

While we think there is a more fun and interesting game in Clownedif you’re looking for something different, or you just don’t like clowns, you could do far worse.

Book your hour with Big Escape Rooms’ Outbreak, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Big Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Big Escape Rooms – Clowned [Review]

Not for the coulrophobic.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Date played: April 3, 2017

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

“Happy on the outside and sad on the inside,” a circus clown executed the other circus acts before he started to kill off the guests. We were trapped in his circus of tricks and puzzles, trying to escape before becoming the next victims.

Clowned was nominally set in the circus. Apart from a large and brightly colored mural, the gamespace felt more like a room of puzzles than a larger-than-life circus experience.

Big Escape Room's maze logo. Captioned,

Puzzles

Our clown-captor attempted to thwart our survival with standard room escape puzzles and props.

A few puzzles made great use of physicality and space, while others felt a little too paper-y for an escape room.

Standouts

While the puzzles were pretty typical, we particularly enjoyed two puzzles: one cast a familiar puzzle in a different light, while the other put a new spin on a standard puzzle trope.

The introduction to the room was exciting and humorous.

Shortcomings

Clowned suffered from a lack of grand-scale. At times, it nodded to the circus through the decor, but it didn’t ever feel like a place that was a part of the circus.

It wasn’t clear that we should be watching the introductory video. If it was important – either for puzzles or ambiance – we missed it entirely in our eagerness to begin our escape. The sound was so quiet that most of our team didn’t even know a video was playing.

The puzzles occasionally needed additional refinement for improved game flow. There were a few instances of solution ambiguity that should be eliminated. In one such instance, the correct answer seemed weak in comparison to at least one of the other solutions we thought up.

Should I play Big Escape Rooms’ Clowned?

We enjoyed ourselves but weren’t blown away.

Clowned was an old school, entry-level escape room; it consisted of puzzles in a lightly themed setting. Given this, Clowned would be approachable for novice players. The puzzles weren’t too challenging or too involved.

Experienced players should bring a small group and expect to move swiftly.

So long as you’re not afraid of clowns, you can have fun in this escape room. If you don’t like clowns, consider this a warning to stay away.

Book your hour with Big Escape Rooms’ Clowned, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Big Escape Rooms provided media discounted tickets for this game.