Farewell to RISE Escape Rooms & the Fate of their Games

Hijacked

Rise Escape Rooms is closing their three outstanding escape rooms today. These games each impressed us, in different ways.

Spellbound won a 2017 Golden Lock-In Award.

Luckily, the games won’t be moving too far.

Book tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019… and you can still play them!

Interview with RISE

We caught up with Mindi Plaisance, owner of RISE Escape Rooms, to talk about these changes.

What brought about RISE’s change in direction?

Mindi: We are family owned and operated. We are hands on with every aspect of both RISE Haunted House and RISE Escape Rooms. Our team quickly became escape room enthusiasts and felt we had the creative talent to bring immersive games to our community.

As successful as our games were, we realized that juggling the escape rooms along our rapidly growing Halloween attraction and extremely involved children was too much on our plate. We didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product so we decided that focusing all our attention on one industry would give us the opportunity to provide a great seasonal event.

Bookie

What was your favorite part of owning an escape room?

Mindi:Personally, my favorite part was the creative process. I like the challenge of building unique rooms that are immersive, have a variety of puzzles, and flow well… games that are challenging, but not impossible.  

Will your escape rooms live on?

Mindi: We have local buyers for all three games:

The Bookie will be going to the Clue Carré newest location in New Orleans.

Hijacked and Spellbound will be going to the 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge. If I know Dwayne, he will put his own spin on our games, so I am looking forward to see what he’s got in that ever-creative mind of his.

Image via RISE Escape Rooms

What is on the horizon for RISE?

Mindi:We are considering a 4th Dark attraction for Halloween as well as transforming our Hayride attraction into a Christmas show. The details are still in the works, but we are definitely sticking to seasonal. 

We love your style. Will we ever see more escape rooms from you?

Mindi: We still have our 5-minute games that we will run through Halloween. I am sure we will be turning those over at some point. 

If someone approached our team on a consulting basis and our schedule permitted it, we’d be open to that idea, but we won’t actively be seeking to get into the game design business.

In-game: The gamespace looks exactly like the interior cabin of a commercial airliner.

Interview with Clue Carré & 13th Gate Escape

After getting the news from Mindi, we reached out to Megan Mouton, owner of Clue Carré, and Dwayne Sanburn, owner of 13th Gate Escape, to learn what we can expect from their production of RISE’s games.

When do you expect the RISE games to reopen?

Megan: The Bookie will hopefully be ready by May. We will be opening it at our 3rd location, which will be inside of Surge Trampoline Park.

Dwayne: We aren’t sure exactly how long it will take to move Spellbound and Hijacked, but we are planning on having them open before your tour in July.

What changes are you making?

Megan: We are not changing much in The Bookie. We have plans to improve and tweak some puzzles, but the overall puzzle structure will be the same.

At this point, we are also planning to make it a 45-minute game, to keep players flowing during their jump time at the trampoline park. We’ll have the option to extend it back to 60 minutes if we feel the 45-minute model isn’t working.

Dwayne: Both games are very solid. We probably will only be making minor changes.

If someone has already played and loved these games at RISE, should they replay them?

Megan: We will not be marketing The Bookie as a game to replay if you have played it at Rise.

Dwayne: It’s doubtful that we will be making enough changes to warrant a replay of either Hijacked or Spellbound.

Visit Spellbound, Hijacked, and The Bookie this July

We will miss RISE Escape Rooms. Their work is phenomenal and we’ll be sad not to stop in Tickfaw on this summer’s tour.

We highly encourage seasonal travelers to check out the other attractions at RISE.

We are, however, incredibly excited the games will be nearby and that we’ll get to see them again this summer at Clue Carré and 13th Gate Escape.

Clue Carré – Vampire Hunter Room [Review]

Bloodlines.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date Played: June 22, 2018

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Vampire Hunter Room was a puzzle-driven escape room. With a fairly standard study-like set, and dim lighting, the intrigue was in the puzzles. These offered a number of fun solves.

If you’re in the area and looking for puzzles over environment, we recommend stopping by.

In-game: An old parlor with a red clothed table, couch, and a painted portrait of a vampire.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Some cool puzzles

Story

Antoine Devillier, an ancient, wealthy, and powerful vampire, had but one weakness: the stake of Van Helsing. Devillier had acquired and hid his one weakness away. Our plucky band of vampire hunters set out to find the legendary weapon and give it a new home in Devillier’s chest.

In-game: The aged and worn fireplace in the parlor.

Setting

Vampire Hunter Room was slightly dim and study-like. The initial set was functional, but lacked excitement and polish. The escape room gave way to a more interesting set later in the adventure.

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s Vampire Hunter Room was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

Vampire Hunter Room was a puzzle-driven escape room. It had a lot of content. We enjoyed many of the puzzles.

– The decor was standard study fare with a vampiric twist. It was not particularly inspiring.

– Vampire Hunter Room was unnecessarily dim. While the dim lighting provided some ambiance, it made solving puzzles more frustrating than they should have been. The trade-off didn’t seem worth it.

+ We enjoyed how Clue Carré wove the bloodlines into the escape room.

Vampire Hunter Room was a solid, themed escape room, but nothing more. We hope that Clue Carré can build on this in the future to develop a cohesive world of puzzles, set, and story.

Vampire Hunter Room came to a pointed conclusion. It was predictable, yet enjoyable.

Tips for Visiting

  • We recommend Victory for post-game cocktails.

Book your hour with Clue Carre’s Vampire Hunter Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carre comped our tickets for this game.

Clue Carré – The Carnival Heist [Review]

The second most fun you can have in a coat closet.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date Played: June 22, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

The Carnival Heist was a split-team escape room with an unusual twist. We’re torn between deeply enjoying a lot of what Clue Carré created and feeling frustrated by some of the design decisions that made it interesting.

The Carnival Heist offered interesting puzzles. Bring the right team for a communication-heavy escape room and be mindful that if something appears off, that might be by design.

If you’re in the area and looking for something that plays a bit differently, there is a crown here just waiting for you to steal it.

In-game: A purple walled art gallery with Mardi Gras paintings hung from the walls. In the middle of the room encased in glass is a crown on a pedestal.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Unusual take on split-team escape rooms
  • Interesting set of puzzles
  • Fun final sequence

Story

The priceless King’s Crown was on display at the Vieux Carré Art Gallery during Carnival. With a one hour gap in the viewing schedule, our crew needed to sneak into the gallery and steal the work of art.

In-game: an employee breakroom with a locker, schedule, calendar, and a clock in/out machine.

Setting

The Carnival Heist had a split start whereby half of the group entered the art gallery’s employee break room and the other half entered the coat check room. We eventually converged into the gallery itself.

The break room looked like a break room and the coat check looked like a coat closet. They weren’t overwhelmingly impressive locations, but they did look right. The gallery was a bit more impressive, merging the art gallery aesthetic with a Mardi Gras color palette.

In-game: a coat check closet.

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s The Carnival Heist was a split-team escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around communication, deduction, and puzzling.

Analysis

The Carnival Heist offered serious deduction and logic challenges.

+ We enjoyed the repurposing of a small device for a fun reveal.

– One group encountered an order preservation puzzle, which was a problem because we didn’t know until it was too late.

+/- The coat check and break room looked fine and reasonably accurate, but they weren’t exciting locations.

+ When we entered the two different spaces, each team was presented with an interesting mini escape room with unique goals.

– We eventually stalled forward progress due to an unusual split-team implementation. While we intellectually appreciate this unorthodox structure, we didn’t enjoy it in the moment. It was clued – and really hammered in – but especially difficult to interpret in the moment. Once we misunderstood the intent, there was no way to self-correct without gamemaster intervention. This plagued the different groups for a good portion of the split-team part of the experience.

? We liked the idea that once one group entered the gallery, they could quickly let the other group in as well. However, in the moment, we didn’t realize we had this capability. It didn’t matter for us, but we suggest additional cluing in the event that one team is far behind the other.

+ The gallery reveals upped the energy level in the room.

+ We enjoyed the Indiana Jones-like conclusion.

Tips for Visiting

  • We recommend Victory for post-game cocktails.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Carnival Heist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

Clue Carré – The Voodoo Room [Review]

No players were cursed in making this review.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 8, 2017

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau left a trail of puzzles to her last bottle of love potion. Could we retrieve it before the curse she left upon her home took effect?

In-game: A livingroom space with two chairs, a small table with a light, and red walls with many pictures hung from it.

The Voodoo Room was aesthetically cohesive and minimally designed. It had a clear and coherent art direction with few set pieces, many wall hangings, and a lot of open space (relative to the game’s size).

The escape room began approachably and got a touch more grim in the second act. It was just barely spooky, so no need to worry about horror.

Puzzles

The puzzles in The Voodoo Room required meticulous observation and careful searching. We needed to notice oddities, patterns, and connections between various set decor and props.

Standouts

The puzzles in The Voodoo Room flowed one to the next. We connected elements, opened locks, and uncovered more intriguing props. The gameplay worked well and would be accessible and unintimidating to newer players.

In-game: A feathery tophat resting on a bookcase. A glowing red lamp in the background.

One set piece flipped the tone of the space midway though the escape room. It was detailed and just a bit eerie. It made the set that much more exciting.

The final puzzle sequence in The Voodoo Room was superb. It felt magical, as love potions generally do.

Shortcomings

The Voodoo Room was an older escape room and much of the gameplay reflected an older design style. This included some challenging search elements that eventually became tedious time wasters. It also meant that Clue Carré hadn’t built the strongest of connections between puzzles and locks.

There were far too many locks with identical digit structures. We were regularly inputting codes multiple times “just to be certain.”

There was a lot to read in The Voodoo Room. While we didn’t need to hang on every word, we did need to familiarize ourselves with the text. It would be easy to get too caught up in reading and miss all the fun.

The Voodoo Room struggled with lighting and ambiance. Clue Carré could develop a more magical and pointed lighting strategy to eliminate that dimness of voodoo-meets-puzzling environment. (Considering that Clue Carré will be replacing The Voodoo Room in a few months, we don’t recommend that they invest in this idea for this particular room escape, at this point.)

Should I play Clue Carré ‘s The Voodoo Room?

The Voodoo Room was a solid beginner-friendly experience with a few nuggets of unusual innovation that would appeal to experienced players.

The Voodoo Room was one of Clue Carré’s first escape rooms and it has been operating for about 3 years. If you played this a couple years back and feel like this review is more positive than what you saw, that’s because Clue Carré overhauled The Voodoo Room a while back and it plays a lot better than it once did. We had friends shadowing us who had played the original and they were pleasantly surprised with how far The Voodoo Room has come.

If you’re looking for something approachable and locally themed to get started with escape rooms, The Voodoo Room is a great choice. If you’re looking for something special, give Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities a shot. Regardless of your selection, there’s good puzzling to be had.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Voodoo Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

 

Clue Carré – French Quarter House of Curiosities [Review]

Dat dollhouse.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 8, 2017

Team size: up to 7; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

After arriving in the French Quarter, we went to meet our friend Selma, the clerk at the local House of Curiosities shop. We found the door unlocked and our dear friend missing. Could we explore the odd store and solve the mystery of the missing Selma?

In-game: An assortment of globes, scientific diagrams, minerals, and tiny objects in the house of curiosities.

French Quarter House of Curiosities had an intricate set filled with little details and an eclectic assortment of objects, most of which factored into gameplay. Every shelf and display featured something new and different to look at. It was a charming, convincing, and entertaining environment.

Puzzles

French Quarter House of Curiosities included some phenomenal and amusing teamwork puzzles. It also included detail-orientated observational challenges and some good old-fashioned deduction.

The puzzles flowed well.

Standouts

We loved many of the puzzles in French Quarter House of Curiosities. These required teamwork and took place in large spaces, or across spaces, such that they were accessible to multiple players. It worked well.

In-game: the interior of an elaborate dollhouse.

The puzzles in French Quarter House of Curiosities were humorous. On multiple occasions, we found ourselves chuckling as we read clues, spotted Easter eggs, or solved puzzles.

Clue Carré added a lot of detail to the set. This made it all the more intriguing to explore. It was a random but beautiful aesthetic that worked.

So many of the puzzles felt especially satisfying to solve and they flowed well from one to the next.

Shortcomings

The gamespace felt uneven. While parts were meticulously designed, other areas felt much more plain. We would have loved to see the aesthetic permeate every corner and nook of the room escape.

While many of the props and set pieces helped tell a story, at times French Quarter House of Curiosities reverted to more random escape-roomy puzzles, where items connected for the sake of connection and didn’t really make sense in a larger narrative.

Should I play Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities?

French Quarter House of Curiosities was fun, locally-themed group entertainment.

With an interesting set and strong puzzle flow, it will be approachable and entertaining for newbies, but not boring or basic for more experienced players.

Clue Carré was one of the earliest escape room companies in the United States. As the industry grows and evolves, they are progressing with it. French Quarter House of Curiosities excels in places where their earlier escape rooms struggled. It’s exciting to see this early entrant continually adapt.

Bring your curiosity to New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.