Complexity – The Mall [Review]

The Complex City Mall

Location: Farmington, CT

Date Played: June 29, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket on weekdays, $30 per ticket on evenings and weekends

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

The Mall represented a big step forward for Complexity in a number of categories: puzzle complexity, set design, technology, and humor.

While a few of the puzzles could have benefited from a touch more clarity, and there’s room for additional growth in set design, The Mall was challenging, entertaining, and worthy of a visit if you’re in the area.

In-game: The Pizzeria Pie mall Italian restaurant.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Punny mall store names
  • A humorous and light-hearted justification
  • Some really good puzzles
  • Interesting opportunities for teamwork

Story

Wow… I’m unreliable. After a day of shopping at the mall, we were getting ready to leave when I realized that I had lost my wallet and car keys! According to Google Maps, we had one hour before we had to hit the road to make our dinner reservations at our favorite restaurant.

The stakes had never been higher.

In-game: Sign for "Yellow House Orange Market."

Setting

Complexity created a scaled-down approximation of a mall. Each nook, corner, and room in the space represented another store. Each store was given a punny or joke name referencing common mall-based businesses.

In-game: Sign for "Things Forgotten Art Gallery."

Gameplay

Complexity’s The Mall was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

Analysis

+ The set was almost like a cartoon. We never felt like we were in a mall, but we always knew exactly what they were striving for. It was charming and engaging.

In-game: The "Daily Specials" white board.

+ Complexity justified our presence in The Mall and our goal to escape with a delightfully humorous backstory.

– While the premise justified the experience, it didn’t justify the puzzles. The justification devolved into a puzzle room pretty quickly.

+ The puzzles were challenging and engaging.

– The Mall had a rough difficulty curve. Some of the earlier puzzles seemed particularly challenging and the balance of effort-to-reward felt a bit off.

– We missed a few tech-driven opens. Added springs and directional audio or light cues would help turn reveals into events, reducing confusion and adding drama.

+ Complexity’s Apple Store was as white as it was enjoyable.

+ Multiple puzzles required teamwork and communication.

The Mall was entertaining. Every time we opened a new space, we delighted in the witty reveal.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is a parking lot out front.
  • We recommend Cugino’s for Italian cuisine nearby.

Book your hour with Complexity’s The Mall, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Complexity comped our tickets for this game.

Complexity – The Pirate Ship [Review]

Raid thee galleon and plunder thee swag!

Location: Farmington, CT

Date played: December 12, 2016

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

With the crew ashore for the evening, celebrating the commandeering of a new ship, we  snuck back aboard to search for any treasure left by the previous captain.

The Pirate Ship took place aboard the deck of a ship, under the cover of nighttime. The ship itself was a handcrafted, wooden-planked “vessel” built into a room at Complexity. It looked great and felt like a pirate playground.

In-game: The side of the deck of a pirate ship. Large ropes weave through the posts.

Puzzles

The puzzles were thematically sound, designed around items that belonged aboard a ship, and included lots of locked loot boxes. They didn’t convey a story arc, but they felt at home in the environment.

Complexity made great use of their space by custom building large-scale puzzle interactions into their set pieces.

Standouts

There were a few interactive pirate ship components that solved in incredibly satisfying ways. We appreciated when the set and the puzzles came together.

The Pirate Ship was clearly handcrafted with care, love, and attention to detail. It was a fun place to inhabit.

Shortcomings

Despite the details, the room escape sometimes felt rough around the edges.

Late in The Pirate Ship, we encountered a section that wasn’t up to the production level we’d come to expect from the experience. It felt like Complexity ran out of steam.

We opened a lot of locked boxes aboard The Pirate Ship. This felt like a missed opportunity to unlock the ship itself, perhaps by way of compartments constructed into the deck rather than an assortment of boxes.

Should I play Complexity’s The Pirate Ship?

The Pirate Ship was more than a puzzle room; it was a treasure heist aboard the deck of a pirate ship. The puzzles and the environment worked in tandem to deliver a strong experience.

Although it had some rough edges, it was clearly constructed with passion and skill.

Our experienced team blew through this room escape. We would have loved a little bit longer aboard. However, newer players and smaller teams will find quite a bit here to sink their anchor into.

Book your hour with Complexity’s The Pirate Ship, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Complexity provided media discounted tickets for this game.