60 Out – Galaxy Quest [Review]

[At the time of this review, this game was called Flight of the Pandorus and was operated by Countdown and has since been acquired by 60Out.]

That’s it, man. Game over, man. Game over! … Oh… We won!

Location: Los Angeles, California

Date played: June 2, 2017

Team size: 1-6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

As mercenaries flying about the galaxy doing work for pay, a new client had hired us to create a weapon that would wipe out a hated parasitic species.

Pandorus Mission was set in a magnificently hacked together starship. Made largely from found objects, the set looked like a gorgeous mixture of technology and biology.

In-game: A cockpit glowing green with red accents. It looks like a mix of technology and biology.

Puzzles

The puzzles in Pandorus Mission were baked into the set and its interactions. They generally required us to make connections that weren’t necessarily easy to see at first, but came together swiftly as soon as we understood.

Standouts

The set was beautiful and otherworldly. I loved how Countdown Live Escape Games constructed it largely from junk materials that combined to make something strangely beautiful.

In-game: Part of the ship with glowing green tendrils. Everything looks like a mixture of technology and biology.

Pandorus Mission was hilarious.

The interactions that were born of the set were the highlights.

Shortcomings

In some instances, the set was so busy that it was difficult to find the puzzles.

There were a number of tech failures that cost us somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes of gameplay.

A couple of puzzles repeated a few times; this was a wasted opportunity.

Pandorus Mission attempted to tell a serious story with consequences. This was completely lost on us until our gamemaster pointed it out at the end of the experience. The humor and some of the muddy interaction design completely undermined the narrative. We made a moral decision in this room escape without realizing that we were making a choice.

Should I play Countdown Live Escape Games’s Pandorus Mission?

Countdown Live Escape Games crafted a beautiful set and strong bones in Pandorus Mission. I love it when an escape room company builds a game from inexpensive parts and makes it look like it cost a fortune.

The downside here is that Pandorus Mission is essentially an incomplete game. It looks great, has a number of excellent interactions, and follows a narrative. It’s missing some content, and parts of the experience need additional refinement so that they can carry the narrative weight that they are supposed to.

As we exited Pandorus Mission with seconds on the clock, we had an unusual, and frankly refreshing, interaction with the owner, who pointed out everything that he knew was wrong with the escape room. It seems that this ship is in the shop for a lot of repairs over the next couple of months.

My advice: Play Pandorus Mission, but wait until after summer 2017. If Countdown Live Escape Games sees their iterations through, this will likely become a truly special escape room. It’s got so much going for it, but this ship needs a little more love if it’s going to soar.

Book your hour with 60Out’s Flight of the Pandorus, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Countdown Live Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.

60 Out – Krampus [Review]

[At the time of this review, this game was operated by Countdown and has since been acquired by 60Out.]

‘Greetings from the Krampus!’

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Date played: October 18, 2016

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

2016 RoomEscapeArtist.com Golden Lock-In Award - golden ring around the REA logo turned into a lock.
2016 Golden Lock-In Winner

Story & setting

We were investigating the festive yet morbid apartment of the Krampus killer, which as Countdown’s description implies, was actually the demon-goat monster of Alpine folk-lore.

Krampus, the yin to Saint Nicholas’ yang, brings punishment (and in this case, murder) to naughty children come Christmas time.

gruss_vom_krampus

The set of Krampus was magnificently creepy. It was a dark and twisted home that was intricately decorated for a horrible Christmas. It looked great in a gross and foreboding sort of way.

Puzzles

While the haunted house-esque set was the clear star of Krampus, it had some solid puzzling.

Much of the challenge came from the difficulties of navigating a dark and morbid set, but once we made it past those hurdles, there were sound logic and observational puzzles to work out.

Krampus contained a bonus puzzle that will likely eat up the remaining time of fast-solving teams.

Standouts

The set was intense.

In-game image of a dramatically lit Christmas tree in a dark and creepy home.

The game kept our team on edge from beginning to end.

There was a moment mid-game that was incredible; I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it mimicked by other companies in future games.

Shortcomings

A little too much of the Krampus’ challenge was derived from the dark setting. There were more than a few things to read, and at times it was easy to make a mistake simply because lighting was barely present.

The bonus puzzle wasn’t particularly enticing. It involved a lot of reading and we decided to finish with a fast time instead of puzzling through it.

Should I play Countdown’s Krampus?

Krampus was a great horror escape room.

It was intense, creepy, and memorable. Watching one of our teammates (not Lisa) cling to a wooden stick for half of the game will remain a treasured memory. I don’t frighten easily and Krampus made me jump. It was a good time.

Krampus has some good puzzling, but I wouldn’t recommend it to players who are seeking a puzzle-focused experience.

This was a game for people who are open to feeling some fear, and don’t struggle with seeing and reading in low light. If that sounds right for you, then I highly recommend paying Krampus a visit.

Book your hour with 60Out’s Krampus, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Countdown comped our tickets for this game.