Eludesions Escape Rooms – Mad Hatter’s Tea Party [Review]

Curiouser

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32.95 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Playing The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was an absolutely delightful stroll through the Alice in Wonderland storyline. With few nonsensical exceptions, the game flowed well and invited enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike to engage their imaginations with a myriad of spot-on Alice in Wonderland references. Beginning at the beginning, we found ourselves in a fairytale space that smoothly onboarded us into a world of croquet grounds, Cheshire cats grinning, and Queens that rather preferred you did not have your head.

As we traveled through the scenes, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party built experiences via a rich mix of puzzle types, encouraging our party of explorers to continually alter our approach. Not all who wander are lost; this escape room rewarded us for individually exploring and interacting with a space easily expansive enough to keep a group of 4-5 entertained.

A room with many colorful doors.

Our primary critique of the experience came towards the middle of our journey with a challenge that would have benefited from gating. Between the unnecessary puzzling and subsequent missing information when it was appropriate to solve, this obstacle temporarily sapped most of the enthusiasm from our group. Later finding out that difficulty solving wasn’t due to a search fail – that some of the information simply wasn’t present – only compounded our frustration.

If you are in the greater Phoenix region, this is the type of escape room that I would not hesitate to recommend that you bring your family to for a fun-filled journey through the looking glass.

Who is this for?

  • Young at heart
  • Scenery aficionados
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Lively group dynamics
  • Amusing storybook references

Story

Our jovial group of explorers suddenly found ourselves with the opportunity to explore Wonderland…what adventures to be had!

Closeup of multi-colored doors.
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Eludesions Escape Rooms – The Painter’s Collection [Review]

A grim gallery

Location:  Phoenix, AZ

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32.95 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

We left The Painter’s Collection feeling conflicted and confused.

On one hand, the set was quite pretty, making excellent use of beautiful art coupled with some interesting interactions. There was a unique aesthetic. Someone had clearly put a lot of effort into The Painter’s Collection.

Closeup of a black and white painting of a cursed old man.

On the other hand, the gameplay felt fragmented and many of the puzzles were irritatingly under-clued. The amount of times we triggered/ solved something and didn’t know why our approach worked or took a hint which left us wondering “how were we ever supposed to know how to do that?” was disappointing.

Maybe it was too many cooks in the kitchen or too few… I don’t know… but this meal was undercooked.

The good news for Eludesions Escape Rooms is that The Painter’s Collection was 95% of the way to greatness… and it shouldn’t take much to get it there. However, that missing 5% was clue structure and playability, and that’s critical. I hope that Eludesions does the work to make this game as great as it ought to be. It’s too cool to be left in its current state.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Witchcraft fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Great set and art direction
  • Clever interactions

Story

When a painter was falsely accused of witchcraft, the townspeople raided his home and learned the terrible truth that his daughter was actually a witch. She preserved her father in a painting to keep him close… and then began luring townspeople to her home to trap their souls in her art.

The young witch intended for us to become her next victims.

A glowing fireplace in an old-looking living room. Beside it is a large painting of an older man.
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