Escape Games Worcester – Fallout [Review]

Nuclear winter is coming.

Location: Worcester, MA

Date played: September 21, 2017

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per ticket

Story & setting

The Cold War had turned hot and the bombs had fallen. Now, decades later, we returned to the site to explore an old fallout shelter.

In-game: A dramatically lit, metal bunker with a red pipe in the foreground.

Escape Games Worcester produced a creative and detailed gamespace that wasn’t a shelter so much as it was a foreboding and malevolent site. Fallout wasn’t scary, but it felt like something had… or maybe still could… go wrong.

Puzzles

Fallout followed a linear puzzle structure born of tactile interactions. Nearly everything seemed to belong in the environment.

In-game: A wide angle image of the bunker. Doors and interactions lining the walls, a chainlink fence dividing part of the room.

Standouts

Escape Games Worcester built a top-notch set. Through this, they created an exciting but disquieting atmosphere that instilled an urgency in our exploration.

In-game: A metal door beside a tube glowing blue.

The puzzles were well integrated into the set interactions. These were fun and flowed well.

We especially enjoyed the culminating puzzle, which engaged us as a team.

Shortcomings

Fallout struggled with unnecessary bottlenecking throughout the escape room. As an entirely linear team game, there were stretches when any given player could only watch and wait to see what would come next.

The first puzzle was not intuitive, which made it hard to find where the game began. Fallout lacked an onramp.

One important late-game puzzle sequence involved penalties in the form of play stoppage. While we like failure to have consequences, the halted gameplay killed the intensity of the moment. For teams with hardly any time on the clock at this point, it would be a discouraging way to lose the game.

Should I play Escape Games Worcester’s Fallout?

Fallout was a series of fun puzzle interactions in an intense and exciting environment. There were interesting creations to look at and explore in the gamespace.

Everything had a purpose, which wasn’t always obvious. Once untangled, everything resolved in a tangible manner.

We recommend Fallout to players of all experience levels. It was a neat gamespace. Newer players might struggle to get their bearings, but once you get moving, the room escape flows well.

There’s plenty of room for friends, but Fallout engages only 1-3 people at any given moment with an active and solvable puzzle. Be patient.

Book your hour with Escape Games Worcester’s Fallout, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Games Worcester provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Escape Games Worcester – Conspiracy [Review]

Interchangeable history.

Location: Worcester, MA

Date played: October 23, 2016

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26.50 per ticket

Story & setting

Conspiracy took place in Marilyn Monroe’s dressing room in the “1950s or 1960s.” We were supposedly investigating her death… and in doing so stumbled upon a conspiracy that raised the stakes of our investigation.

The “50s/60s” time frame was curiously vague and was the first indicator of a larger issue: an utter disregard for the most basic historical facts.

The gamespace was themed as a dressing room conglomeration of eras past. The background music was from the 1930s. It felt hacked together.

Image of the dressing room. The mirror and vanity in the distance. Antique glassware rests on a wooden table in the foreground.

Puzzles

Conspiracy was a game of connections.

There was a variety of moderately challenging puzzles.

The hardest part was finding and connecting relevant items to derive the intended meaning. We struggled not over the puzzles, but with losing the thread of gameplay amidst the items.

Image of a large, old, wooden radio.

Standouts

At its best, Conspiracy merged props and technology into puzzles. The dressing room transformed some cool and historically authentic items into interesting game components.

Conspiracy built interactions into some unexpected things.

Shortcomings

While Escape Games Worcester designed solid technical interactions, their haphazard construction telegraphed the game. Exposed wires announced what otherwise could have been surprising moments.

The room escape incorporated props that were needlessly ugly and a few were downright unappealing to interact with.

One part of the game was left totally raw and unfinished. It appeared that Escape Games Worcester neither attempted to design this section, nor worked the lack of aesthetic aspects into a story arc.

The history and storytelling were bad.

Should I play Escape Games Worcester’s Conspiracy?

Conspiracy had a lot of good ideas with spotty execution. From the older props to the newer technology, this game included solid elements. It just didn’t come together as a polished product.

Our team was well versed in history and grew frustrated by the anachronisms in the kind-of-sort-of story.

For newer players, there’s still a lot to experience here. There is a set, a wealth of logic connections, and some cool interactions.

Experienced players will find that Conspiracy doesn’t approach the set and story design, puzzle challenge, or polished execution they have come to experience in major markets. That said, Worcester is a considerable distance from those places.

After we played Conspiracy, we poked our heads into their newest game, still under construction at the time. While we can’t speak to the gameplay or puzzles, it looked like Escape Games Worcester will be raising the bar on scenery and minding the details in their next outing.

We look forward to a return trip, as we think they have a lot of potential.

Book your hour with Escape Games Worcester’s Conspiracy, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.