Escape Haus – Forensics Classroom [Review]

Killer class.

Location:  New Braunfels, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

Team size: 6-12; we recommend 5-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

In Forensics Classroom we solved more puzzles and opened more locks than in almost any other escape room we’ve played to date. This was a puzzle frenzy.

In-game: A classroom with desks, lockers, bulletin boards, and cubbies.

The varied and approachable puzzles solved cleanly and flowed well from one lock to the next. They were generally thematic, but didn’t convey narrative. Occasionally, they felt a bit too process-y for our liking in a timed game.

If you enjoy puzzles, Forensics Classroom would be an amazing way to spend an hour, especially if you’re on the road from San Antonio to Austin, or spending time in either city. If puzzles aren’t your calling, you’ll probably want to cut this class.

Who is this for?

  • Large groups
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Adorable theming
  • Volume of puzzles

Story

With Miss Enigma’s forensics class all but complete, we had 60 minutes to complete her final examination and prove the ability of our class to collaborate and solve problems under pressure.

In-game: Lockers, bag hangers, and a map of the USA in a classroom.

Setting

Forensics Classroom was a revamp of Escape Haus’ earlier Kid’s Classroom.

Kid’s Classroom was a bright and convincing school setting. Forensics Classroom was essentially the same space with a few of the brighter elements swapped out and a completely new set of puzzles.

In-game: A classroom with bulletin boards, locks, a human skeleton model, and an overhead projector.

Gameplay

Escape Haus’ Forensics Classroom was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

The difficulty was mainly due to the high volume of puzzle content.

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

Analysis

➕ Forensics Classroom was well themed. From the child-sized desks to the cubbies, it was an elementary-esque classroom. The decor and puzzles leaned into forensics. This strange hybrid theme totally worked… even if the desks seemed a bit small for forensics students.

➕ Forensics Classroom was jam-packed with puzzles. Over all, they were approachable and enjoyable.

❓ While many of the puzzles were aha solves, we stumbled upon a few long process puzzles that ate a lot of time. Feelings on this will vary from player to player.

➕ We especially enjoyed puzzles that turned classroom objects into interesting puzzles.

➖ We didn’t get a sense of adventure from this escape room. It was a one-note, puzzle-solving marathon. We would have liked to unlock a grand reveal or surprising moment.

➕/➖ Escape Haus designed multiple puzzle paths into this escape room. Once we unlocked a path, we followed it sequentially from lock to lock. Given the volume of puzzles and locks in the game, this structure was helpful. We always knew where to input a solution. That said, we found it difficult to open a new puzzle path. We wasted a lot of time early on before we understood that we could simultaneously open multiple puzzle paths.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Bring a large team.
  • Try to open multiple puzzle paths as quickly as possible so that you can parallel puzzle throughout the hour.

Book your hour with Escape Haus’ Forensics Classroom, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Haus comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Haus – Backstage at the Magic Show [Review]

For my next trick…

Location: New Braunfels, TX

Date played: January 8, 2017

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket, $20 per ticket if booking for 5 or more players

Story & setting

After landing our dream job as magician’s assistants, we had unfortunately locked ourselves in the prop room. We had to escape with enough time to prepare for the show.

Backstage at the Magic Show’s set was a hodgepodge of performance magic-related items. The centerpiece was the “saw the lady in half” prop, an object that I had never actually touched before. This one was more be-glittered than I was expecting.

In game - the "saw the lady in half" prop sits front and center. Many other magic show props are displayed in the background.

The set made a good first impression, but as the game wore on, it felt a little shallow.

Puzzles

The puzzling in Backstage at the Magic Show was a bit choppy. While some elements of the game had excellent nuance and attention to detail, other elements felt bewilderingly forgotten.

Standouts

Escape Haus created simple yet effective blacklight interaction.

Everything in the game pulled on the theme and related props.

Shortcomings

The puzzles felt disconnected from the story and weren’t memorable.

The set made a great first impression, but it didn’t go anywhere.

There were far too many locked boxes with similar digit structures. It became tedious constantly trying the same combinations over and over until we found the correct lock.

Should I play Escape Haus’ Backstage at the Magic Show?

From the set to the puzzles, I wanted more magic.

Backstage at the Magic Show was a functional game. It didn’t have much that was absolutely wrong with it, but it also didn’t have anything that was especially right either. We struggled to find a favorite moment because so much of the game felt so similar.

If you’ve played all that Escape Haus has to offer and need a puzzle fix, you could do worse, but if there’s anything else to play at Escape Haus, I’d book it instead.

Book your hour with Escape Haus’ Backstage at the Magic Show, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Haus comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Haus – Game Suite [Review]

Hey! Uncle Milton! Thanks for the free parking!

Location: New Braunfels, TX

Date played: January 8, 2017

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket, $20 per ticket if booking for 5 or more players

Story & setting

Our tabletop game-creating Uncle Milton has passed away. If we can win one final game that he has left for us, he will bequeath his board game fortune to us. If we lose, his estate will be donated to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Built entirely around tabletop and casino games, Game Suite was less visually impactful than the other offerings at Escape Haus. It was cute but pretty sparse.

In game: A one armed bandit slot machine rests in the foreground. A massive chess board is built into the floor.

Puzzles

Game Suite was not the puzzliest of games. There was a fair amount of searching, some deciphering, and quite a bit of counting.

One puzzle was seriously clever; solving it felt like a triumph.

Standouts

Escape Haus did a great job of incorporating a lot of tabletop games into Game Suite. Nearly every puzzle was born of a game.

In game: a card table with a game of poker in progress sits in the foreground, assorted games and gaming related things reside in the background.

Everything was clearly clued and cleanly executed, even when it wasn’t immediately obvious.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster reference was an exceptional detail.

Shortcomings

The puzzling wasn’t particularly strong. Some of the more task-based interactions overstayed their welcome.

A large set piece wasn’t relevant to the game.

Game Suite didn’t look or feel like it had much gravity.

Should I play Escape Haus’ Game Suite?

Cute and entertaining, Game Suite’s setup had us laughing.

While it wasn’t Escape Haus’ best looking, most challenging, or most compelling game, it was still fun to play.

Game Suite was a solid beginner game; it was player-friendly and unintimidating. Experienced players could sit this one out.

That said, Game Suite would be an exceptional game for families with children. Many of the tasks that turned me off would be perfect for kids.

Book your hour with Escape Haus’ Game Suite, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Haus comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Haus – Kid’s Classroom [Review]

If the teacher doesn’t show up, how long do we have to stay?

Location: New Braunfels, TX

Date played: January 8, 2017

Team size: 6-12; we recommend 6-12 (mostly kids)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket, $20 per ticket if booking for 5 or more players

Audience: children

Story & setting

The teacher went home sick, the substitute no-showed, and we were locked in the classroom. We had to puzzle our way out in time to make the school bus.

Kid’s Classroom looked like a classroom for young kids. The decor included tiny desks, small chairs, little lockers, and all of the brightly colored educational wall hangings that you expect in an elementary school classroom.

It wasn’t a fancy looking game, but to the best of my memory, they nailed the look.

In-game, small school desks set in a classroom with brightly colored posters on the walls.

Puzzles

I think there were 21 puzzles in Kid’s Classroom. There was a lot to do; especially for our 2-person team. The good news was that all of the puzzles were designed for children, so they were fast solves… unless we overthought something… which may have happened a few times.

The few interactions that took some doing were process-driven. For most teams, these would occupy lots or all of the children for a little while.

Standouts

I have no problems imagining a small hoard of older elementary schoolers having a blast in this room escape that was clearly designed for them.

Kid’s Classroom was, for all intents and purposes, a classroom.

In game: The wall displays the alphabet and also reads,

There was one larger prop that was used brilliantly in a few ways. It was simple, clever, and slick.

Shortcomings

Kid’s Classroom was not a game for adults. This isn’t so much a shortcoming as it is a warning.

One item in the room perpetually seemed like it should hold the right answer to a puzzle. We kept returning to it and inspecting closely. That grew old fast.

The game was broken up into a few tracks and it was challenging to identify where the tracks began. Especially in a game for kids, stronger cluing could remove unnecessary uncertainty.

Children spend a lot of time in classrooms. I can imagine far more fun environments designed for children to investigate. An escape room is an opportunity to explore something fantastic, rather than the all-too-familiar classroom.

Should I play Escape Haus’ Kid’s Classroom?

We saw a group of tween girls leave Kid’s Classroom and they were all smiles and exuberance.

If you’re looking for a kid-friendly escape room, Kid’s Classroom would be a great option. If you’re adults looking for an escape room at Escape Haus, I’d suggest you explore their other offerings. Kid’s Classroom is not designed for adults.

Book your hour with Escape Haus’ Kid’s Classroom, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Haus comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Haus -Egyptian Mysteries [Review]

The name “Isis” has been seriously ruined.

Location: New Braunfels, TX

Date played: January 7, 2017

Team size: 6-12; we recommend 2-8 (depending upon experience level)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket, $20 per ticket if booking for 5 or more players

Story & setting

A renowned egyptologist had made a key discovery and was promptly abducted by individuals who wanted to keep his discovery a secret. We had an hour to piece his work back together in order to learn his discovery before those who had captured him reached his office and destroyed his work.

If the Egypt section of a children’s history museum had a baby with a Franklin Mint store, it would be Egyptian Mysteries. Made up of display cases of artifacts, a massive wall mural, and a Sphinx that was larger than the smallest escape room I’ve ever played, Egyptian Mysteries was vibrant, inviting, and academic yet playful.

In-game, the walls are painted in hieroglyphics, small locked boxes lay about, and a massive sphinx statue sits in the middle of the room.

Puzzles

Egyptian Mysteries was a large game that was designed for player friendliness. There were a ton of straightforward puzzles to solve. None of them were particularly challenging nor did they overstay their welcome.

This was Escape Haus’ style for their large games: Everything was eminently solvable, so long as we observed the room carefully and kept organized.

Standouts

The mural and sphinx were pretty damn cool.

The puzzling was fun and uncomplicated.

Everything was thoughtfully designed.

The Escape Haus facilities and staff were caring and friendly.

Shortcomings

Egyptian Mysteries felt a little heavy on boxes. It would have been great to see more of the game built into the set.

Similarly, a lot of the puzzles felt small and disconnected. A few more puzzle interactions involving the large set pieces would have gone a long way.

The story lacked gravity and had nearly no impact on the game.

Should I play Escape Haus’ Egyptian Mysteries?

Escape Haus was located between Austin and San Antonio, Texas. We had to go out of our way to visit them, 50 minutes in each direction from Austin. Amanda Harris (who played her 400th escape room on this trip to Texas) and I did it twice because we wanted to go back to Escape Haus for more.

Egyptian Mysteries was simple, but we left the game feeling joyful and energized. Everything from the waiting room, to their games, to the staff felt welcoming.

I am legitimately not sure how many people would make an ideal team size for Egyptian Mysteries. Amanda and I plowed through everything in approximately 40 minutes, but this wasn’t a company designed to accommodate seasoned room escapers.

It was, however, an exceptional game for newbies. On the drive back to Austin, I told Amanda, “It wasn’t hard, and I wouldn’t recommend someone fly across the country to play it… but I would be happy if that was everyone’s first game. It would be good for the industry.” New Braunfels, Texas. Who knew?

Book your hour with Escape Haus’ Egyptian Mysteries, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Haus comped our tickets for this game.