Escape STL – Investigation of a Miss Treedeath [Review]

I can feel it coming in the mail tonight.

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 22, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $23.95 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Our group had a really good time in Investigation of a Miss Treedeath. We laughed. We puzzled. We made fun of our friend who did something really silly and broke the game requiring intervention from the gamemaster… and since then we’ve been spamming him with ridiculous postcards because we’re great friends and jerks in equal amounts.

In-game: The door to the room opening revealing a hallway for an apartment building.

Our antics aside, Escape STL produced a really good traditional escape room that came with a humorous twist. It didn’t look all that impressive from the photos because it was staged in an accurate yet mundane manner… which was emblematic of Investigation of a Miss Treedeath’s biggest issue: It needed to steer into its wackiness.

This could be a fantastic and memorable game if Escape STL leaned into the funnier side of the story that they produced. This game could… and probably should… be dark comedy with puzzles from beginning to end.

From a puzzle and game design standpoint, this was one of the stronger escape rooms that we played during our trip to St Louis. If that’s the kind of escape room play that you’re seeking, then give this one a shot.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Tongue-in-cheek design
  • Solid puzzles
  • A humorous story

Story

We were rogue detectives investigating Miss Amanda Treedeath under suspicion of murder. We had to break into her apartment and see if we could dredge up some evidence of her suspected crimes.

In-game: an apartment building mailbox.

Setting

Investigation of a Miss Treedeath was an apartment escape game. We began in the apartment building’s hallway and then progressed into a rather convincing apartment dwelling.

It wasn’t an exciting environment by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt like what it was striving to be.

In-game: The hallway for an apartment building.

Gameplay

Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: an advertisement offering a reward for a lost puppy.

Analysis

➕ Investigation of a Miss Treedeath put a humorous spin on a traditional escape room setup. Escape STL teed up the experience well with the tone in the lobby and the in-character gamemaster.

➕ By solving the puzzles, we developed a deeper sense of the character in whose apartment we spent our 60 minutes. This added depth to the game.

➕ The gameplay worked well. The puzzles solved cleanly.

➕/➖ Escape STL’s staging made the set feel especially… apartment-y. It was a convincing set, but there was nothing special, exciting, or enticing about having an adventure in… an apartment.

➕/➖ We enjoyed the playful tone of Investigation of a Miss Treedeath. Escape STL could lean into this more, especially in the staging, to up the intrigue of the apartment staging.

➖ There was opportunity for Escape STL to surprise players more dramatically than they did.

➕/➖ Escape STL gave each team a score. After we escaped within the allotted 60 minutes, they asked us investigative questions to determine our score. While we liked the tiered goals, we would have preferred the investigation questions be incorporated into the gameplay. Reporting our answers back made these solves feel tacked onto the experience.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape STL provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape MSP – Dr. K’s Lethal Injection [Review]

Pack extra eyes.

Location: St Paul, Minnesota

Date played: August 20, 2017

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 6-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per ticket

Story & setting

Dr. Kevorkianstein planned to infect the world with a virus and get rich selling the cure. As agents of the CDC, we had to infiltrate his lab to steal the cure.

In game: A laboratory setting with large machinery and a locked cabinet.

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection had a standard stark white aesthetic with a wider variety of real life lab equipment than most other laboratory escape rooms. Labs may not be the most exciting environments, but this one looked authentic.

Puzzles

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection was primarily a game of searching and connection building; there was a lot to find. Late-game it transformed into a puzzling experience.

In game: A laboratory setting depicting the top of a centrifuge, sink, and counter space with lab equipment.

Standouts

There were a few significant and compelling setpieces. The escape room’s primary late-game focal point was particularly cool.

Escape MSP did a good job creating the science lab aesthetic.

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection had an exciting, dramatic ending.

Shortcomings

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection included a substantial focus on searching. We spent a lot of time finding objects, some of which seemed important, but turned out to be completely irrelevant.

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection had significant upkeep issues. One important clue had worn off from a puzzle and we lost a lot of time because we didn’t know it was relevant. Some props were broken in ways that made puzzle solving into guesswork.

There were a lot of red herrings and puzzles with fuzzy answers. All of this served to water down the experience.

The name of the game’s villain,”Dr. Kevorkianstein,” seemed unnecessary. The real-life Dr. Kevorkian was a controversial figure in the debate over physician-assisted suicide. Reasonable people can strongly agree or disagree with Dr. Kevorkian. The suffix notwithstanding, I had a visceral reaction to seeing his name reduced to that of a generic genocidal super-villain… especially since it was a completely unnecessary plot detail, which also wasn’t relevant in the gameplay.

Should I play Escape MSP’s Dr. K’s Lethal Injection?

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection was a search-centered, large-team beginner’s escape room. That’s not to say that it was easy; it wasn’t. The set looked good and the tech was fun and responsive. However, Escape MSP constructed the gameplay around finding things. In that way, it will hold far more appeal for newbies. Any player who puts in any effort can greatly contribute by simply finding things; there was a lot to uncover.

Experienced players will likely be frustrated by Dr. K’s Lethal Injection as it usually follows that the more games the players plays, the less keen they become on substantial searching.

Dr. K’s Lethal Injection was not our style of room escape, but we can absolutely see the appeal. Bring a big team and don’t let the stark white walls fool you. There are plenty of places to hide things in a seemingly minimalistic laboratory.

Book your hour with Escape MSP’s Dr. K’s Lethal Injection, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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