Escape Room Adventures WNY – Escape from The Raven’s Room [Review]

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” – Edgar Allan Poe

Location: North Tonawanda, NY

Date played: April 30, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $22.50 per ticket

Story & setting

It was 1849 and Edgar Allan Poe had just passed away. We snuck into his home to pay our respects and found ourselves locked in his office. Could we escape his final project and puzzle our way to freedom, or remain trapped forever more?

Staged within Poe’s office, the set was simple yet elegant.

In-game; A writing desk set in front of a fireplace.

Puzzles

The puzzling was a series of ciphers and literary references-turned-puzzles, all of which were more than at home in a Poe-themed room escape.

Standouts

Escape Room Adventures WNY did a beautiful job of translating a number of Poe references into puzzles. One early interaction was exceptionally inventive.

The ending was similarly brilliant.

Shortcomings

There was a run of tedious puzzles in the middle of Escape from The Raven’s Room that did not live up to the excitement and innovation of the early- and late-game interactions.

There were too many locks with similar digit structures. This made it occasionally difficult to tell which answers went where.

Should I play Escape Room Adventures WNY’s Escape from The Raven’s Room?

Escape from The Raven’s Room had some of the most elegant literary references-turned-puzzles that I’ve seen to date. There were some brilliant moments within this escape room that I absolutely loved.

That said, Escape from The Raven’s Room also felt incomplete. It left me wanting more of the magnificent literature-inspired puzzling that I know Escape Room Adventures WNY is capable of creating.

If you like Poe’s work, it’s absolutely worth giving Escape from The Raven’s Room a playthrough, regardless of your skill level.

If you aren’t familiar with Poe, you’ll still be able to appreciate some of Escape Room Adventures WNY’s design decisions, but you will miss things.

If Escape Room WNY were to bring the middle section of Escape from The Raven’s Room up to the level of the opening and closing, it would be a truly magnificent experience. I hope that they do it.

Book your hour with Escape Room Adventures WNY’s Escape from The Raven’s Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room Adventures WNY comped our tickets for this game.

 

Escape Room Adventures WNY – Escape from Wonderland [Review]

“It’s always tea-time.”

Location: North Tonawanda, NY

Date played: January 21, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

We found ourselves locked away in the Queen of Hearts’ dungeon. We had to puzzle our way our of Wonderland before we lost our heads.

Escape from Wonderland spanned a few settings within Wonderland. The early dungeon set was vibrant, as you’d expect from a dungeon in that world, but also bland, in that there wasn’t a lot to interact with. The later sets were lushly decorated.

In game - the Queen of Heart's dungeon. The walls are painted red with card suites on it, and many locked boxes sit on shelves.

Puzzles

Escape from Wonderland’s puzzling experience was broad and varied.

The earliest puzzle was simple, yet tedious. After that, the puzzles became more interesting.

Escape Room Adventures WNY created some unusual puzzles. There was a recurring answer mechanism early in the game, a recreation of a classic Survivor puzzle, and a complex third act.

Standouts

The final set looked great and compelling.

There were some excellent puzzles to solve and a fair amount of complexity for experienced players to sink their teeth into.

The simple fact that we were ourselves in Wonderland, neither as Alice nor as some other established character, allowed us to simply be us. It was a minor detail that we greatly appreciated.

The Survivor puzzle was a great concept.

Shortcomings

While I loved the Survivor puzzle, there wasn’t enough room for more than two people to work on it at once. This amplified its difficulty and left a lot of our team with nothing to do.

There was a particular type of challenge that players can either do, or they can’t. I can’t, which was frustrating.

There came a point where the room escape relied on a little bit of Alice in Wonderland knowledge. While I am sure that most teams will have at least one player with this outside knowledge, it’s not guaranteed.

While working on the complex third act, we called for a hint and received an outright solution to the bulk of the final act. This left us with an abundance of puzzle pieces, a solution, and no idea how it all came together or which bits were still unused to complete our escape. Upon slogging through to completion, our gamemaster remarked how difficult it was to watch us in those closing minutes… which was funny… because we found it pretty difficult to experience.

Should I play Escape Room Adventures WNY’s Escape from Wonderland?

Escape from Wonderland was an interesting game. It was equal parts expected and outlandish, which beautifully captured the essence of Alice in Wonderland.

Its strengths were challenging puzzles and some great set design. It was abundantly clear that this experience was created with passion and love.

Its weaknesses were an uncomfortable bottleneck, a challenge that some will literally find impossible, and in our case, a derailment in the form of overeager hinting. They are all correctable.

Beginners will likely find themselves facing some large challenges in Escape from Wonderland. Experienced players will discover a final act that is a truly worthy opponent. I wish that we could have received a more gentle hint and tackled that beast.

Book your hour with Escape Room Adventures WNY’s Escape from Wonderland, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room Adventures WNY comped our tickets for this game.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Niagara Falls, NY from May 1-3, 2017. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario, to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.