USA Network / Escape the Room – DIG Room Escape [Review]

Location: New York, New York

Date played: February 26, 2015


This room doesn’t have an explicitly stated plot. It has a religion meets archeology, Da Vinci Code-esque feel based on the new television series DIG.

USA DIG Room Escape

Free, Limited Run

This is a free room escape experience with a limited, three week run in five cities:

  • New York City, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Hollywood, California
  • Boston, Massachusetts

If you want to play this, you don’t have a ton of time to do so.


How good can a free escape game be?

The quality far exceeded my expectations. The room is sturdy and well-built, it’s themed impeccably, and each puzzle is both distinct and physically interactive (which really is what I’ve come to expect from the crew at Escape the Room NYC).

What really stood out to me was the lighting. I haven’t encountered a game that is as well-lit.

A limited experience

As beautiful as this room is, it is nevertheless limited by its length.

The game has a 25 minute clock, which makes it the shortest room escape I’ve ever heard of. We completed it in approximately 17 minutes.

The puzzles are all fun, but there aren’t many of them.

DIG Room Escape - Victory

A 10 person game?

We showed up with seven people, and were paired with two guys we had never met. Our nine person team was too many people. It was a bit difficult early on, and then wasn’t terrible later in the game (which is actually the opposite of how excessive numbers usually impacts a room escape).

Some games are terrible with 10 people. This one isn’t bad, but it would be awesome with two to five people. Since you aren’t paying, you don’t get a say in how many people you play with.

Accidental brute force & admonishment

Our game master made a big deal about not circumventing puzzles… And we did… By accident.

There is one puzzle in this that you can brute force by way of a thorough room turndown. We didn’t realize that we circumvented something that we weren’t supposed to until we solved the puzzle that we circumvented.

What was so strange about this is that it is possible to block off the avenues that we took to circumvent the puzzle, they were just left wide open; it was weird.

It was especially weird when the puzzlemaster chastised us for circumventing the puzzle after we escaped (we still solved the thing, we just did it out of order).


This game, it’s facilities, and its staffing are high-end. Really high-end. It feels like it’s something out of Universal Studios.

  • Everyone working there is pretty and perky.
  • Everything is clean and pristine.
  • Every detail is on-brand.

On one hand it’s impressive; looking at it is like looking into the future of escape games.

On the other hand, it lacks character. It’s sterile, and the staff doesn’t have the passion for puzzles and escape games that I have come to expect.

Polish can make something beautiful, but it does so by buffing off all of the rough edges.

Should I play the DIG Room Escape?

If you live near one of these games, and can find time in the next three weeks to go play, you absolutely should.

This isn’t a particularly difficult game, but it’s well-built and beautiful. It’s a genuinely good time.

If you have to travel a long way to play, don’t go. The game is way too short to justify a long journey, but if it’s within reach, playing this is a no-brainer.

Reserve your time with the USA Network / Escape the Room’s DIG Room Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

USA Dig – Escape the Room [Free Escape Game in 5 Cities]

February 27 Update – DIG Room Escape Reviewed

The folks from Escape the Room NYC have been contracted to build a limited run escape game to promote USA Network’s new show DIG.

The show looks like it could be interesting:

To my knowledge, this is the second corporate promotion-backed room escape.


It’s a 30 minute escape game, and is free (provided you can get a reservation).

You can play in New York City, Philadelphia, Orlando, Hollywood and Boston.

The game runs between February 26 and March 8 (with variability between cities).

USA DIG Room Escape

I can’t get to those cities

There is some form of an online DIG escape experience.

I have no idea if it’s any good as I’m not going to attempt it until after I’ve played the real life game.


I have booked my spot for the evening of February 26th. Look for my review later that night.

Escape the Room NYC has some of the strongest rooms in New York, so I have high hopes for this game.

Book your spot now

The available slots are booking up fast.

I recommend claiming your spot now. Tell them the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Escape the Room NYC: The Agency [Review]

Location: New York, New York

Date played: November 23, 2014

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 6-8

Price: $28 per ticket


“You’ve been selected for a top secret mission. You must complete your assignment in one hour or you are relieved of duty.”

Escape the Room NYC


It’s all sorts of James Bond-y, and I mean the room hits you in the face with James Bond, right down to a photo of Sean Connery, and jokes about Moneypenny.

The theme is well-executed, and runs throughout the game. It’s exciting.

That being said, the volume of Bond references got a bit hokey.

Variety & Physical Interactivity

What stands out in this room is the variety of things there are to do. Many of the puzzles involve unique challenges. I won’t give any hints… The downside as a reviewer is that so many of the puzzle elements in this game are so critical that I can’t write about any of them without giving something away.

What I will say is that there is a visual perception changing element that I have been waiting to see someone implement in a room. The moment I saw it, I was giddy.

Escape the Room NYC The Agency

There are key and combo locks, but they are spread throughout the game, and you aren’t spending 60 minutes shouting numbers at people who hack away at locks.

The experience is physically interactive in a way that is exciting.

Clues for the Cluemaster

As nifty as this game is, it is held back by the volume of clues that the puzzlemaster feeds into the room via a monitor.

Often times we had already figured out what the clue was pointing us towards, or if we had another moment, we would have figured it out.

In one instance, one of our people solved something just as the clue telling us what to do came in. She was happy that she solved the puzzle, but the clue stole her thunder.

I prefer it when the team has a finite amount of clues available to them, and the team must trigger the delivery of a clue. It turns clues into a limited resource that must be used wisely. Getting a clue is a decision, not something that happens to you.

From a game design standpoint, if the puzzlemaster has to give every team a clue, then the clue should be baked into the game itself. Let the players discover their way through the game; it’s way more fun than being lead.

Setup Quality Control

The one truly bad part of this game was that during the setup, the puzzlemaster put the wrong lock onto a chest. We had the answer very early on, but couldn’t get the lock off because we never were going to be able to.

Eventually the puzzlemaster silently entered the room and took the lock off for us with no explanation.

This cost us somewhere in the realm of five minutes, and a lot of lost momentum. I probably wouldn’t mention this, however the last time I played a game with Escape the Room NYC they left a lock off of a chest.

I love the folks at Escape the Room NYC, I think they make awesome games, and they are incredibly nice people… But they need to get their quality control locked down. You only get to play these games once; they should be setup correctly.

The Bottom-line

Incorrect locks and a regular stream of clues notwithstanding, this game is a ton of fun.

What I love about Escape the Room NYC games is the sense of adventure that they inspire. This is a deeply creative, and fun game, and one of the best ones that I have experienced in New York City.

Go play it.

Escape the Room NYC – The Agency, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.