Escapology – Dallas (Victory Park) TX – Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure [Review]

Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

There’s a very logical explanation for all this.

Location: Dallas, TX

Date Played: March 30, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As an experience built around a cherished piece of nostalgia, Scooby Doo and the Spooky Castle Adventure delivered a thorough homage to the show. The main characters (and their voices) each made important appearances, the entire set felt like a cartoon (if not necessarily a castle), and several more minor allusions appeared throughout. Beyond the licensed IP content, however, the escape room elements also reflected the show’s essence. The puzzles fit in the Scooby world, and Mystery Inc.’s sole purpose of solving mysteries was ripe for this escape room adaptation. Scooby fans should be pleased.

A case with knight's armor beside a box of Scooby Snacks.

Of course, not every Scooby fan is an escape room fan, so the other thing that this room did well for its audience was scaffolding the puzzle-solving process. As puzzle difficulty steadily increased throughout the room, we were provided explicit instructions for how to think toward the solutions. There were still reveals, minor ahas, and some tricky execution points within this process, but it was the most explicit training I have seen in an escape room.

Ultimately, this room did what it set out to do: enabled Scooby Doo fans to enjoy a thematic, puzzle-focused adventure, even without prior puzzling experience. It clearly prioritized Scooby Doo fans of all ages over escape room enthusiasts, but the latter may still appreciate this game if they have any nostalgia for the show or fans to entertain.

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Escapology Austin – Star Trek: Quantum Filament [Review]

There’s been a polarity shift in the antimatter containment system…

Location: Round Rock, TX

Date Played: May 13, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $38.50 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: There are flashing lights in this room.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

This room was defined not only by its strong execution of the Star Trek theme but also by the palpable intensity it developed through its story, set, and the difficulty of its puzzles.

Star Trek fans (and Discovery aficionados in particular) will recognize characters, voices, iconography, and ambiance in this room. It leaned into the pseudo-scientific, technological nature of Star Trek, speaking more to the geeky side of the series than to any of its specifically memorable situations or tasks. Most of the sense of adventure came from a couple of appropriately jarring and intense sequences. The rest of the game was a marathon of dense puzzles.

As a puzzling experience, the room was challenging in ways that suited the theme well but won’t appeal to everyone. Most puzzles involved 1) multiple levels of converting information into different forms, 2) interpreting and/ or entering many alphanumeric codes, 3) executing the solution process 6-8 times, and 4) no intermediate feedback. Combinatorially, then, the opportunity for error was staggering. On top of this, somehow none of the touchscreen keypads offered a backspace key. Come on, 23rd century technology!

A science lab on a star ship.
Image via Escapology

However, the strength of this particular design was that each puzzle benefited significantly from coordination among team members, usually enabling all four of us to contribute simultaneously. We all kept busy and felt like we played a significant role in saving the ship.

Ultimately, as a band of casual-to-mid-level Trekkies, we enjoyed role-playing on a convincing starship set and felt that our victory was hard-won. This was one of Escapology’s best games and is worth checking out if you have one in town.

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Escapology Austin – Budapest Express [Review]

At the time of this review, this escape room was called Assassination Express. There may be slight changes in the game between the version we reviewed in 2019 called Assassination Express and the current version under the name Budapest Express.

Budpest Express is one of the best escape rooms in Austin. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in Austin.

Whistle stop

Location:  Round Rock, Texas

Date Played: February 1, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Assassination Express is unique to Escapology in Austin, TX. It is their version of the popular Escapology game Budapest Express, available at many other franchises.

In-game: A vase with roses, two wine glasses, and a bottle on a table before a window with a snow storm beyond it.

Escapology Austin created a beautiful and detailed dining car to stage this game. It was a ton of fun to explore and puzzle through. Although the aesthetics diminished in the second act, Assassination Express hurtled towards an explosive conclusion.

If you’re in Austin, we recommend Assassination Express for puzzlers and scenery aficionados alike. This would be a great first game for escape room newbies. While it won’t offer experienced players anything extraordinary, it’s still a fun playthrough with some lovely details.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The introduction
  • The gorgeous train car
  • Solid puzzles


We were transported to a train traversing Minnesota in 1932. Franklin D. Roosevelt was aboard on his presidential campaign… and someone trying to disrupt history had planted a bomb. We had to stop the bomb and ensure the proper flow of the time stream.

In-game: Red and gold curtains covering the wood walls and a window with a snow storm.


We entered into a beautiful old train car with wood trim, velvet curtains, and a snow squall happening outside. It was a visually striking set, especially at first glance.

In my experience, Escapology games usually have an elegant first room, and then the level of detail, square footage, and visual appeal drop off with subsequent rooms. That was true of Assassination Express. The second act’s set design wasn’t on the same level as the first.


Escapology Austin’s Assassination Express was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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


‚ěē As time travelers, our experience started with getting to Minnesota in 1932. We weren’t prepared for the wild ride that is time travel. It was pretty great.

‚ěē The train looked beautiful. We loved the decor in the dining car. Escapology’s attention to detail created the world for this train trip.

‚ěĖ The second act didn’t feel as rich or detailed as the first. It also felt cramped. We lost some sense of the staging that we’d felt early on.

‚ěē The puzzles were solid, satisfying solves. They included both locks and more technology-driven triggers. Both worked well in the experience.

‚ěĖ Although the puzzles worked well, at times we struggled with game flow. It wasn’t always clear which puzzles were available to solve at any given time.

‚ěĖ We encountered a search-focused puzzle that was more frustrating than fun.

‚ěē Assassination Express had a satisfying culminating solve.

Escapology Austin's steampunk lobby filled with large leather couches and ottomans.

‚ěē Escapology has some of the nicest lobbies in the business. Escapology Austin was no exception.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Escapology has a comfortable, spacious lobby.

Book your hour with Escapology Austin’s Assassination Express, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escapology Austin comped our tickets for this game.

Escapology – Under Pressure [Review]

“Pressure pushing down on me. Pressing down on you.”

Location: Garwood, NJ

Date Played: July 10, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 per ticket

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Under Pressure was a good-looking step up from our experience with early games from Escapology in Orlando. It had an appealing set with some charming details and a variety of puzzles. Under Pressure applied pressure, but not for quite the right reasons. A few sloppy puzzles in early and late segments made this escape room much harder and more frustrating than it should have been.

Given how widely Escapology is proliferating, we’re happy to see them on an upward trajectory and hope they continue to iterate in game design.

If you’re in the neighborhood and looking for more of a challenge, dive in.

In-game: a shiny filtered image of the interior of the bunk. Metal walls and pipes.
Image via Escapology

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Mathy folks
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Puzzley gameplay.
  • A strong set.
  • A lovely lobby.


It was 1944 and we were aboard the Steel Shark, the pride of the US Navy. Our mission to surveil the German battle cruiser Scheer came to an abrupt halt when our engines suddenly failed. With pressure increasing, we had an hour to restore the systems before reaching crush depth.

In-game: a shiny filtered image of of the bunk and nautical flags.
Image via Escapology


Under Pressure represented a significant aesthetic step up from the early games that we had played at Escapology. We began in a well-detailed bunk and puzzled through to the engine room.

While Escapology built finer sets for Under Pressure and these were fairly consistent, quality still dropped off with each subsequent room that we found. Space became more cramped and props looked a little more homemade. This was less pronounced than in the earlier games we had played with Escapology in Orlando, but it was still noticeable.

In-game: a shiny filtered image of a birthday card with a pinup girl attached to a locked locker.


Escapology’s Under Pressure was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and making some spurious connections.


+ We enjoyed a few extra aesthetic touches in the opening set. This included a themed count-down timer as an oxygen gauge.

+ Escapology added effects that enhanced the drama of the experience.

–¬†Under Pressure¬†included a deliberate red herring, meant as a laugh, but no cluing as to how to ascertain the intended approach to the puzzle. It was immensely frustrating.

РBecause we encountered this entirely unclued puzzle so early in the experience, everything became suspect. We no longer trusted Under Pressure to supply us with breadcrumbs, leading us to try any and all possible solutions, even if they made no sense, which was a frustrating play style.

+ There was a few larger props that looked and felt great and made sense contextually. We enjoyed how these fit into the puzzling.

+ Under Pressure offered a few interesting, layered puzzles. These were challenging, satisfying solves.

– One elaborate solve gave us more information than we needed. We were expected to simply use half of it with no explanation of why. We had the right solution, but had no idea it was correct until our gamemaster intervened.

– The final puzzle was infuriatingly incomplete and we burned two hints to bridge the logic leaps necessary to complete the game.

? Under Pressure had some brutally frustrating flaws, but they could be easily fixed. We hope the folks from Escapology continue to iterate on this escape room, because from the set details to many of the puzzles, it was a lot of fun.

The Escapology steampunk lobby filled with leather couches and ample seating.
Image via Escapology

+ Escapology has a beautiful and spacious lounge. It’s a comfortable space to hang out for groups of any size. For larger events, the facility is equipped with a party room.

Tips for Visiting

Book your hour with Escapology’s Under Pressure, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escapology comped our tickets for this game.

Escapology – Arizona Shootout [Review]


Location: Orlando, FL

Date played: November 14, 2016

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Story & setting

In the immediate aftermath of a shootout in front of a saloon in 1881, we found that some of the bad guys had been shot, but others were on the run. We needed to figure out which bad folk had gotten away and then escape from the saloon.

Arizona Shootout¬†was sparsely themed as a saloon. The major setpieces all belonged, but they didn’t create an immersive environment. It was a cute set, but it didn’t feel like 1881.

In-game. An old piano with a beer and horse statue resting on it.


The puzzles weren’t particularly challenging. Arizona Shootout relied on searching, matching, and light indexing. It played out in a¬†standard escape room style.


We loved the family-friendly portrayal of the dead outlaws. The adorable design brought what could have been a less accessible theme to a general audience.

Arizona Shootout flowed smoothly.


The saloon feel was strongest up front. As the game progressed, it felt increasingly like we could be in any building, anywhere, in any time.

One puzzle in particular required heavy searching and anachronistic technology. It didn’t feel like it belonged at all.

The gamemaster sent hints on the screen that displayed the game timer. When a hint appeared on top of the game timer graphic, it was challenging to read.

Should I play Escapology’s Arizona Shootout?

Escapology builds approachable, family-friendly entertainment.

Arizona Shootout would be a good entry point into escape rooms for new players who are unsure about this type of entertainment. The facility was welcoming. The game was solid and accessible.

For experienced players, Arizona Shootout would be an unremarkable game. Neither the setting nor the puzzles delivered excitement, intrigue, or innovation when compared with the broader market

That said, this could be a good choice for an experienced player who wants to solo, speedrun, or bring their multi-generational family and friends. .

Book your hour with Escapology’s Arizona Shootout, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escapology provided media discounted tickets for this game.