Exit Escape Room NYC – Sugar Rush [Review]


Location:  New York, New York

Date Played:  August 11, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Sugar Rush put a new twist on the escape game format for us: our goal was to bake cupcakes. In the end, we received cupcakes.

In-game: 3 decorated cupcakes in a baking pan.

While Sugar Rush shined conceptually, the execution fell short of stellar on every level. The puzzles and gameplay were of spotty quality. The set looked kind of like a restaurant kitchen. The cupcakes were reminiscent of an elementary school bake sale. (Is that a thing that still happens or have we litigated that into oblivion?)

This game was fine, which was disappointing. There were opportunities for great reveals, narrative novelty, and better cupcakes. New York City has some great cupcake bakeries and I’d bet that people would shell out a few extra dollars per ticket if it came with quality dessert.

This was one of those games that I wanted to love. When I heard the concept, I wanted to send all of my friends who are kind of on the fence about escape games. It wouldn’t take a lot more refinement to make Sugar Rush special; I hope it gets there.

Who is this for?

  • Players with a sweet tooth
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The concept was adorable and novel
  • If you win, you get to eat a cupcake


We’d entered the Great NYC Baking Challenge.

Our task: make the best cupcakes ever!

The catch? Someone had hidden all of our ingredients.

In-game: a small oven in a kitchen, above it a box labeled "Recipe Safe."


Sugar Rush was set in a restaurant kitchen with a strange glass wall dividing the space. The set looked almost as it should. At any given point, if you got up close to something, it looked right, but stepping back and taking in the set in as a whole, it felt off.

In-game: An empty egg carton and a checken in a kitchen.


Exit Escape Room NYC’s Sugar Rush was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, and decorating cupcakes.


➕ Before escape rooms entered my life, I spent a solid three years tasting (and analyzing) cupcakes all around New York City. I have notes on more than 60 bakeries; there’s a big spreadsheet. Don’t pretend you’re surprised. Anyway, it’s an understatement to say I adored the concept for Sugar Rush. I love baking and I love escape rooms! Even for those less enamored with dessert, this was a fun and novel thematic combination.

➕ /➖ In some ways, the set looked like a test kitchen, but it felt just a bit office-y. Individual props looked great, but we weren’t quite sold. It also didn’t have the necessary workspace for frosting our award-winning creations.

➖ The tech need a bit more refinement. It wasn’t entirely well hidden; exposed wires needed housing. It was also a bit glitchy and didn’t always give sufficient feedback.

➕ The props were adorable. We enjoyed how Exit Escape Room NYC build amusing puzzles around the essential cupcake ingredients. It was funny and charming.

➖In the second part of the experience, the puzzles were thematically related, but no longer tied to the narrative.

➖ Exit Escape Room NYC did the cooking show swap, but without trying to convince us that we were decorating the cupcakes we’d baked (with the ingredients we’d found!). We’ve seen this type of swap executed beautifully (and humorously) in escape rooms before. Sugar Rush would have been far cooler if they had gone the extra distance to sell their fiction to us.

➖ The cupcakes were “meh.” We won the game, but I cannot be convinced we won the Great NYC Baking Challenge.

❓ Because so many people have asked: We don’t know whether the cupcakes were bought or baked. (I’m guessing baked from a mix.) We aren’t health inspectors.

Tips For Visiting

  • Exit Escape Room NYC has two copies of this game. You could race your friends in this baking competition.
  • Exit Escape Room NYC is easily accessible on public transportation.
  • Note that Sugar Rush is not located at their 38th Street location with most of their other games. It is located a couple of blocks away at 247 West 36th Street.
  • We recommend Black Iron Burger (across the street).

Book your hour with Exit Escape Room NYC’s Sugar Rush, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Exit Escape Room NYC comped our tickets for this game.

Exit Escape Room NYC – Operation Dive [Review]

Dive into the deep end.

Location:  New York, New York

Date Played: November 27, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $38 per player

Ticketing: Public & Private options

REA Reaction

Exit Escape Room NYC’s third game, Operation Dive, had a small yet detailed set, and strong challenging puzzles.  We had access to almost all of the game’s mechanisms from the first moment. We enjoyed unraveling the mystery that was how to operate the submarine, but the incredible level of access also came at a price: this new game showed a lot of wear. I hope that Exit Escape Room NYC is up to the challenge of maintaining it. It’s a lovely game.  Operation Dive is a wonderful game to play if you feel comfortable playing escape rooms. If you’re a newbie, this one will be a bit bewildering; play High Speed NYC first. Both are high quality games, but the earlier one is quite a bit more forgiving. 
In-game: The bridge of the submarine. A sonar station and periscope are in view.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Puzzles that reveal themselves as you play
  • Satisfying physical interactions
  • Fun submarine environment


With a hostile submarine attempting to attack New York City, the Pentagon had called upon us to fire up a decommissioned World War II-era submarine, identify the target, and destroy it. 
In-game: Main electrical panel, disabled.


We entered a small submarine set filled with pipes, gauges, maps, and bunks.  The set was compact, but detailed. Some parts looked great. 
In-game: The bridge of the submarine. A map glows green.


Exit Escape Room NYC’s Operation Dive was a standard escape room with a higher level of difficulty. Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, and puzzling. The challenge stemmed from a nonlinear design where the puzzle components were mounted into the set and available from the opening moments of play.
In-game: Ballast Tank gauge.


➕ The set looked nifty. It was detailed. It had a submarine vibe, complete with gadgets that were interactive, but not overwhelming. ➕ Exit Escape Room NYC hid the puzzles in plain sight. Once we discovered how items intertwined, the level of difficulty dropped a bit. The challenge was largely in understanding how to interact with the game, which we enjoyed. ➖ We couldn’t always tell whether we’d completed an interaction. The addition of more puzzle feedback, to help players understand whether or not they’ve completely solved a puzzle, would significantly improve for Operation Dive. ➖ The set and props showed too much wear. This included some finicky tech and disappointing prop breakage. I suspect that giving players immediate access to a lot of interactions and no knowledge of how to approach the puzzles means that a lot of players are hard on this escape room. Operation Dive hadn’t been open very long when we visited and we couldn’t help but think it was really banged up.  Operation Dive was well themed. The set and puzzles were submarine-esque. ➕ The small and narrow set worked because it was a submarine. This was a smart setting selection given Exit Escape Room NYC’s spatial constraints.  ➕ There were some lovely thematic puzzles in this Operation Dive. They were tangible, satisfying solves. ➕/➖  Operation Dive attempted to tell a story. This delivered some fun and thematic moments. While some of the nuance of the story came through clearly as we were playing, the most interesting bits only became apparent when we were analyzing the game after we’d escaped. Operation Dive felt more like a thematic adventure than a story-driven experience. Overall, the narrative was of mixed quality, but generally better than most.  ➕ With timed use of tech, Exit Escape Room NYC trigged great moments. 

Tips For Visiting

  • Exit Escape Room NYC is easily accessible on public transportation.
  • We recommend Black Iron Burger (across the street).
Book your hour with Exit Escape Room NYC’s Operation Dive, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you. Disclosure: Exit Escape Room NYC comped our tickets for this game.

Exit Escape Room NYC – The Mission [Review]

Execute Mission.

Location: New York, NY

Date Played: February 19, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

REA Reaction

The Mission started off uninspired, but turned into something interesting. While we wished some of the execution was cleaner, The Mission conveyed narrative well and the second half was filled with innovative interactions.

(Interestingly, for the reverse structure, play Exit Escape Room NYC’s High Speed.)

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Novelty hunters
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The second half
  • Unusual interactions
  • Narrative-driven gameplay


Our agency had been infiltrated by a double agent. We had to identify this individual, determine their location, and eliminate the threat.

In-game: A black box with 9 binary switches hung on a wall beside top hats and overcoats.


While the late-game setting for The Mission was unusual and exciting, the initial set was an uninspiring barebones office with an unfinished look.

I can’t spoil the late-game reveal because it was worth being surprised. 


As the name implies, The Mission was mission-based. Our objectives were explained clearly in the pre-game:

Identify the double agent.

In-game: A black suitcase on a desk, the wall behind has 12 portraits of different people.

Track the double agent.

In-game: a world map covering a wall with black dots over select major cities.

Eliminate the double agent.

Image states, "no image available."

While we were following a specific mission plan, the game itself was still an escape room with equal parts searching and puzzling.


The Mission escalated. From set to effects to interactions, it built excitement over time.

The late-game mechanical puzzles facilitated interactive group solves.

As we solved the puzzles, we learned mission-critical information. Both the puzzles and our intel flowed well and flowed together. This made for a cohesive story.

Exit Escape Room NYC included a time-consuming mid-game narrative sequence. They structured their timekeeping to ensure all players receive a full 60 minutes to solve the puzzles. When you reach this sequence, you’ll know it. Relax, you’re off the clock. 


The first act lacked excitement. The mundane office set felt tired. Its puzzles didn’t engage the physical space.

Exit Escape Room NYC installed this escape room in an unfinished space. Despite some interesting set pieces in the later portions of the experience, it felt unfinished.

The final interaction missed the mark. The concept was really cool, but the props and set pieces didn’t breath life into the moment. In addition, they didn’t engage the team. We escaped without fanfare and weren’t even sure that we had won until the door opened.

Tips for Visiting

  • Exit Escape Room NYC is easily accessible on public transportation.
  • We recommend Black Iron Burger (across the street).

Book your hour with Exit Escape Room NYC’s The Mission, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Exit Escape Room NYC comped our tickets for this game.

Exit Escape Room NYC – High Speed NYC [Review]

High Speed NYC is one of the best escape rooms in New York City. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in New York City.

Please mind the gap.

Location: New York, NY

Date played: October 16, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

We were trapped on a 1 Train in the NYC Subway. A vengeful conductor had abandoned the train after forcing it into high speed and disabling the breaks. It was up to us to save our own lives as well as the other passengers on the train.

The entryway to game looks like a subway platform with a white tiled wall. The door itself is built into a recreation of a subway car. High Speed NYC captured the look and vibe of a New York subway car. From entry to exit, it had nearly accurate layout, temperature, lighting, and aesthetic. Additionally, Exit Escape Room NYC used video to create a sense of motion.


Exit Escape NYC put their own twists on a few common escape room puzzle types. The puzzles flowed well. Most of the puzzles were embedded into the set and environment.

The puzzles took inspiration from the theme. This was more pronounced in the first act of the experience.


The theme and the set were quintessentially New York City. Given Exit Escape Room NYC’s location in midtown Manhattan, this made so much sense.

In-game: Orange seating a metal polls in the interior of the subway car.

The set looked and felt like a New York subway car. It was deliberately crafted to conceal puzzles within a familiar space. It was surprising.

We especially enjoyed how Exit Escape NYC turned subway riding actions into puzzles.

High Speed NYC included primarily large-scale, tactile, group puzzles. They took a few common escape room puzzle types and made them their own.

The ending was adorable.


While the puzzles were on theme, they didn’t really tell the story of the escape room. At times they just felt like assorted puzzles from subway-esque props. This was more pronounced in the later potion of the escape room. Exit Escape Room NYC could work to tell a story though puzzling, instead of by way of gamemaster introduction, which would bring this experience to the next level.

There are small places in the set where the set construction could be more polished.

The second act of High Speed NYC was more challenging than the first act, but less exciting. The intensity of the room escape dropped over the course of the game.

Should I play Exit Escape Room NYC’s High Speed NYC?

High Speed NYC is one of very few New York City-themed escaped rooms in this city. Its local theming and convenient midtown location make it a particularly fun choice for tourists.

Note that you don’t need to know anything about the New York City subway system to solve these puzzles, but if you do, that might give you a leg up on one or two occasions.

If you’re new to escape rooms, High Speed NYC will be pretty challenging, and definitely surprising, but highly enjoyable. From puzzles to technology, it will give you a good feel for what escape rooms offer. I can see High Speed NYC hooking new players. More experienced players will appreciate clever and clean execution of escape room gameplay.

High Speed NYC was an enjoyable adventure. From the set to the puzzles to the story, it was a lot of fun to play.

Book your hour with Exit Escape Room NYC’s High Speed NYC, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Exit Escape Room NYC comped our tickets for this game.