Just Escape – Underworld [Review]

Don’t forget to pack your cement shoes.

Location: Massapequa, NY

Date played: March 26, 2017

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $30 per ticket

Story & setting

We entered the home of a mob boss to locate a port and container number in order to intercept contraband cargo.

Underworld took place in a sparsely furnished home. The set pieces and overall aesthetic were largely unremarkable.

Just Escape logo

Puzzles

Underworld relied on persistent searching.

The puzzling was your typical varied escape room fare.

Standouts

We appreciated one puzzle in particular for the logical connection Just Escape created that wasn’t readily apparent.

Just Escape’s intro video was sassy… in a good way. We really enjoyed it.

Our gamemaster delivered artful, punny hints that led us indirectly to overlooked information.

Shortcomings

The hint delivery seemed inordinately delayed. Just Escape should have these wonderful hints prepared ahead of player request.

Just Escape hadn’t been open more than a few months, and already many of the props showed signs of wear. In one instance, a written clue was entirely rubbed away. They need to be cognizant of maintenance.

One red herring gobbled up a good chunk of our time and attention.

Should I play Just Escape’s Underworld?

Underworld would be a fun beginner game. The setup worked and the room escape flowed logically. The puzzling was pretty standard, with a few more challenging elements. Most solutions led to a lock, yet the volume of locks wasn’t overwhelming.

While I wouldn’t recommend that experienced players go out of their way to visit this escape room, if you’re new to escape rooms, or you have some friends on Long Island you’d like to initiate, Underworld wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

Book your hour with Just Escape’s Underworld, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

 

Just Escape – The Tryals [Review]

I confess!

Location: Massapequa, NY

Date played: March 26, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $30 per ticket

Story & setting

As falsely accused witches about to stand trial, we had an hour to steal a series of fake confessions that our neighbors had created in our names, or burn at the stake.

The room was dark and largely bare with the exception of a few props that suggested old-timey witchcraft. While the gamespace was certainly unusual, even by escape room standards, the room was not much to look at.

In-game: a glowing lantern upon a shelf illuminating a pair of goblets.

Puzzles

The Tryals was incredibly search-centric. There were puzzles to solve, but finding all of the components was the crux of the game.

Additionally, some of the puzzling had fractured clue structure. This became apparent when hints started flowing pretty freely from the gamemaster to help us bridge the gaps.

Standouts

Just Escape did a lot of unusual things with this room. They created honestly different interactions and challenges.

Two late-game moments, in particular, stood out: one for its unexpected arrival, the other for its unorthodox delivery. These were inventive.

The Just Escape facility was well staffed. The blazer-wearing gamemasters were diligent, caring, and on top of their stuff.

Shortcomings

The darkness of the gamespace was the true challenge of The Tryals. It was tedious having only one significant light source for everyone to share.

Aesthetically, the room wasn’t appealing. It felt like a dark basement.

It was often difficult to tell the confessions apart from non-confession clues. We didn’t even realize when we had collected all of them.

The puzzle’s clue structure was frequently fractured and required a few leaps of logic or hints.

Should I play Just Escape’s The Tryals?

The Tryals was an interesting game. It offered a unique experience and unusual interactions. This is admirable, especially considering how many room escapes rehash the same concepts that so many others have already explored.

There was, however, plenty of opportunity to improve The Tryals with stronger in-game cluing, more compelling aesthetics, and strategically placed light sources.

Beginners will likely find The Tryals a challenging game. The darkness adds a lot of complexity to most team dynamics. If you don’t already know your way around an escape room, this can be a mighty big challenge. If this sounds like an appealing challenge, then by all means, dive in.

Experienced players will likely find the game flow issues, lack of aesthetic, and light sharing frustrating. I found myself regularly impressed by the unusual game mechanics and then equally frustrated by some of the glitches in execution.

There is a brilliant game in The Tryals if Just Escape is looking to iterate.

Book your hour with Just Escape’s Tryals, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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