Komnata Quest – Mousetrap [Review]

Update: This game has been closed and folded into Joker’s Cafe.

The first time I’ve been in a phone booth since 2001.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: November 6, 2016

Team size: 1; we recommend 1

Duration: 15 minutes

Price: $15 per ticket for a 15-minute solo game

Story & setting

Mousetrap was a single-player game that locked individuals in a bepuzzled phone booth. Similar to Komnata Quest’s far more extreme Boxed Up, Mousetrap cast me as Sherlock Holmes caught in another of Moriarty’s dastardly schemes.

The gamespace was small and simple: a well-lit box designed to look like a replica London phone booth.

It had a phone, a shelf, and not a whole lot more.

Game exterior, a red phone booth with frosted glass. The silhouette of a person stands behind the glass.

Puzzles

Mousetrap was a remarkably standard room escape experience, albeit for one person. The 15-minute game had your standard searching and solving structure.

It was reasonably challenging, especially considering that each player had to solely rely on themselves to work through every aspect of the game. Four of us played and our completion times were 7, 10, 11, and 13 minutes. My time was the fastest, but it was only because I bypassed a third of the game. Everyone felt the pressure of the clock.

Standouts

There was a lot of game for a single player on a 15-minute timer.

Speaking as a player who never solos room escapes, it was fun and intense to play alone.

Komnata Quest did a lot with a little on this one.

Interior of the phone booth: A pay phone is mounted to the wall.

Shortcomings

While Komnata Quest managed to squeeze a lot of gameplay into Mousetrap using very few props, it got a bit redundant as a result.

One key prop in the game will be subject to heavy wear. By the time I used it, the wear allowed me to bypass a lot of the game by accident. If Komnata doesn’t stay on top of replacing this prop, the quality of the game will suffer.

Even with regular upkeep, Mousetrap as I played it had too much potential for bypassing. It’s possible to make a few small tweaks to prevent what I did, but they need to take the initiative to actually do it.

Mousetrap was expensive for what it was.

Should I play Komnata Quest’s Mousetrap?

Mousetrap is not an entree and I cannot recommend that anyone visit Komnata Quest explicitly to play it. It’s either an appetizer or dessert.

It was a fun experience to solo a game and we enjoyed competing for the fastest time in the group. Mousetrap wasn’t incredible and it didn’t push boundaries, but it was a good way to spend a few minutes after playing a larger team game.

The big catch with Mousetrap remains the price. $15 for a 15-minute experience is tough to justify, especially considering that it is possible to win in half the time. More than a dollar per minute is a big ask for what really is an add-on experience.

If you’re a die hard escape room enthusiast, Mousetrap is fun.

If you’re looking for an approachable game to solo, Mousetrap is pretty much your only option in the region.

If you’re going to miss that $15, then I’d suggest skipping Mousetrap. It was a good time, but it’s nowhere near a must-play at that price point.

Book your session with Komnata Quest’s Mousetrap, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

 

Komnata Quest – Doctor Frankenstein [Review]

The steampunk room that ran out of steam.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: November 6, 2016

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $28-$45 per ticket depending on day of the week, time of day, and team size

Story & setting

In Doctor Frankenstein we had to revive Frankenstein’s monster, since the doctor himself had somehow landed in another plane or timeline from messing with electricity. The story was pretty nonsensical.

The room had a steampunk, mystical science vibe. The decor made frequent nods to astronomy and physiology.

A steampunk-ish gear box with a crank. A chain leads out of it.

The monster himself, behind glass but clearly in view, was the primary set piece. He looked a little too cartoonish and Halloween-y for the set.

Puzzles

Doctor Frankenstein was Komnata Quest’s take on a more traditional, puzzle-centric escape room. Until the introduction of this game, Komnata Quest’s New York games have leaned heavily into more extreme themed adventures.

The puzzles were hit or miss. A few made use of interesting props while others were wholly unexciting.

The puzzles generally connected to the theme, disjointed as it was.

Standouts

Komnata Quest relied on some tech-driven props that delivered, enhancing the experience.

Doctor Frankenstein had a dramatic and exciting introduction.

Shortcomings

Doctor Frankenstein lost momentum as the game progressed. The latter half of the game felt like a throwaway. There wasn’t enough there.

One of the late-game puzzles was as cliché as it gets. It would have still been a cliché had it been the first puzzle, but its late game position felt especially underwhelming.

Should I play Komnata Quest’s Doctor Frankenstein?

Komnata Quest is not known for puzzles, but with this game, they attempted to deliver an approachable room escape in the puzzling style of the majority of the New York market.

There were some great puzzles here, especially through the use of technology, but there was also too much filler and not enough content. In the absence of an extreme situation, Komnata Quest lost a lot of what made their earlier offerings remarkable.

This wasn’t a bad game. When we interacted with elements that captured the steampunk vibe, it was a fun time. Despite what we considered filler, there will be a lot for new players to enjoy.

It’s also worth noting that the variable pricing can make Doctor Frankenstein an expensive game if you play with a small group on a weekend. Choose your bookings carefully as $45 per ticket on the high end is way too much.

Ultimately, for the seasoned player, Doctor Frankenstein probably won’t hold the intrigue of Komnata Quest’s other games. Visit them for their extreme adventure games; it’s an exciting lineup.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s Doctor Frankenstein, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

Komnata Quest – Suicide Hotel [Review]

[At the time of this review, this escape room was called Room 1409.]

“Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room!” – Stephen King

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: September 19, 2016

Team size: 3-5; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

We were guests in New York City’s Dolphin Hotel; upon check-in, we found that our room was haunted. We had to escape before an unspeakable horror overtook us.

This escape room was based loosely on Stephen King’s short story 1408, published in 2002 as part of the Everything’s Eventual compilation. Visually, the room strongly mimicked the story. The plot, however, strayed from the book.

A dingy hotel room with a painting of a bishop hanging on the wall. A Holy Bible is in the foreground.

It was not necessary to read King’s story before playing this game. However, hardcore King fans will recognize certain plot points carried out in the room escape. Fandom enhanced my experience in this game.

Puzzles

This room was a typical Komnata Quest design – heavy on immersion and tasks, light on puzzles.

Our favorite puzzle in the game made fantastic use of the setting while incorporating a direct plot point from the King story.

The tasks in this immersive environment were fun, and in several cases, unusual.

Standouts

The set design was the strongest feature of this room escape. As a King fan, the design exceeded my expectations in capturing the madness of the story. For those who hadn’t read the story, the design was incredibly solid, realistic, and eerie in all the right places.

In several instances, we were required to interact with the room in unique and unexpected ways, which we all enjoyed.

Shortcomings

Because the room was task-based, it marched along quickly. Our experienced team blew through this game, and the end came far sooner than we expected. 1409 genuinely appeared larger than it was. This illusion added to our end-game confusion.

After the initial scene was set, any semblance of story faded quickly. I wasn’t expecting the room to mimic the King story, but there was an opportunity to design a narrative compelling enough to match the set. It was never really clear exactly who/what we were escaping from and why they/it were there to begin with.

Should I play Komnata Quest’s Room 1409?

If you are looking for a fun, interactive experience in a spooky environment, then this is for you.

If you’re looking for more challenging or layered puzzles then this is probably not your room escape.

Note that this game was a bit creepy. It flirted with horror. Leave small children or sensitive adults at home.

Experienced players will probably finish this room quickly. If getting to Brooklyn is hard for you then consider adding one of Komnata’s other rooms. Their current Brooklyn collection includes a horror murder mystery, a sex dungeon, a claustrophobic coffin escape and a heist.

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s Room 1409, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale).

Komnata Quest – The robbery that changed the world [Review]

Infiltration, a bit of destruction, a dash of puzzles, and lots and lots of crawling.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: July 25, 2016

Team size: 2-5; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

In the The robbery that changed the world, we were thieves, hired to steal an important package from a high security safe and escape without getting caught.

The robbery took us through multiple sets as we worked our way deeper into the facility toward our prize. The immersion started strong and dissipated as the game progressed. Some segments of the robbery were brilliant and creative while others were spartan and repetitive.

A desk with three computer monitors on them. In front of the monitors is a baseball cap that reads, "security."

Puzzles

The robbery that changed the world was not a puzzle-y game. Rather, it was a task-based game. We had to interpret our next task, determine how to accomplish it, and move forward toward the object of our desire.

That said, there was one interaction that we considered a puzzle, and quite a good one.

Standouts

The robbery that changed the world incorporated exciting physical set interaction. It was an adventure to move through this set. It was also more physically demanding than the majority of escape rooms.

Komnata Quest built a number of different sets that we traipsed through en route to our prize. They were designed within the confines of the theme and story.

We played with some pretty nifty devices.

There was a moment in the game when we were required to break one of the standard rules of escape rooms. This was surprising, exhilarating, and clearly indicated.

Shortcomings

Breaking rules is a double-edged sword. Later in the game, we weren’t sure whether an object such as a fire extinguisher, which is normally out of play, might be relevant to this game. Once the rules shift from black and white to shades of gray, judgment calls become increasingly muddy.

On the Komnata Quest website, the game description says, “Be sure not to trigger any of the alarms or you’ll get caught.” However, there didn’t seem to be any real stakes to these alarms. Nobody was about to bust in and catch us, thereby ending our heist game. The alarms were an annoyance, not a puzzle or obstacle.

This game was marketed as an escape room, and while it certainly was a heist-and-escape adventure, it was hardly a puzzle game. As escape room aficionados, we were disappointed by items that seemed like puzzle components, but turned out to be red herrings.

When the game set up the heist, we were provided with the appropriate gear to complete the mission. Among this gear were knee pads that were in very rough shape. This was a problem because The robbery that changed the world was loaded with crawling.

Should I play Komnata Quest’s The robbery that changed the world?

Komnata Quest offers one of the most diverse and divisive game lineups. Their current collection includes an inquisition dungeon, a horror murder mystery, a sex dungeon, a claustrophobic coffin escape, and a heist. Each of these games has a specific audience; whether you love or hate the game will depend upon what you’re looking for. For example, if you aren’t comfortable with sexuality, then 7 sinful pleasures’ kink pastiche will be off-putting.

If you are seeking a puzzle adventure, then The robbery that changed the world isn’t the room you’re looking for.

This escape room was a task and set-based adventure. If you like the idea of a physically interactive bank heist game that feels like a movie from the late 90s and looks pretty solid, then look no further. It’s a cool game. You will get to explore and manipulate a fun set.

It’s not edgy or scary like Komnata’s other games. It’s a great game for families and kids (so long as everyone is mobile and can crawl).

Book your hour with Komnata Quest’s The robbery that changed the world, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you by using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.

Komnata Quest – Boxed up [Review]

Coffins for two.

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Date played: July 25, 2016

Team size: 2. Only 2.

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $32 per ticket

Story & setting

This game for two cast both of us as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Incapacitated by Jim Moriarty, Lisa and I were locked in slightly oversized coffins. We had 45 minutes to find a way out. The entire experience took place within the coffins.

From an aesthetic standpoint, there wasn’t a lot going on here. The coffins looked and felt more or less like the inside of a padded coffin. Mostly, it was dark.

In-game, a pair of handcuffed hands inside of a coffin.

From a story standpoint, the game was heavily inspired by the BBC’s recent Sherlock series. The narrative started stronger than it finished. The game leaned more heavily on the thrill of the environment than it did on story or puzzles.

Puzzles

The challenge in Boxed up was derived from being locked in a hot, dark, and generally creepy coffin. Under those conditions, easy tasks and puzzles became far more difficult.

Although the in-game puzzles weren’t particularly interesting, the overarching game itself was the interesting puzzle.

Standouts

We couldn’t do anything alone, and we couldn’t do anything together. I can’t think of a game that forced both self-reliance and teamwork as thoroughly as Boxed up.

The premise was incredible.

Our excitement levels were high going into Boxed up. We felt like escape room first timers. That mix of intrigue, apprehension, and the knowledge that there was a big challenge ahead made us feel a level of anticipation that we rarely achieve after having escaped so many rooms.

It was an intense experience… too intense for some.

Shortcomings

We played Boxed up on a 90+ degree day after a major thunderstorm. It was hot and humid before we were crammed inside of small pleather boxes. While there was a trickle of cool air flowing into the box, the temperature was almost unbearable. When we emerged at the end of the game, our clothes were soaked in sweat.

Our stay in the box was elongated by about 20 minutes due to a major technical failure. Our hint system was dead and we had no mechanism to resolve a few puzzles. This became overwhelmingly frustrating because we thought we knew the solution, but we couldn’t execute on our ideas, nor could we ask what was going on. We didn’t find out that we had solved all of the puzzles until our gamemaster came to let us out. We thought we had lost, but it turned out that we had won with plenty of time to spare.

I’m concerned about the lack of a safety release for the coffins. The game was monitored at all times, but in the event of an emergency, I’m not convinced that the Komnata Quest staff could retrieve players fast enough. This fear was amplified by Komnata Quest’s release form which includes the aggressive line:

“I comprehend the risks involved with participating as a spectator or participant. I assume all risks associated with participating including paralysis and death caused by course and contact with other participants or actors.”

Should I play Komnata Quest’s Boxed up?

Komnata Quest built this game to be a creepy, isolating, intense experience and they delivered. Big time.

Boxed up was one of the most memorable escape experiences I’ve encountered. It was unusual… and maybe a bit cruel. But it was also incredibly clever and a lot of fun.

This needs to be the right game for both players. Boxed up is not a game for the claustrophobic or chronically anxious. If you need to drug yourself in order to find the courage to enter your coffin, or you have a major medical issue, skip this game. Do not coerce a friend or loved one into a coffin. You will need a competent teammate who is up for the experience.

It’s important to know that the coffin is oversized, but it’s not dramatically oversized. The larger you are, the more restrictive the space will be. There is nothing that can be done about that.

Also, don’t wear a skirt. You’ll thank me later.

Book your session with Komnata Quest’s Boxed up, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you by using the coupon code escapeartist to receive 10% off.

Full disclosure: Komnata Quest comped our tickets for this game.