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Location: Morristown, NJ
Date Played: October 29, 2018
Team size: 2-8; we recommend 5-7
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: $30.50 per player on weekends, $100 for teams of up to 4 (plus $20.50 for each additional person) on weekdays
In Last Minute Escape’s Jewel Heist, the heist was far from the focus of the experience. The escape room was staged around travel to and from the heist location.
This staging added a new dynamic to the escape room: a layer of timing and communication challenge that substantially increased the difficulty of this puzzle-focused game. Unfortunately, it also added down time, disbelief, and a nagging feeling of missing out. Although Last Minute Escape introduced a fantastic concept, the execution could use a little more refinement. A tough, creative challenge is good, but not at the expense of fun and flow.
If you’re in northern New Jersey, play escape rooms for the puzzles, and are interested in another layer of challenge, we recommend Jewel Heist.
Who is this for?
- Puzzle lovers
- Players seeking challenge from different types of game mechanics
- Best for players with at least some experience
- Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
- Inventive game mechanic
- Interesting puzzles
As jewel thieves blackmailed into one last job, we had traveled to Antwerp, Belgium to steal a world-renowned diamond from its appraiser. We needed to get to the jewelry store, break in, steal the diamond, and make our exit.
We began our heist in a train station. It had a platform, lockers, a ticket machine, and a phone booth. From there, we traveled by train to a simple, small-town jewelry shop with bright lighting, a security system, and jewels in a glass case.
The set design was uneven. Portions of the space – like the train – looked compelling; other sections required more… imagination.
Last Minute Escape’s Jewel Heist was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.
Core gameplay revolved around observing, making connections, puzzling, and communicating.
The high level of difficulty came from navigating the game’s train travel mechanic, which time-gated travel between the two main areas of the game. Moving from one end of the game to the other required waiting for a few minutes. This profoundly changed the gameplay experience.
➕ Last Minute Escape introduced a novel timing and communication challenge in Jewel Heist. We commend the concept, which forced split-team gameplay and added new a dynamic to a timed puzzle game. This was a clever concept.
➖ In practice, this game mechanic created a ton of downtime in an hour-long timed-game. We spent far too much time waiting to play.
➕ Jewel Heist started us well before we were in position to steal the gem. This staging added intrigue, adventure, and some brilliant and unexpected moments. We especially enjoyed the train-station-inspired interactions.
➖ Last Minute Escape didn’t build any onramp to Jewel Heist. It presented a challenging puzzle series in the opening moments. It was a good puzzle, but a harsh opener. We expect that this puzzle flow will add frustration for many teams before they even get to the main event.
➕ We enjoyed the heist-inspired moments of breaking in and the interactions necessary to facilitate this.
➖While it had its moments, for the majority of the hour, Jewel Heist didn’t feel like a heist. It felt like an escape room. Last Minute Escape went out of their way to set up a scenario that included getting to the heist, but as the game played out, it became impossible to suspend our disbelief… which isn’t terrible… but this Last Minute Escape was clearly striving for more.
➕ Jewel Heist was studded with clever puzzles that incorporated interactive props and sucked up our attention, in a good way.
➖ The execution was messy and at times misleading. Imprecise execution created unnecessary frustration for otherwise fun and inventive concepts.
➖ Throughout Jewel Heist, I always felt like I was missing out. I was waiting while my teammates experienced something fun without me. Sometimes this was true, and sometimes it wasn’t, but regardless, the feeling nagged at me for the entire hour.
Tips For Visiting
- There is a parking lot.
- We recommend The Morristown Diner for a bite to eat, even late on weeknights.
Book your hour with Last Minute Escape’s Jewel Heist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.
Disclosure: Last Minute Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.