Puzzle Theory – P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift [Review]

Like a Ghost Rider

Location:  South Windsor, CT

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Most players must duck through an opening repeatedly

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzle Theory’s P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift was a storyline-driven experience that paired well with the immersive, appropriately designed space. 

The same set was utilized for this escape room and another (P.T. Railways: Rebel Run), which allowed for a unique way to look at the same space through a different lens, but removed many of the surprises on the second adventure through the space. There were a fair amount of items marked in red to delineate which props went to which escape room.

If playing these experiences back to back, be especially alert to fastidiously check items in the second room. It was easy to think that we checked something, only to find that we had actually cleared it in the first room instead. That being said, the set was really impressive and this dual-use certainly made for an uncommon team experience.

A large and dramatically lit lock in a metal structure.

Ultimately, this had the potential to be a standout experience if technology and memorization aspects were adjusted to build up momentum rather than detract from it. One puzzle in particular was incredibly time-intensive due to the designed digital experience.

P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift was worth the play-through for the wide variety of puzzle types found in the space and the focus on teamwork. We hope that they make some adjustments to give it an even broader appeal.

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Puzzle Theory – P.T. Railways: Rebel Run [Review]

Bought a ticket for a runaway train

Location:  South Windsor, CT

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Most players must duck through an opening repeatedly

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzle Theory’s P.T. Railways: Rebel Run was an escape room that highlighted physical manipulation puzzles, blended into an immersive, technology-driven set design. These challenges allowed us to work in a non-linear fashion in several different spaces at one time without crowding.

The game area was impressively designed to match the storyline, with the integration of special effects and lighting that complemented the puzzles at hand.

Metal devices and chains, dramatically lit.

Most of the gameplay flowed well, but there was one puzzle towards the beginning of the experience that seemed to continually give feedback that it was reset in the middle of a sequence, surprising all of us when we completed it and were allowed to continue.

P.T. Railways: Rebel Run 
was a solid escape room and certainly worth the trip if you are in the Hartford, Connecticut region.

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Puzzle Theory – The Experiment [Review]

99.99% puzzles.

Location: South Windsor, Connecticut

Date played: July 8, 2017

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27.50 per ticket

Story & setting

Following the story of¬†The Missing Doctor, we volunteered to participate in the amusingly mad Dr. X’s experiment… but first we had to figure out what we’d even signed on for.

The Experiment¬†didn’t really have a set. There was a clearly defined space within which the escape room took place, but it was basically walls, doors, puzzle components, and a few random pieces of furniture.

In-game: A bland room with a plant a coffee table, and a few lab coats hanging on the wall.

Puzzles

The Experiment revolved around discovery and experimentation.

We relied heavily on keen observation and communication.

Standouts

The Experiment was frequently un-hackable. Each time we thought we could skip a step, Puzzle Theory thwarted us. They clearly gave information dissemination and gating considerable thought.

We generally loved the puzzles that were presented to us in The Experiment.

Their character, Dr. X, was amusing. I rarely read a nonrequired long-winded thing… but I wanted to read the funny conclusion Dr. X presented us.

The stories of The Experiment and The Missing Doctor link brilliantly. If you don’t get the story or couldn’t remember the story (like me), ask your gamemaster to explain it afterwards.

Shortcomings

The gamespace had an odd layout that was occasionally frustrating. We frequently found ourselves maneuvering around each other in cramped spaces.

The Experiment was more physically demanding than it needed to be due to the awkward positioning of a crawlspace and the repeated transition through it. There was also one more active puzzle in a hard-to-reach location.

The Experiment didn’t look like much at all. There really wasn’t a set; it was simply a space to contain the puzzles.

Should I play Puzzle Theory’s The Experiment?

The¬†Experiment¬†was fully puzzling with a side of humor. Dr. X is amusing and his experiment ridiculous and entertaining. If I had to guess, the folks from Puzzle Theory are probably pretty big fans of Futurama and Rick & Morty… It’s just got that vibe.

If you play escape rooms for the puzzles, you’ll enjoy¬†The Experiment.¬†It required us to think in different ways and work through concepts that resulted in satisfying solves.

If your enjoyment of an escape room requires a beautiful set,¬†The Experiment¬†won’t be for you. Not at all.

The Experiment would be challenging for newer players, but is nevertheless approachable for the puzzle-minded at any level of experience. Make sure that you can crawl or that you have a few people on your team who can.

Book your hour with Puzzle Theory’s The Experiment, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Puzzle Theory provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Puzzle Theory – The Missing Doctor [Review]

I see you’ve constructed a new lightsaber.

Location: South Windsor, CT

Date played: December 12, 2016

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

We were in the office of mad scientist Dr. X solving the mystery of his disappearance.

The Missing Doctor¬†was composed of standard office furniture with a hint of laboratory. It wasn’t a particularly interesting space, but it was appropriately¬†decorated, with just a bit of character, and¬†inviting enough.

In game: A large wood desk with a light, and rotary phone.

Puzzles

The puzzles were the essence of The Missing Doctor. The room escape included extensive searching, as well as a large assortment of paper-based and fully interactive puzzling.

While the puzzles didn’t¬†convey narrative, they were fun.

Standouts

We appreciated the humorous introductory and post-game videos.

Puzzle Theory thoughtfully designed the puzzle and game flow such that key late game puzzles couldn’t be easily bypassed or brute-forced.

The Missing Doctor surprised us with one particular simple, tech-driven interaction.

Shortcomings

Much as we loved the tech behind this particular puzzle, we recommend that Puzzle Theory subtly refine its implementation to avoid a potential safety risk.

Just a few too many interesting items proved unimportant. It can be disappointing when the best decor is nothing but a red herring.

The Missing Doctor fell into older escape room tropes such as too many locks of the same digital structure and broad searching.

Should I play Puzzle Theory’s The Missing Doctor?

The Missing Doctor was a well-designed introductory game. It relied heavily on common escape room tactics, but added a little bit of pizzazz.

The meat of the game was in the puzzles. There was just enough scenery and story to hold those together, but the gameplay carried this room escape.

If you are just starting to explore room escapes, this would be a good on-ramp with challenging puzzles. For more experienced players who prefer puzzling over set and story, give this one a go.

Book your hour with Puzzle Theory’s The Missing Doctor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Puzzle Theory provided media discounted tickets for this game.