How the hell do they justify selling tickets for $38.00?
Location: New York, NY
Date played: September 12, 2016
Team size: 2-8, we recommend 2-3
Duration: 60 minutes
Price: from $38 per ticket
Story & setting
We were robbers who learned of a bank’s plan to upgrade their security system. We had one hour to infiltrate their facilities and steal stuff before the upgrade completed.
We had to break into the bank through an adjacent store. The initial setup was adorable. Once in the bank, it looked alright. The walls were painted with bank-ish murals. Beyond that, it generally looked like an office.
Bluntly: there weren’t any puzzles.
There were a lot of tasks, some more clever than others. These tasks generally involved guesswork.
The closest that Bank Heist came to having a real puzzle hinged on a lot of counting.
The initial setup of breaking into the bank through its less secure neighboring business was clever and well-constructed.
There was one technological interaction that was pretty nifty. It wasn’t clued at all, but once we figured out what to do, it was neat.
Where do I even start?
Similar to their Alice in Wonderland game, Riddle Me Out mounted a tablet to the wall in order to distribute “self service hints” every five minutes. These hints were useless, generic direction cues. None of the touch screen hints gave us any useful information.
We reached a point in the game where we needed to use a toy that was repurposed as a game prop. The toy broke and we were stuck for a solid 20 minutes while we tried to make the thing work. We yelled and screamed and waved at the cameras. No help. Only repetition of the same hint telling us to do what we would have liked to do, had the prop worked. After some button mashing the thing kind-of-sort-of worked and we were able to limp through the rest of the task.
Nothing was properly clued. This game felt like a series of punchlines without setups. Every damn interaction took wild guesswork and luck. There were even times where we accomplished a task and didn’t even realize it.
This game was completely linear, but they sold eight expensive tickets to it. At any given point, at least four players on our eight-person team had nothing to do. Nothing at all.
At the end of our game, our gamemaster walked in and smugly began to tell us “what we missed” in one of the early interactions. It was the first time that I ever yelled at a gamemaster. I’m not proud of this, but I don’t regret it either.
One of our teammates, an enthusiast who was visiting from Europe and had time to play only two games during her stay, asked for a refund. The owner apologized for the game, but refused the refund.
Riddle Me Out offers the second most expensive tickets in New York at $38. That’s a joke.
Should I play Riddle Me Out’s Bank Heist?
Riddle Me Out displayed no sense of puzzle design or game flow in the Bank Heist. At its best, the Bank Heist offered a bit of novelty, but it never backed up anything with substance. There were no puzzles and the tasks were devoid of proper clue structure.
The gamemastering was abysmal; I don’t think we were being watched at all.
The experience that Riddle Me Out gave us was on par with some of the worst escape room experiences that I’ve ever had.
Riddle Me Out’s Bank Heist would be a rip-off at half of the price.
Full disclosure: Riddle Me Out provided media discounted tickets for this game.