The Secret Chambers – Fort Worth – The Mafia Adventure [Review]

The Mafia Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

What happens at the jazz club stays at the jazz club.

Location:  Fort Worth, TX

Date Played: March 29, 2022

Team Size: 4-12; we recommend 2-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player (you must pay for a minimum of 4 even if fewer play)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players must climb a staircase. At least one player must crawl.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Playing The Mafia Adventure was like touring a historical model of the Prohibition era while getting to play with actual artifacts from the time period. All of the puzzles and activities were strongly thematic and often fully immersive, asking us to role-play actions that made complete sense in the environment. The set felt so authentic and well-researched that I wondered whether I could study it to learn about history. According to the company’s website, it seems that you can.

This escape room followed The Secret Chambers’s pattern of designing a rich scenario, filling it with delightful interactions and reveals, and then giving a path through those interactions using written notes that you discover along the way. Some of these notes were of the form “do this thing.” Others were more cryptic than usual, leaving room for more ahas on the part of the adventurer.

A pool table with red felt in a room with ornate gold ceiling tiles.

Our main critique of the experience was an occasional though significant benefit from outside knowledge that might be hard to grok from the materials meant to scaffold it in the moment. The knowledge was entirely thematic, and the room would have been drastically different without it. This design bought immersion at the expense of added difficulty for some players, but the room should still be doable either way.

The Secret Chambers is a regional must-visit company, and The Mafia Adventure stands out for its intricate attention to detail and impeccable ambiance.

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The Secret Chambers – Arlington – The Area 51 Adventure [Review]

The Area 51 Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

I’m not saying it was aliens, but…

Location:  Arlington, TX

Date Played: March 29, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player (you must pay for a minimum of 4 even if fewer play)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: All players must climb 2-3 stairs. One player must climb more extensively.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As a company, The Secret Chambers consistently offers spectacular, immersive environments and dynamic set pieces. The Area 51 Adventure met these expectations and then kept going, with abundant sci-fi references, various surprises, and one jaw-dropping reveal that made me giddy.

A glowing, futuristic periodic table of the elements in a sci-fi room with a barrel leaking green material. A door reads, "Anti-matter bomb chamber."

Beyond the set, this room offered an impressive puzzle game. A handful of puzzles were familiar, but most were fresh and challenging, usually relying on fun and thematic props. Although many of these puzzles had an extended execution phase, we were generally excited every time we realized what we needed to do. These tasks ranged from lighthearted and joyful to precise and pressure-filled, leading to a wide range of emotions throughout the experience.

Several of these puzzles also relied on an array of dexterity skills that added novelty and intensity, though these might “alienate” players who prefer more mental exercises. These elements made the room feel more interactive than many while requiring participation from multiple team members. Indeed, communication and collaboration were hallmarks of this room, truly testing our teamwork capacity.

We consider The Secret Chambers to be a regional must-visit company, and The Area 51 Adventure is one of its stand-out experiences.

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The Secret Chambers – The Poe Adventure [Review]

The Poe Adventure is one of the best games in the Dallas area. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms around Dallas.

“There is no beauty without some strangeness.” – Edgar Allen Poe

Location: Arlington, TX

Date Played: July 18, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player (you must pay for a minimum of 4 even if fewer play)

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: at least one team member must be able to navigate stairs and tight crawl spaces; the gameplay included dexterity challenges

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As soon as we stepped into the lushly decorated Poe manor and met our disembodied gamemaster, it was evident that The Secret Chambers was deeply invested in delivering a haunting and haunted experience. The décor and gameplay delivered an immersive exploration of the world of Edgar Allen Poe that, while suitably chilling, was not overtly terrifying. Anyone comfortable with Poe’s works would be comfortable with this room.

A skull on a railing in an ornate room with portraits hung on purple walls.

Small design details contributed enormously to the smooth flow of this experience. Sound effects drew our attention to the next points of interest, clear labels helped us associate information efficiently, and there was even a way to track our progress. Being comfortable with our pace was invaluable because it gave us permission to fully absorb our surroundings. The main detriment to the room’s flow was a bottleneck in the middle of the experience; spatially, there was only room for two players to participate, leaving larger parties with little to do.

From a gameplay perspective, the puzzles and tasks were simple yet satisfying. Indeed, experienced players shouldn’t expect a challenge here; this “adventure” (like others we played at The Secret Chambers) was more about participating in an immersive environment and delighting in its revelations. Our favorite puzzles delivered joy via interactions with one-of-a-kind set pieces that required unusual feats of collaborative dexterity.

Despite the extensive thematic coherence of the props and puzzles, there wasn’t a strong rationale for why things were happening. Regardless, this room’s impeccable atmosphere and captivating interactions make it well worth your time if you’re near the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Fans of Edgar Allen Poe
  • Any experience level (but must be older than 10 to play)
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