The Ultimate Escape Game – Dead by Dawn [Review]

“Give me back my hand!”

Location: Dallas, TX

Date Played: March 27, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25.99 – $35.99, depending on the number of players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: One player must crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

As the room’s title suggests, Dead by Dawn was inspired by the cult classic Evil Dead 2. Instead of a blatant riff on the movie, this room offered a more subtle homage. The set mimicked the infamous cabin, and the overarching motivation for our quest followed Evil Dead lore, but most puzzles and props seemed to fall into the more generic space of campy horror. One could interpret some of these as opaque references, but even then it felt like part of the movie’s essence was missing. With the appropriate expectations, this isn’t a bad thing, especially for a broader audience. Indeed, the room was approachable as an unintimidating intro to horror rooms.

A wood cabin with an assortment of items in front including a toolbox, a wagon wheel, and a barrel.

For enthusiasts who have played many rooms, many of the puzzles and reveal mechanisms here will be familiar. Players encountering them for the first time will be delighted, and more experienced players might still enjoy them as part of a quick-paced series of solves and some spookily playful set interactions. Also, the final puzzle was fresh and challenging. We spent quite a while analyzing it afterwards.

This would be a good room for local players to share with newbie friends. If you’re looking for a more challenging experience, try the Ultimate Escape Game’s Fallout or Flight 2157.

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The Ultimate Escape Game – Fallout [Review]

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

“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘nuclear wasteland'”

Location: Dallas, TX

Date Played: March 27, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25.99 – $35.99, depending on the number of players

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: One player must crawl

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Fallout offered a combination of classic lock-based puzzles and satisfying physical tasks that all fit within the apocalyptic realm of the Fallout video games. My Fallout-savvy teammate found references to the games everywhere and admired how thoroughly the experience blended those details into both the set and the puzzles. I, a Fallout newbie, could still appreciate the theme, which I processed more generally as a playful forecast of a post-nuclear world.

Aside from the careful theming, the other standout feature of this room was the set layout. A huge metal silo in the middle of a broad alleyway obscured half of the set from every viewpoint. This required us to form a mental model of the space and to refine our communication strategies as we lost track of each other. The space was also open enough to run through it at length, which we did often. This felt liberating and novel in an escape room set, but it also matched the urgency of the scenario.

A corrugated aluminum structure with a sign on it that reads, "Danger Radiation."

The only slight drawback to the scenario was when it obscured whether a prop was unreliable due to the realism of the apocalypse or due to present-day malfunctioning. This happened twice, but our gamemaster offered prompt clarity.

For its attention to detail and unusual game space, Fallout is worth checking out as you play through noteworthy rooms in Dallas.

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