Trapology – Crush Depth [Review]

Crushed it.

Location:  Boston, Massachusetts

Date Played:  December 15, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit: Yes

REA Reaction

Crush Depth was a great escape room.

It had an intense, detailed, and imposing aesthetic. The puzzles were meaty and entertaining. The story put an atypical twist on a fairly common concept.

While we encountered a bit of ambiguity with puzzle sequencing, and it was occasionally difficult to find what we were supposed to do among the various set details, it still played really well.

We wholeheartedly recommend it for players who are nearby and have a bit of escape room experience.

In-game: overhead shot of a the bunks in the submarine.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Submarine aesthetic
  • Unorthodox story choice
  • Strong puzzles

Story

While we were serving aboard a submarine, the spirit of the boat’s former captain assumed control, and in a final vengeful act, set a course for crush depth. We had to banish the angry spirit and retake control of the submarine before we all received a gruesome physics lesson.

In-game: an axe hanging over a porthole.

Setting

Crush Depth was an aesthetically gorgeous game, among the most beautiful that we’ve seen in the region.

The submarine set was detailed and weathered. It felt right. There was a lot to look at.

Additionally, the layout felt correct. The entire game took place in a narrow series of rooms.

In-game: wide angle of a the bunks in the submarine.

Gameplay

Trapology’s Crush Depth was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

In-game: closeup of a high voltage electrical box.

Analysis

➕ Trapology turned a few rooms of their downtown Boston office building space into a submarine. The set design looked great.

➖ Although the set looked great, not all of the puzzle components were on the same level. Trapology relied on laminated paper for some clue structure.

➖ The submarine set contained interesting knobs, dials, and gadgets. It wasn’t entirely apparent which were in play and which were decor.

In-game: closeup of a axe-head.

➕ We’ve escaped a lot of submarines, but this was the first one that was haunted by a vengeful ghost captain. Trapology twisted two themes together to create something new and exciting. (Note, Crush Depth is not a horror game.)

In-game: closeup of a small metal step.

➕ Crush Depth was a puzzle-focused escape room with many excellent solves. We always had something interesting to work on.

➖ We encountered one clunky mid-game sequence. Some of the cluing felt a bit out of order.

In-game: A shower-head in a small stall.

➖/➕We couldn’t always tell when we’d triggered an open. Trapology could add lighting or sound cues to make tech-driven opens pop. That said, our attentive gamemaster directed us to anything we’d opened without realizing it.

➕ The final sequence of interactions was massive, tangible, and so satisfying. The conclusion was explosive.

In-game: close-up of a wheel/ door handle.

➕ Trapology had a beautiful lobby. We wish we could have lounged there for longer. We loved the cozy, steampunk-inspired aesthetic.

Tips For Visiting

  • Trapology is easily accessible by T. Take the Green Line to Boylston St.
  • We recommend Explorateur on the corner for a coffee, drinks, a meal… and some really interesting desserts.

Book your hour with Trapology’s Crush Depth, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Trapology comped our tickets for this game.

Trapology – The Retreat [Review]

Camping is in-tents.

Location: Boston, MA

Date played: September 20, 2017

Team size: up to 5; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $33 per ticket

Story & setting

We were staying in an Airbnb-ed tent in the woods when we learned that previous guests had gone missing. We needed to determine their fate and escape it ourselves.

The Retreat captured the woodsy feel of a rugged weekend getaway. Trapology staged this adventure at night, which made for a dramatic, low-light setting.

In-game: Two women in a dark candle-lit tent nervously peering out of the flap.
Image via Trapology.

Puzzles

The puzzling was linear. It started off simply and became increasingly complex. The Retreat had a remarkably smooth difficulty curve.

Standouts

The puzzle flow with the incrementally escalating complexity worked really well.

The set was varied. We enjoyed the thematic transition.

In-game: Two women cautiously opening a shed door in the middle of the woods.
Image via Trapology.

Trapology crafted mild horror, avoiding kitschy and childish props. The Retreat was approachable; it set a scary tone, but wasn’t truly horrific.

The Retreat was amusing. We especially loved the humor incorporated into one of the late-game puzzles.

Shortcomings

The Retreat took place almost entirely in low light. While on-theme, this could also be frustrating. We relied a little too heavily on flashlights.

Although entertaining and thematically appropriate, the puzzles felt born of the escape room genre rather than created to convey the narrative.

Should I play Trapology’s The Retreat?

The Retreat was a well-designed, small-team game in downtown Boston. We don’t usually see this type of escape room in a major city and it was refreshing.

We recommend The Retreat to newer players looking for an on-ramp and the comfort of their own group. The smooth difficulty curve makes this escape room a good starting place.

Experienced players will likely play through The Retreat pretty quickly, but once it gets going, there are some fun puzzles to chew on.

We are delighted that The Retreat offers a small-team experience. Because it is built for 2-3, and could even be enjoyed by a solo traveler, we recommend that Trapology use private bookings (maybe with tiered pricing) so that players don’t inadvertently get crammed together. It’s an intimate game and best enjoyed that way.

Grab a close friend or two and go exploring Trapology’s Retreat.

Book your hour with Trapology’s Retreat, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Trapology comped our tickets for this game.

 

Trapology Boston – Drunk Tank [Review]

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Date played: August 9, 2015

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 7-9. It’s nice to have an odd number.

Price: $28 per ticket

Sam Adams Locked Down


Theme & story

You and your friends wake up in a jail cell after a crazy night out in Boston. You think that you’ve been arrested, but soon discover that it’s not the police who are holding you captive.

The game began with the players handcuffed together in pairs within a cell.

The jail cell design was a compelling, fun way to begin the game.

The game started very strong, but then the story veered off course, along with the puzzles.

Puzzle variety

The Drunk Tank included a wonderful variety of puzzles and challenges.

It was physically involved in a way that I wish more escape rooms were. Trapology managed to include physically interactive challenges without requiring athleticism.

The room incorporated far more puzzle variety than we ever expect from a new company.

Puzzle mechanics

This wasn’t a lock and key room and that was one of its finest qualities.

Most of its puzzles work really well. There is one puzzle early in the game that has the potential for the players to render it unsolvable through user error (in our case this almost happened, but one of our more industrious teammates slipped his handcuffs, giving him the mobility he needed to overcome the problem).

The other problematic puzzle is the final one. It was mechanically a little wonky and one of the clues was so very difficult to see that we looked right at it multiple times without realizing that it was there.

Trapology Boston - Drunk Tank

The slow decline of a good thing

From a quality standpoint, this game really had one of the strongest openings we’ve seen. As the game progressed, the story became a conglomeration of different pop culture references and story snippets from famous crime/ prison television shows and movies; some worked better than others (Shawshank Redemption reference FTW!).

As the story lost focus, so did the puzzles. I found myself repeatedly wondering why items and puzzles were in the game. A good story requires some editing; that’s what this game needed.

None of this ruined the experience, but Trapology was flirting with greatness in this room.

Plays 10 people

It was a tight fit with 10 people locked in a jail cell, but even within the cell everyone was engaged. Everyone stayed engaged as the game unfolded.

It’s a true 10 player room in part because the handcuffing of players forced teamwork, rendering simple tasks considerably more challenging in a great way.

The downside here is that this game managed to keep everyone engaged through a large volume of red herrings. The rules tell players up front that there are things in this room that aren’t helpful; that was no lie.

Should I play Trapology’s Drunk Tank?

Boston is a city with surprisingly little room escape competition. Trapology is a great addition to the landscape.

The Drunk Tank is a game that starts strong, but loses itself along the way. It could use a little more focus, and the puzzles could fit into the story quite a bit better, but the game was fun right up until the end.

We left feeling a little sore over that one aforementioned clue, but it was a solvable puzzle with a necessary clue that we we failed to see. That being said, a loss due to scavenging feels worse than failing to solve a puzzle.  That’s room escapes; you never know what’s going to get you.

The Drunk Tank is a room on the good side of average. It’s Trapology’s first room and it is one of the best first attempts we’ve seen. They have a lot of space in their facility and we have high hopes for their next game.

Book your hour with Trapology’s Drunk Tank, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.