Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel [Review]

What a gem!

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Date Played: May 30, 2022

Team Size: 1-8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 75 minutes

Price: $34.99 per player for 1-2 players to $25.99 per player for 6+ players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel was a puzzle-filled superhero adventure into a supervillain’s lair.

The puzzles in Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel were an absolute blast. Most puzzles had multiple steps and layers, leading to tons of mental and visual ahas. Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel had a lower number of distinct puzzles than some of Trapped Puzzle Rooms’ other rooms, but this density made for a more concentrated, highly dynamic 75-minute game.

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel also looked great. A range of textures and vibrant colors evoked a comic book superhero vibe. The set was amongst the most attractive that Trapped Puzzle Rooms has created yet, outpaced only by Witchcraft Alley.

Though Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel had a clear final objective, much of the gameplay felt like a sequence of thematic but otherwise unconnected puzzles. The puzzles were fantastic and flowed well. There was some intermediate sub-theming around certain superpowers. Yet a clearer narrative throughline could have provided players with a more immediate sense of purpose and progression throughout.

A large box labeled "One Million Tons" atop rubble.

Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel is one of the top games at Trapped Puzzle Rooms and in the Twin Cities as a whole. Along with Witchcraft Alley, Eternity Battle represents a noteworthy evolution for Trapped in set design, tech, and puzzle creativity, as well as a loving tribute to a particular fandom. If you are in the Twin Cities and love puzzles, I highly recommend checking out Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel.

Continue reading “Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Eternity Battle: A Super Sequel [Review]”

Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Witchcraft Alley [Review]

Escapiosa!

Location: Minneapolis, MN

Date Played: May 30, 2022

Team Size: 1-10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $34.99 per player for 1-2 players to $25.99 per player for 6+ players

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Witchcraft Alley was a magical journey into a land of dark spells and wizarding consumerism.

As the newest and shiniest of Trapped Puzzle Rooms’ in-person offerings, Witchcraft Alley balanced densely creative puzzles with a myriad of magical effects and cool transitions. Trapped has always seemed to excel in the puzzle department, and this room was no exception. But Witchcraft Alley also provided a genuine sense of exploration and discovery that was somewhat lacking in Trapped’s previous creations and the Twin Cities escape room scene on the whole. Whereas Trapped’s earlier rooms each followed a predictable progression through 1-3 rectangular spaces, Witchcraft Alley played more with the floor plan and achieved a higher level of environmental storytelling.

Prior to visiting Trapped’s Minneapolis and St. Paul brick-and-mortar locations, I was already quite familiar with their work through having played their entire remote catalog: 9 audio escape rooms and 5 tabletop puzzle games, including their recent Kickstarter game Ruff Bluff. If you’ve read my Hivemind reviews of any of those games, you’ll know I’ve been a big fan.

Witchcraft Alley matched the level of wit, polish, and charm I’ve come to expect from Trapped’s virtual offerings. If there were one primary area for improvement, it would be the inclusion and development of some memorable characters โ€” which was perhaps the strongest feature of Trapped’s Audio Escape Adventures yet was all but absent in Witchcraft Alley.

A wall of crystal balls, dramatically lit.

I love seeing how escape room companies mature, and Witchcraft Alley illustrated a particularly compelling evolution. Witchcraft Alley might be seen as the spiritual successor to Trapped’s related-in-theme Wizard’s Tower, which Lisa and David reviewed back in 2017. I also played Wizard’s Tower during my visit, and the room has held up quite well; yet Witchcraft Alley has leveled up in almost all dimensions.

Witchcraft Alley is a strong must-play if you are visiting Minneapolis, and I believe it’ll serve as the new benchmark for the local escape room scene.

Continue reading “Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Witchcraft Alley [Review]”

Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Ruff Bluff: A Furlock Holmes Mystery [Review]

A doggone delight.

Location: at home

Date Played: May 2022

Team size: 1-4; we recommend 2-3

Duration: 6-10 hours, broken into four acts

Price: back on Kickstarter at $69 to receive a copy of the game

REA Reaction

With its clever construction and whimsical design, Ruff Bluff: A Furlock Holmes Mystery stands out from the pack of play-at-home puzzle games. Trapped Puzzle Rooms has a reputation for devising uniquely charming, joyful experiences, and Ruff Bluff has built on that past expertise to create a more complex, premium addition to its Trapped Takeout product line. As of June 21, 2022, itโ€™s available to back on Kickstarter for projected release in November 2022.

Box with the text "Ruff Bluff: A Furlock Holmes Mystery" and an illustration of seven dogs playing poker

The real meat of Ruff Bluff is its puzzles. The volume of gameplay in each small box or envelope surprised us every time. We marveled at the elaborate game structure as the acts unfolded. Certain puzzles proved quite challenging, but Trapped provided an excellent online hint system to give the right level of guidance and prevent players from getting stuck.

Rather than leaning on printed materials, Trapped included game components that were varied, tactile, and fun to interact with. A couple of the more memorable items would be fun to keep on hand and revisit even after the game is over. We played a mostly finished prototype version; some components will be changed before the official release, but it seems fair to expect the final product will be even more polished.

Ruff Bluff is equally sophisticated and fun-filled, with a thoughtfully refined game flow framed by a wholesome whodunit set in an amusing dog-filled world. When it arrives later this year, it will be a worthy addition to any puzzle loverโ€™s collection.

And if you like dog puns, all the better.

Continue reading “Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Ruff Bluff: A Furlock Holmes Mystery [Review]”

Trapped Puzzle Rooms – The Spielburger Box Set [Hivemind Review]

The Spielburger Box Set is a tabletop escape game created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in Saint Paul, MN.

An assortment of parody DVD boxes beside a bowl of popcorn including, "The Boonies" "Indiana Bones," and "Mandibles."

Format

Style of Play:

  • tabletop escape game
  • play on demand
  • includes video elements
  • light puzzle hunt

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection (or mobile device), pen and paper, scissors, tape

Recommended Team Size: 1-4

Play Time: 3-6 hours

Price: $45.95

Booking: purchase, wait for the game to ship to you, and play at your leisure

Description

This game is a set of puzzles based on punny knock-offs of Steven Spielberg movies. Each of the 5 chapters (movies) has two paper puzzles whose answers you validate via a website. You will go back and forth between the puzzles in the box and the website. You can play the 5 game chapters in any order. There is a short series of meta-puzzles at the end.

Hivemind Review Scale

Trapped Puzzle Rooms – Spirit Train [Hivemind Review]

Update: If you want to hear more about Spirit Train back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it, spoilers and all.

Spirit Train is an audio game created by Trapped Puzzle Rooms in St. Paul, MN.

Illustration of a cartoon train with arms on a track. A bird flies overhead.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Audio game

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection.

You’ll need Discord. The desktop app works best.

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: 2 hours

Price: $28

Booking: book online for a specific time slot

Description

Spirit Train is an audio game, run in Discord. The gamemaster describes the scene, characters, and objects in the story. You tell them what you would like to do or examine, or to whom you’d like to speak, and they tell you what happens after you take that action. It’s a bit like a role-playing game, but with more puzzles.

In addition to the audio narration of the story and puzzles, artwork is displayed in a text channel.

The host improvises with players and whatever ideas they come up with.

Hivemind Review Scale