2022 Golden Lock Awards

With an expanded team of prolific escape room players, it’s our pleasure to share with you the 2022 Golden Lock Award winners.

Since 2015, we have been honoring our favorite escape experiences of the year, calling special attention to them with the Golden Lock Award.

This year’s collection of winners in the real-life category come exclusively from North America, as travel has been challenging. We have, however, dedicated much of our collective travel time to visiting parts of the United States that we hadn’t covered over the past 8 years, and found many gems to share with you.

Additionally we added a category to honor tabletop escape games (something we probably should have done a few years ago). We know there are tabletop games in our queue still that will likely be future winners. The tabletop escape room scene has expanded a lot of the past few years and we’re excited to continue to recognize creatively and ingenuity in this category as well.

2022 Golden Lock Award Ribbon, text reads, "44 Escape Games You Must Play"
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City 13 – Save the City [Review]

Not all superheroes wear (es)capes

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Date Played: March 11, 2022

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 4 hours (5 hours with cutscenes, breaks, etc.)

Price: $75 per player for full 4 hours, $45 per player for 1 hour, $60 per player for 2 hours

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Save the City was monumentally greater than the sum of its parts. With up to 4 hours of continuous gameplay in a warehouse-scale facility, we emerged truly feeling like superheroes.

During lockdown, City 13 undertook an ambitious project: designing a mega escape game that would combine their 4 individual hour-long rooms into a single uninterrupted experience, targeted especially at escape room enthusiasts. To accomplish this, they designed the wide hallways between rooms to look like graffiti-covered cyberpunk streets, built out an entire track of bonus puzzles throughout these alleyways, and created an additional fifth room. They also wrote a story that tied all the gameplay together, seamlessly interweaving the individual chapters into the overarching narrative.

Of City 13’s four original rooms, Neon Light Diner was the standout, both in originality of set design and creative puzzle flow. The other three rooms all contained some fun moments though overall felt a bit more dated and showed wear. But the real standout of Save the City was all the new puzzle content added in the streets, and the ways in which it managed to recontextualize and elevate the content of the individual rooms. We especially enjoyed a multi-stage puzzle sequence that progressively granted us superpowers, and audio-based cutscenes that provided a clear narrative trajectory and introduced us to a cast of memorable characters. If this is reflective of City 13’s current design sensibilities, they are truly a company to keep an eye on.

A factory-like building with brick walls, storage crates, and unusual machines.

I first heard about Save the City in November 2020 from fellow REA writer Richard Burns’ interview with City 13’s owner Nick Timber, and I was instantly intrigued. I can now strongly attest that Save the City is an epic adventure worth traveling to.

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This Saturday: 2022 Golden Lock Awards

It’s almost time for the 2022 Golden Lock Awards!

This year the REA team has traveled extensively… and largely to regions we haven’t covered before. We’re so excited to tell you about some phenomenal games, many of which you may not be familiar with.

The awards feature REA writers: Andrew Reynolds, Brett Kuehner, Joel Smileypeacefun, Kate Wastl, Matthew Stein, Peih-Gee Law, Richard Burns, Sarah Mendez, Theresa Wagner, and Lisa & David.

Many other writers contributed to determining the winners and articulating the brilliance in these games.

And the final production is edited by REPOD editor Steve Ewing.

This was a group effort and we think you’ll love the result.

Image of the Golden Lock Award for 2022 beside the text, "Livestream April 30"
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