Boston: Escape Room Fan Shindig on December 16

We’re hosting a get-together in Boston in December!

This is a casual gathering for folks to meet each other and chat about escape rooms and other immersive entertainment.

Two smiley face stick figures carrying the final two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle into place.

Details

  • Sunday, December 16
  • 10:30am – 1:00pm (yes this is in the morning)
  • Talk at 11:00am
  • Room Escapers (3 School St, Boston, MA 02108 inside The Old Corner Bookstore)
  • Please bring a food or beverage to share (no alcohol)
  • Note that there is no elevator at this location.

Why Boston?

We’ll be visiting Boston to attend Club Drosselmeyer that evening. We know lots of other folks will be in town for this event. Before we all get dressed in our 1941 finery… let’s meet up in the present day.

Who should attend?

Escape room players, bloggers, podcasters, designers, owners, operators… and anyone who is even just a little bit escape-room curious.

We also welcome other immersive entertainment goers and creators. You don’t need to be escape-room focused to join this conversation.

If you’re in and around Boston, come on out; we’d love to meet you!

Speaking

We’ll be giving a short talk during the get-together.

We’re going to:

  • tell stories about some of our favorite escape rooms from our travels
  • discuss trends in escape rooms
  • share perspective on where we think the medium is going
  • unpack what the changes mean for the players

RSVP

Please RSVP on Facebook or by contacting us.

Boda Borg Boston Revisited – Potions

After two and a half years we finally returned to Boda Borg Boston… and there were some new games.

What’s The Same?

For the most part, Boda Borg was as we’d left it and discussed in great detail in our previous review.

It was still:

  • an automated physical challenge/ puzzle facility (now with 17 games instead of 16)
  • rough on the knees (kneepads recommended)
  • worth spending at least half a day exploring

Boda Borg's logo beside some of the militaristic props from their game Platoon.

What’s Different?

Some of the games had changed:

  • Infrared had dropped from the Boda Borg spectrum, replaced by the affirmational and strangely puzzley Awesome. We won this one quickly and seemed to have surprised the staff by doing so. It was a weird, low-budget game that we got a kick out of.
  • Rock & Roll had died, replaced by the communicative Shapes. We loved Shapes even when we encountered what we’re confident was a technical glitch.
  • Step Up had stepped down, replaced by ball-based Boll Koll. This was a fantastic addition to the Boda Borg lineup. This teamwork/ physical challenge/ puzzle mashup had a phenomenal ending.
  • Potions was entirely new. It’s the main topic of today’s discussion.

Boda Borg is a Strange Beast

I love and hate Boda Borg; I mostly mean this as a compliment.

The hybrid of challenging gameplay, automation, and some basic flaws in the human brain makes Boda Borg both brilliant and messy.

Players learn how to puzzle through each game with trial and error. Failure isn’t just inevitable; it’s how you learn to play in a Boda Borg game.

This gameplay is overseen by automated systems. The systems work really well, most of the time. Occasionally, some of them seem janky. We’ve lost for seemingly no reason in rooms that we knew how to solve. Sometimes this was just a fluke; sometimes it shattered our trust in a game. There is a real opportunity, and need, for Boda Borg to clean this problem up as it can break otherwise fantastic experiences.

This leads to what I call Boda Borg superstitions: situations where we more or less know how to solve a room, but because we don’t quite have it all figured out, we try not to change anything from what had worked before, resulting in us adding an extra step or constraint that has nothing to do with the proper solution to the room.

This play structure is complicated by the occasional unexpected and barely-clued psychotic spike in difficulty.

Boda Borg offers some beastly challenges that would be a nightmare in an escape room because of time constraint and limited freedom. In an escape room, you cannot abandon a puzzle that you aren’t enjoying or cannot solve. In Boda Borg, you can. That’s why this is more than acceptable; it flat out works.

Boda Borg isn’t meant to be fully won. It can be done, but the photos of teams that have successfully completed all available challenges are shockingly few.

Potions

Potions is one of the new games, and one of the most – if not the most – aesthetically pleasing installments in Boda Borg Boston (rivaled only by Alcatraz).

In-game: Boda Borg's Potions, interior. A Harry Potter-esque wizard's lab.
Photo by Ronald Batista

Set

Potions was a Potter-esque wizard’s laboratory where each phase took us on a journey to best a dragon. The set had that earthy, medieval vibe that immediately conveyed fantasy.

Room 1

The first room was a purely cerebral puzzle. It was smart, challenging, and fairly well clued.

When we knew what we were doing, it was possible to complete this first room incredibly quickly.

Room 2

The second phase of Potions was a mostly self-evident dexterity puzzle. We got to a place where we worked through this challenge with military precision.

There was one massive oversight in this room. The conclusion seemed like it had originally been designed as a far more complex puzzle and Boda Borg had smartly simplified it after play testing. Unfortunately, the remaining infrastructure for the more complicated version was still there and its presence was confusing as hell…

which brings me to room 3.

Room 3

The third room turned everything that we thought we had learned on its end and presented what I think is the most difficult twist that I’ve ever seen in a puzzle game. It was a total brain melter. (It was also unnecessarily and obnoxiously complicated by that left over puzzle infrastructure from the end of room 2.)

We killed ourselves to figure out the first trick to room 3… but we did it, in part thanks to short lines at Potions and in part thanks to helpful hinting by the friendly staff.

We kind of figured out the second half, but ultimately couldn’t sort it out. We ran out of time and patience before we could complete Potions.

Trial & Error Learning

I don’t think players will trial and error their way through the third room without some form of redirection.

Boda Borg has conditioned players how to think and learn from these games. Potions offered a genius twist on the parameters of gameplay. It expanded what Boda Borg gameplay can be. It was brilliant.

It also wasn’t clued. The solve was clued. The twist was not. Not even a little bit. We didn’t have a fighting chance. We also weren’t going to get lucky. Boda Borg superstition couldn’t help us here.

Wrap Up

Potions was a fantastic case study in how Boda Borg is interesting, infuriating, and wonderful; it vacillated among all three.

Boda Borg is pushing the envelope. Potions is pushing that even more. We hope Boda Borg can refine the clue structure just a bit more. We didn’t want to walk away from this one.

The root of what makes Boda Borg special is the freedom to explore, the expectation of constant failure, and the openness of the facility.

If we stopped deriving pleasure from a game, there were always 16 others for us to attempt.

5 Wits Foxboro, MA – 20,000 Leagues [Review]

“Trains, like time and tides stop for no one.” -Jules Verne

Location: Foxboro, MA

Date Played: July 15, 2018

Team size: 2-15; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $19.99 per ticket for one adventure, $24.99 for two adventures

Ticketing: Public (contact them for private games)

REA Reaction

20,000 Leagues was beautiful. At times the gameplay dragged. At times the puzzles were surprisingly challenging. Above all else, it was an immersive adventure in a spacious, detailed, elaborate environment.

If you’re familiar with 5 Wits, know that the Foxboro location offers longer, actor-lead adventures. 20,000 Leagues is only offered at the Foxboro location.

5 Wits was more about the adventure than the puzzles. If that’s appealing, and you’re anywhere near Boston, this is worth a visit, especially if you have children with you.

Game exterior: The exterior of the marble walled Jules Verne Nautical Museum.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Families
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A magnificent and massive set
  • Great approachable puzzle sequences
  • Family friendly entertainment

Story

Our trip to the Jules Verne museum took a turn for the fantastic when we stumbled upon the long-hidden submarine Nautilus. Once under the depths of the sea, however, we had a lot of work to do. Captain Nemo’s old vessel wasn’t exactly in mint condition.

In-game: a sculpture of the Nautilus in a marble walled museum.

Setting

We entered the Jules Verne museum for our tour of their collection. Through an unexpected accident we ultimately found ourselves traveling 20,000 leagues in the legendary Nautilus. From there our experience traversed the massive boat.

The set was beautiful, weathered, detailed, and wide open (which didn’t necessarily feel like a submarine, but did help keep things comfortable).

In-game: Interior shot of the Nautilus with weathered and riveted metal walls.

Gameplay

5 Wits’ 20,000 Leagues was a family-friendly adventure guided by an actor with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling and enjoying the large and detailed set.

In-game: a series of glowing green rods and a blue tube with visible electricity.

Analysis

20,000 Leagues was aesthetically beautifully from entrance to exit.

– While the opening sequence in the museum was a cute idea, wandering among paintings and some basic exhibits was far from an exciting opening. It took a long time for the experience to start delivering serious interactive excitement.

+ The transition moment from museum to submarine was surprising, humorous, and entertaining.

In-game: the weathered metal walls and a large sealed door.

+ We enjoyed many of the spatial reasoning puzzles in 20,000 Leagues, some which especially got our brains in gear.

In-game: a tower of interlocking wooden gears against a marble museum wall.

+ There was an honestly challenging puzzle sequence in 20,000 Leagues. Solving this felt especially satisfying.

– One segment relied too heavily on precise color perception. It was more frustrating than engaging.

+/- There were great opportunities for team work throughout 20,000 Leagues… but I certainly would not want to play it with a group of more than 6 engaged players.

? Some of the best puzzles from 20,000 Leagues reemerged in 5 Wits’ newer games at other locations: Drago’s Castle and Deep Space. We genuinely enjoyed solving these again, but it had been a long time since we’d played those other games.

20,000 Leagues surfaced theatrically. It was a dramatic conclusion with exciting effects that engaged the entire group.

Tips for Visiting

  • 5 Wits is located at Patriot’s Place, near the cinema.
  • There are many food options at Patriot’s Place.
  • 20,000 Leagues is entirely wheelchair accessible.

Book your hour with 5 Wits’ 20,000 Leagues, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Room Escapers – Organized Chaos [Review]

Accurately named.

Location: Boston, MA

Date Played: July 14, 2018

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 4-6 (more for a different experience)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Organized Chaos was all about collecting evidence of crimes. There was a silly number of crimes to solve and a massive heap of evidence to collect in our attempt to collate the evils of an organized crime family… and doing so was chaotic.

While Room Escapers introduced innovative gameplay and some fun moments, the entire experience felt uneven. The quality of the puzzles, cluing, story, and set were all over the map. Some of it was great. Some of it fell short of what we know Room Escapers is capable of producing.

Organized Chaos is worth playing if you’re looking to keep a large group occupied or are interested in exploring an innovative approach to escape room design… even if some of it doesn’t quite gel.

In-game: the inside of a Boston bar covered in Massachusetts license plates, Red Sox banner, and a Budweiser advertisement.

Who is this for?

  • Searchers
  • Armchair detectives
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A massive amount of content
  • Deliberate chaos
  • A couple of memorable moments
  • A few strong puzzles

Story

It was the 1990s and organized crime was running rampant through Boston. Our agency had finally caught a break in our investigation and we had a brief span of time to investigate Spanky’s Pub, a notorious front business. Our goal: find evidence to close as many unsolved cases as we could before we were stopped by the mobster’s lawyers and their rolls of red tape.

In-game: The exterior for Spanky's Pub with a gated window, and no parking signs.

Setting

The starting area of Organized Chaos was split in two. Spanky’s Pub, a Boston bar complete with a beautiful old beer tap and New England sports insignias took up about two thirds of the gamespace. The remaining third of the gamespace was dedicated to evidence collection with a whiteboard-painted wall, evidence bins, case files, and a listing of missing evidence for each case.

In-game: a large game corner covered in white board paint, case files, and goals for each case.

The level of set detail fluctuated depending upon where we looked. Some portions were on point; others were a bit on the bare side.

Gameplay

Room Escapers’ Organized Chaos was an atypical escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

The goal was to find the evidence needed to close as many cases as possible. There wasn’t a traditional win/ lose scenario. We were given a score based on our case close rate. Closing a case required the recovery of three pieces of evidence per case.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, and remaining organized.

In-game: close up of a beautiful old beer tap.

Analysis

+ Room Escapers’ new School Street location had a spacious, comfortable lobby where they opened up the experience.

+ Our objectives were crystal clear and much of what we needed to accomplish was accessible to even the greenest of escape room players.

In-game: criminal case files in the Room Escapers lobby.

– While waiting for our game to start, we were presented with a selection of case files that would be relevant to the gameplay. While more competitive players might want to familiarize themselves with the material ahead of time, many teams will likely find these files dense, overwhelming, and filled with red herrings. We liked the concept, but as it was set up, the pre-game felt like homework and didn’t build up energy for the main event.

+/- There wasn’t any reason to read the case files; we could solve almost all of the crimes with just the evidence checklists. On the one hand, this made the gameplay itself less tedious than if we had had to read the case files. On the other hand, we were sitting on books of needless red herring detail.

– One puzzle couldn’t be solved without either a thorough case file reading or specific outside knowledge. This opened us up to a entire file of red herrings. It also deviated from the pattern learned throughout gameplay that we didn’t need to read the case files.

+ There was a lot to tackle in Organized Chaos. Players were never lacking things to do.

– We didn’t get a sense of the characters or the crimes from the focused search for evidence. Even after solving all the cases, we left with no emotional investment in any of characters or the crimes.

+ Room Escapers provided a dedicated evidence organizing workspace. We especially enjoyed the whiteboard wall.

? Successful teams will likely designate an “evidence cataloguer” to manage the chaos. This person likely won’t experience the rest of the gameplay. Depending on your group, this could be the perfect role for someone… or no one.

+ Room Escapers built a number of fun puzzle interactions and releases into thematic set pieces.

– The point system felt anticlimactic and tacked on because we were only truly introduced to it after the clock had stopped. As a result, the concluding moments of the game felt muddy.

Organized Chaos was aptly named. It could keep a large group busy. It was utter chaos managing all that we needed to do. Organizing it was the goal.

Tips for Visiting

  • Organized Chaos is at Room Escapers’ School Street location.
  • It is easily accessible by subway. Get off at Park Street or Government Center.
  • If you’re driving, the Pi Alley Parking Garage is right nearby.

Book your hour with Room Escapers’ Organized Chaos, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Room Escapers comped our tickets for this game.

Boxaroo – Conundrum Museum [Review]

The best security in escape rooms!

Location: Boston, MA

Date Played: July 1, 2018

Team size: 4-10; we recommend 4-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Boxaroo is back in business after a long hiatus. Conundrum Museum was a puzzle-driven escape room that one of our teammates described over drinks as, “the most challenging escape room that I’ve ever played.” This was a difficult escape room in an elegant, but not particularly exciting, environment.

If you’re in escape rooms for the puzzles, Conundrum Museum is top-notch and worth playing if you’re anywhere nearby.

In-game: An art gallery with three framed Jackson Pollak-like non-objective paintings behind a red velvet rope.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Good opening
  • Challenging and interesting puzzles
  • A great late-game reveal sequence

Story

We were framed! We had been visiting a renowned art museum when a number of pieces went missing. Thankfully the police response time left us an opportunity to unravel the mystery before we could be arrested.

In-game: an art gallery with a very large wooden crate in the middle.

Setting

Conundrum Museum was an art gallery escape room with the white walls and assortment of art displays-turned-puzzles that we’ve come to expect of the genre.

The aesthetic twist: Boxaroo added a massive and intriguing crate in the middle of the room, along with a number of hidden interactions and technology.

In-game: closeup of two crates, one labeled, "Universal Shipping and Crating," the other, "Handle with care."

Gameplay

Boxaroo’s Conundrum Museum was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

Analysis

Conundrum Museum had a strong opening sequence that established the story.

+ One set piece grabbed our attention from the early moments. Late game, it delivered on built up intrigue.

– Conundrum Museum started off slowly. Although the majority of the gameplay was nonlinear, there was only one starting puzzle. It would be easy to flail around for a while before figuring out how to start in on anything.

+ Boxaroo designed a variety of puzzles, many of which required or benefitted from teamwork. This dynamic was the heart of Conundrum Museum.

+ At its best, Conundrum Museum brought about fantastic aha moments where it felt like the lights suddenly turned on and everything suddenly made sense.

– One puzzle felt a bit too dense. We took multiple hints on this puzzle, each hint confusing us more.

+ While Conundrum Museum included a lot of locks, it was generally clear where to input any derived code.

+ Our team enjoyed – and I loved – the inventive meta puzzle. It has forever secured a place in my heart.

? While not a problem for us, one significant sequence of Conundrum Museum required above-average command of English. There was a mechanism by which people could learn the necessary words… but if one were resorting to it, then they probably wouldn’t enjoy it all that much.

– Conundrum Museum was emotionally level. The grand reveals and more intriguing moments struggled to get our hearts pumping because we were still in a white-walled, calm, environment.

+ Our gamemaster was a character in our story. Even when we experienced some technical difficulties at the start of our game, our gamemaster remained in character and improvised. Boxaroo handled the technical troubles as gracefully as possible.

Conundrum Museum was puzzle-driven adventure. It was not epic or overly dramatic, but it was a cerebrally satisfying team experience.

Tips for Visiting

  • Boxaroo is easily accessible by subway. Get off at Park Street or Government Center.
  • If you’re driving, the Pi Alley Parking Garage is right nearby.
  • At least 1 teammate needs to be able to crawl a short distance.

Book your hour with Boxaroo’s Conundrum Museum, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Boxaroo provided media discounted tickets for this game.

5 Wits Foxboro, MA – Espionage [Review]

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it…”

Location: Foxboro, MA

Date Played: July 15, 2018

Team size: 2-15; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $19.99 per ticket for one adventure, $24.99 for two adventures

Ticketing: Public (contact them for private games)

REA Reaction

5 Wits’ original Espionage in Foxboro, MA was bookended with awesomeness. The clandestine introduction and dynamic conclusion were leaps and bounds beyond what we had experienced in the more recent, more technology-driven version. In the middle, we saw segments that had been carried over into the updated experience and a section that… we can see why it got cut.

If you’re familiar with 5 Wits, know that the Foxboro location offers longer, actor-led adventures.

5 Wits is more about the adventure than the puzzles. If that’s appealing, and you’re anywhere near Boston, this is worth a visit, especially if you have children with you.

In-game: A rug shop.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Secret agents at heart
  • Families
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • A massive set with some beautiful sections.
  • A creative and exciting opening sequence.
  • A brilliant and magical closing sequence.

Story

Our team of spies had been sent into the headquarters of a nefarious organization known as The Cabal. Our mission was to find stolen satellite plans, identify the mole within our own organization, and do so without being discovered.

In-game: A console for the Cabal Corporation with buttons correlating to chess pieces.

Setting

Our adventure began in an old rug shop, a front for our covert organization and a listening post. After receiving our mission, we descended into the Cabal’s base and began infiltrating their security.

From there, we explored an ever-changing series of corridors and research labs. Most of the experience was incredibly detailed and incorporated more than a little magic to keep things interesting.

In-game: Lisa, David, and Lisa's parents looking up at a spy satellite.

Gameplay

5 Wits’ Espionage was a family-friendly adventure guided by an actor, with a lower level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling, navigating physical challenges, and enjoying the large and detailed set.

In-game: A large safe with 4 different wheels.

Analysis

+ We entered this undercover operation… under cover. The opening sequence was charming, interactive, approachable, and exciting.

Game Exterior: The game's starting place, a mysterious rug shop.

+ Our guide Angela was energetic, humorous, and a lot of fun.

– We received substantial mission intel through video recordings. Most of these overstayed their welcome.

+ We brought mission-critical tools with us on our adventure. We could choose to access them as it seemed appropriate. This stayed true to the story and worked well.

+ Our guide also carried our gear around with us; it was never a burden.

Espionage included a few more challenging cerebral puzzles that relied on logic and reasoning.

– One set was filled with red herrings. We did not enjoy a search-focused segment in a room where anything felt like it could be relevant.

– One puzzle required substantial guesswork. We were hesitant to guess, wondering if we’d missed some information. We would have preferred some cluing.

+/- Espionage had some beautiful segments, but a fair amount of this game was aesthetically a step down from all of the other experiences we’ve had with 5 Wits.

+ The concluding sequence was brilliantly designed and appeared magical. 5 Wits tricked our senses to end Espionage with a bang.

? We reviewed Espionage at 5 Wits’ Syracuse location more than three years ago. The two versions follow the same mission and incorporate many of the same sets, structure, and puzzles, but they aren’t identical. There are segments that differ between the two. Additionally, the older Espionage in Foxboro is guided, while the newer version in Syracuse (NY) and Plymouth Meeting (PA) is automated, with only voiceover and video guidance. If you enjoy 5 Wits’ adventures, it’s worth playing both versions, but maybe not in too short a span of time.

Tips for Visiting

  • 5 Wits is located at Patriot Place, near the cinema.
  • There are many food options at Patriot Place.
  • At least one team member must be able to crawl through a small space.
  • At least one team member must be comfortable with a more physical challenge.

Book your hour with 5 Wits’ Espionage, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Massachusetts: Room Escape Recommendations

Looking for an escape room near you in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts has a lot of great escape rooms outside of Boston. You don’t even need to know how to pronounce the names of the towns to play the games!

Drive west, past Route 495 to find many of these gems. There lies an awesome escape room day trip.

We’ve covered Boston recommendations (inside Route 95) separately.

A covered bridge over a stream at the peak of fall.

Market standouts

  1. The Assistant, Gate Escape
  2. The Dollhouse, Curious Escape Rooms
  3. Escape the Video Store, Curious Escape Rooms
  4. The Titletown Ring Thief, Escape Room Westford
  5. Secret Society, Winchendon Escape Room
  6. King Arthur’s Quest, PuzzlEscape

The set & scenery-driven adventures

The puzzle-centric

The tech-heavy

The newbie-friendly

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.

Boston, Massachusetts: Room Escape Recommendations

Looking for an escape room near Boston, Massachusetts?

We go back and forth to Boston a few times a year and we try to sneak in a few escape rooms on each trip.

These are our recommendations for Metro Boston.

If you’re ok with traveling beyond Route I-95, check out our recommendations for the rest of Massachusetts.

Stylized image of the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor.

Market standouts

  1. Boda Borg
  2. Clock Tower, Escape the Room Boston (played and reviewed in New York City)
  3. The Museum Heist Caper Job, Wicked Escapes
  4. Pirate’s Booty II, Room Escapers
  5. The Retreat, Trapology

Something different

The set & scenery-driven adventures

The puzzle-centric

The tech-heavy

The newbie-friendly

Big group games

You are always welcome to contact us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.

Pronouncing Massachusetts Towns: A Rebus Guide

If you’re looking for a puzzle more challenging than any you’ll find in a Massachusetts escape room… it’s pronouncing the names of the towns that these companies are in.

Some may be straightforward, but most of them offer no clues in the spelling.

I’ve simplified these names by turning them into actual puzzles so that you have a fighting chance at pronouncing these names correctly. You’re welcome.

Leominster

The Gate Escape

Leominster rebus - a lemon plus a hand stirring coffee.

Lemonister Pronunciation:

Lemon-stir

[collapse]

Peabody

Time Warp

Peabody Rebus

 

Peabody Pronunciation:

Pee-bid-eee

[collapse]

Saugus

Wicked Escapes

Saugus Rebus: Hand saw + Gus Fring

Saugus Pronunciation:

Saw-gus

[collapse]

Fitchburg

Curious Escape Rooms

Fitchburg Rebus: Farm - Arm + Itch + Iceberg - Ice

Fitchburg Pronunciation:

Fitch-burg… April Fools! That one’s spelled sensibly.

[collapse]

Tewksbury

Escapology

Tewksbury Rebus: Tea + Books - Bee + Bury

Tewksbury Pronunciation:

Tooks-bury

[collapse]

Salem

Escape Room Salem

Salem Rebus: Sale + Lemon - On

Salem Pronunciation:

Sale-em… Don’t be smug; you only knew this one because of the witch trials.

[collapse]

Winchendon

Winchendon Escape Room

Winchendon Rebus: Witch + Inn + Dunce - S

Winchendon Pronunciation:

Witch-in-done

[collapse]

Woburn

North Shore Escape

Woburn Rebus: Woo girls - girls + burn

Woburn Pronunciation:

Woo-burn

[collapse]

Worcester

Escape Games Worcester

Live Action Escapes

Worcestershire sauce + Ring - Shearing - Sauce + Turkey - Key

Worcester Pronunciation:

Wuss-tur

[collapse]

 

Boston

Escape the Room Boston

Komnata Quest

Raid the Room

Room Escapers

Trapology

Boston Rebus: Bass + Ton

Boston Pronunciation:

Bass-ton

[collapse]

Live Action Escapes – The Starship: Space Rescue [Review]

“I’m a leaf on the wind.”

Location: Worcester, MA

Date Played: December 18, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per ticket

REA Reaction

This was something different.

The Starship: Space Rescue began as a typical escape room of locked spaces and standard gameplay. In the second act, Live Action Escapes turned this into a Star Trek Bridge Commander-style game where up to 5 players fulfilled different roles aboard the ship. The experience of crewing the ship was interesting and uneven. Some players were engaged; others didn’t have much to doNevertheless, this was a competent escape room with an enticing twist.

It is difficult to create new things, and we respected the effort.

In-game: 3 futuristic guns hanging on the wall of a space ship.

Who is this for?

  • Sci-fi fans
  • Video game fans
  • People who want to annoy their friends by endlessly quoting space operas
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The Star Trek-esque conclusion sets it apart from the other games.
  • Sci-fi Easter eggs & humor

Story

We were beamed aboard the disabled Starship Janus. Its mystery cargo was of the utmost importance. We had to mobilize the ship and pilot it back to the dock before running out of air.

In-game: 5 of the ship's control screens. The main screen has a planet in view.

Setting

Our starship was spacious and dark. The walls and doors were painted to look like a starship; the floor was tiled to look the part as well. All of the features of the room, however, from walls to doors to ceiling, were, at their core, part of an office building… even if the set designer went to great lengths to transform parts of it.

Gameplay

In the first half of The Starship: Space Rescue, we progressed in typical escape room fashion through a pile of crates locked with letter locks. The escape room flowed pretty cleanly.

In-game: A captain's Android tablet with controls for the shields and emergency operations.

After unlocking the bridge, we positioned ourselves in front of various screen-and-controls stations where we worked through a series of scripted instructions to pilot our spacecraft to safety via a video game interface.

Standouts

There were a ton of fun props laying around that could be used for all sorts of non-game recreation. Pew! Pew! Pew!

We appreciated the numerous nerd references.

View this post on Instagram

Finger strength only. #escaperoom

A post shared by Lisa & David 🔑 (@roomescapeartist) on

Two larger, more detailed props were as surprising as they were alien. We delighted in discovering them.

In the final, act we played the roles of the starship’s commander and crew. This real-life video game was different from anything that had come before it and from most escape room gameplay. It worked well.

Shortcomings

In the video game segment, not all roles were equally exciting. Due to the positioning of screens and chairs, the lesser roles couldn’t even really view the action while attending to their stations. I really enjoyed being Pilot, but Lisa was bored at the Communication station.

While we enjoyed maneuvering through space, we found it to be more like following instructions than solving a puzzle. With the exception of one action-based segment, we didn’t have much agency on this ship. Our options were to follow instructions and win, or fail.

The escape room gameplay was remarkably standard given the environment. The bulk of the puzzles could have existed in any escape room. I wish that Live Action Escapes did more with the spaceship.

The most interesting props didn’t contribute much to the puzzles or narrative… but they were cool.

Most of The Starship: Space Rescue took place in low lighting with poor quality flashlights. If the ship had some pointed “emergency lighting” the puzzling would be more fun. The flashlights detracted from the experience.

Tips for Visiting

  • Enter the elevator to the right before the main entrance to the building and take it up to Live Action Escapes.
  • Parking can be a challenge and/ or expensive.

Book your hour with Live Action Escapes’ The Starship: Space Rescue, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Live Action Escapes comped our tickets for this game.