The Escape Game [Overview]

The Escape Game is one of the easiest recommendations we make when people write in looking for games to play. It doesn’t matter which city. If there’s an Escape Game facility there, we know that their games and customer service are reliably good… which is not something that we can say for most escape room chains or franchises.

The visitor pushpin map from The Escape Game's lobby. It's covered in layers of pins and looks like a population density map of the USA.

Nashville is the original home of The Escape Game and they are seriously cleaning up in that market. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a busier escape room facility… and that goes for both of their Nashville locations.

Must Play

Gold Rush

This was our early favorite from The Escape Game. It is our go-to recommendation because of its many unusual features.

Mission Mars

We’ve sent a lot of folks to this game and they’ve all come back happy. Our review is tragically dated because we played it in beta. The Escape Game has made many improvements to it since then. Fun fact: after playing Mission Mars we decided to avoid beta testing altogether.

Worth Playing

Prison Break

This was one of The Escape Game’s most visually appealing escape rooms. The jail cells looked great and there’s a lot more than jail cells to the experience.

The Heist

This art heist pulled off the art gallery aesthetic. It was a challenging game with a ton of puzzle content and some nifty interactions.

Nashville

The Escape Game’s original room has experienced some serious upgrades since its humble beginnings. It played a bit old-school, but it still had something interesting to offer.

Skippable

Classified

We loved the aesthetic of the initial set in this escape room, but we were underwhelmed by the later portion. It was fine, but not on the level of everything else that The Escape Game had to offer. The Escape Game is phasing out Classified and replacing it with a new game, Special Ops.

What We Haven’t Reviewed Yet

Playground

Playground is the new game replacing one of The Escape Game’s earlier rooms, Underground Playground. We haven’t played it yet, but we have heard great things about the remake. We’d hold off on playing Underground Playground in favor of the newer incarnation.

Special Ops

Special Ops is the up-and-coming replacement for Classified. We’re pretty eager to see this one, but don’t know anyone who’s played it yet, so we don’t have a report. Stay tuned, we’ll have one soon enough.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve had a strong admiration for The Escape Game because we’ve never had someone come back from them disappointed.

If you’re new to escape rooms, this is a phenomenal place to start.

If you’re a well-traveled mega player, I’d be surprised to learn that your absolute favorite escape room came from The Escape Game. However, I am certain that you’ll have a good time and walk away from their facilities recognizing their customer service, attention to detail, consistency, and respect for players.

The Escape Game Nashville's merchandise area with a variety of t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and other products.
Even their swag is nice.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to visit this facility and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Locked: Escape Game Franklin – Antidote [Review]

Prepare your lab coats, nerds.

Location: Franklin, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

REA Reaction

Antidote was a straightforward puzzle game in a lab environment. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but it played well, with satisfying solves.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Puzzle flow

Story

On our first day of work at BTC Laboratories we were immediately exposed to poisonous gas. We had one hour to create the antidote or our life insurance policies would kick in.

In-game: A clean box with large arm holes in a blue and white science lab.

Setting

Antidote was a lab game that felt a little like a doctor’s office. It was clean, sterile, and contained lab equipment. A few puzzles and locks notwithstanding, it looked believable, which wasn’t the most exciting setting.

In-game: A collection of lab flasks filled with colored liquids.

Gameplay

Antidote was a standard search-and-puzzle escape room with a heavier emphasis on puzzling.

In-game: a yellow canister mounted to the wall with a flammable sticker on it.

Standouts

One early effect upped the excitement and helped set the stage.

The puzzles in Antidote felt at home in a lab.

Antidote clearly laid out what was expected of us. The puzzles flowed well as we checked items off a list towards accomplishing our goal. This too felt lab-esque.

Locked: Escape Game Franklin added a lovely personalized touch to the game.

Shortcomings

The set was bland. With the exception of one effect, the gamespace was kind of forgettable.

While the puzzles worked, they weren’t exciting. The gameplay was emotionally level. The solves lacked memorable moments.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed The Tin Roof 2, especially their signature sandwich.

Book your hour with Locked: Escape Game Franklin’s Antidote, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Key Quest – The Cellar [Review]

Murder?

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: February 11, 2018

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $15 per ticket

REA Reaction

The Cellar exceeded our expectations. Based on everything we’d heard about Key Quest – the escape room extension of Laser Quest’s laser tag facilities around the country – we were prepared for disaster. The Cellar was a search-centric, reading-heavy escape game in the dark, but when we uncovered the puzzle components, it was solvable.

We’re confused who The Cellar is for: It seemed too dark – physically and metaphorically – for Laser Quest’s typical clientele. However, escape room players will find it looks and plays like these games did a few years ago. It’s not on par with the market.

 

Who is this for?

  • We’re not really sure, especially given Laser Quest’s clientele.

Why play?

  • Affordability
  • You came for laser tag and want to tack on an escape room.

Story

A serial killer had abducted and locked our group in a dark cellar. We had to solve his clues to escape or join his lengthy list of victims.

In-game: a dark room with a table lit red and a locked toolbox on top of it.

Setting

The Cellar was a dark room with minimal red lighting, a few tables, some shelves, and an assortment of locked containers and props. The major visual focal points looked like Halloween party store props.

In-game: A creepy party-store clown hanging from the wall by a string holding a large knife.

Gameplay

The Cellar was a search-based escape room in low light. The puzzles were generally straightforward once we found all relevant components.

In-game: a large red lit table with a small sage, a skull, and a locked ammo box.

Standouts

Key Quest crammed a lot of content into this 45-minute escape room.

We enjoyed the active solves, where we used the props in the room to move The Cellar forward.

The introduction was unexpectedly humorous, especially for adults.

The staff and gamemaster were lovely and professional.

Shortcomings

Given Key Quest’s location within Laser Quest, and the target audience (families, birthday parties, youth groups, and school groups) that visits their facilities, much of The Cellar felt off the mark. It was horror-esque and dark, both physically and metaphorically.

Much of the challenge in The Cellar came from the low lighting, which persisted throughout the experience. Given that the main game mechanics were searching, lock inputting, and reading, the low lighting was the main obstacle… and not a particularly fun one.

The props felt cheap.

We accidentally shut off the in-game audio. We came across a remote control while searching the room and only realized what the button did after we’d killed the sound. We were equipped with a walky-talky, but it ran out of battery early in our experience, so we couldn’t ask our gamemaster about the audio issue.

While there was plenty to do in The Cellar, it lacked excitement and intrigue.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: If you aren’t parking at Music City Center for a conference, we recommend the lot under the Metro Courthouse (accessible from Gay Street and from James Robertson Parkway) or the Nashville Public Library Garage (on Church Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).
  • Food: Demo’s Restaurant and Puckett’s
  • Accessibility: The content is horror-esque.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

EscapePoint – The White Room [Review]

It felt like an Apple Store and a padded room had a baby and named it Orwell.

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

REA Reaction

The White Room fit the lesser-known “white room” escape game genre, but offered a warmer sentiment. It worked. EscapePoint designed a mechanic that messed with assumptions in a good way, though it needed some refinement for seamless gameplay. There was a lot of fun hiding within this minimalist environment.

Who is this for?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Dystopia fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Looks and plays unorthodoxly
  • Playful take on dystopia

Story

In a dystopian future all forms of entertainment and expression had been outlawed and we had been arrested for these crimes. Our punishment was reprogramming in The White Room. We had to identify a way out and determine where we would be safe before the room reconditioned our minds.

In-game: A stark white room with paneling and a countdown clock.

Setting

The White Room was exactly as described: a stark white room. It was simple, yet imposing, and loaded with secrets.

Gameplay

The White Room felt like we were locked inside of a giant puzzle box filled with hidden compartments and interactions. While we’ve seen other “white room” escape games, this one had a unique play style that kept things feeling fresh.

Standouts

The white, sterile aesthetic. EscapePoint’s choice of flooring punctuated this look.

As we unlocked more of The White Room, the stark white world softened, opening more puzzles as well as bits of the narrative. The commitment to narrative set this white room apart from others that we’ve seen in the past.

The White Room required observation, beyond the boundaries of typical gameplay.

EscapePoint made smart use of technology to create a style of play that was fresh and unusual. This shift in gameplay changed how we approached the puzzling in The White Room. It also altered the flow of The White Room by teaching us to follow a pattern.

Shortcomings

There was an occasion where EscapePoint deviated from the game flow that they had established; they didn’t clue this shift.

While we liked the concept that tied everything together, the execution was choppy. The cluing was a little too ambiguous, and, in a strange twist, accidentally misleading for enthusiasts familiar with white-room escape rooms. We suggest the EscapePoint continue to refine the late-game gameplay.

One bit of tech needed extra clueing for us to interact with it, even though we had the right solution. This could also be overcome with a gamemaster override.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed the muffins (and other delicacies) at Mimi’s Cafe.

Book your hour with EscapePoint’s The White Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

 

Extreme Escape Games – Mad Scientist [Review]

Trapped in a room with a mad scientist.

Location: Franklin, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32 per ticket

REA Reaction

Mad Scientist was Extreme Escape Games’ take on Trapped in a Room with a Zombie. If you’ve played that escape room, you’ll know exactly how to play this one. Mad Scientist improved upon that concept: from puzzles to scenery, to prop/build quality, it was more polished. While not everything made sense in the gamespace, this was a lively and playful escape room.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who want to play
  • People who want to move around
  • Families

Why play?

  • The mad scientist
  • The humorous, playful vibe
  • Physically active

Story

A scientist accidentally exposed himself to an agent that drove him insane. He realized what was happening and chained himself up in his lab so that he couldn’t harm anyone while he worked on a cure for himself. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish in time.

We entered his office infecting ourselves with the hope of finishing his cure and saving his life and ours.

In-game: a portrait of a mad scientist framed with an oxidizing metal frame.

Setting

Mad Scientist trapped us in the rundown lab of a rabid mad scientist. The floor was padded so that the infected doctor could crawl at us with comfort. The walls and props were weathered and detailed such that nearly everything felt like it belonged in the set… even when the props should have felt a bit random.

In-game: A detailed and rundown lab with a desk in a covered topped with a large geared contraption.

Gameplay

Mad Scientist had two core goals for us to achieve:

First, don’t get tagged by the chained up doctor. Getting tagged would banish a player to an X on the floor along the periphery of the gamespace. Tagged players could speak and interact with items within their reach, but they couldn’t move. At the onset of the game it was easy to avoid the doctor as he had limited mobility, but as the game progressed, this became increasingly challenging.

Second, solve the escape room. With the exception of the chained up doctor, Mad Scientist played like a fun, early escape room with lots of searching, a wide variety of puzzles (many unthemed), and lots of locks to pop.

This room escape format is inherently chaotic. This is neither a strength, nor weakness. It is, however, a matter of preference.

In-game: A detailed, weathered lab device.

Standouts

The actors in Mad Scientist were outstanding. Our infected doctor was entertaining. The scientist’s assistant was observant and involved. Both actors engaged the entire group – in their different roles – in this silly adventure, upping the energy level of the group.

Mad Scientist was silly. It never pretended to be realistic. Whether players focused on the infected doctor or the puzzles, there were a lot of laughs.

In the trapped in a room with a zombie (in this case, mad scientist) structure, the actor can control the difficulty level, and thus the game clock. Our actor did just that, ensuring that we didn’t escape before the final minutes, and in doing so, building our adrenaline.

Extreme Escape Games built a compelling set for this adventure. It was office-esque, but designed, and grungy without being dirty.

Shortcomings

Many of the most interesting props had do-not-touch stickers affixed to them. This felt like a tease. Maybe they should have been worked into the gameplay.

The puzzles in Mad Scientist were pretty random. While some late game puzzles were thematic, most of the puzzles were just… puzzles.

Mad Scientist included a few standard paper and tavern puzzles. We recommend that Extreme Escape Games substitute these for more situationally-based puzzles that cannot be easily solved at home.

Tips for Visiting

Book your hour with Extreme Escape Games’ Mad Scientist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

 

Trapped Escape Game Nashville – Capone [Review]

Puzzle with Scarface.

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: February 11, 2018

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26.99 per ticket for adults, $20.99 per ticket for children

REA Reaction

Capone was a typical search-and-puzzle escape room. It worked, but it didn’t wow.

Who is this for?

  • Two-bit gangsters
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • The cozy staging
  • The transition

Story

Al Capone believes we narced on him to the FBI. We’ve been locked up in his apartment and he’s coming back in an hour to deal with us if we can’t find our way our first.

In-game: An old secretary's desk open beside a large comfortable chair in a wood floor and walled room.

Setting

Capone’s elegant apartment set felt lived in. Nearly everything within the game looked and felt like it belonged there. It was a charming environment.

Gameplay

Capone was a standard search-and-puzzle escape room that leaned more towards puzzling.

Standouts

The set was elegant. It evoked the bygone era and felt homey.

The gameplay largely worked.

There was a fun transition sequence. It was unexpected, humorous, and interactive.

Shortcomings

Much of the gameplay involved reading laminated texts and applying these to props. The gameplay felt uninspired, requiring different versions of the same connection on multiple occasions.

Capone was flat. With the exception of one transition, it didn’t deliver energetic or memorable moments; it never evolved in complexity or intrigue. There wasn’t much of a climax or finale.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking outside the escape room.

Book your hour with Trapped Escape Game Nashville’s Capone, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Murfreesboro Escape Rooms – The Blind Pig [Review]

The pig may have been blind, but the designer sure wasn’t.

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: up to 5; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $24 per ticket

REA Reaction

The Blind Pig came together spectacularly. The, puzzles, interactions, and reveals made it a ton of fun. While we’ve played plenty of escape rooms with more impressive sets, puzzles, and technology, few escape rooms have felt as satisfying to play through as The Blind Pig. 

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Contraband contrarians
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t mind tight spaces

Why play?

  • The set
  • The puzzles
  • The excitement

Story

Prohibition had returned and many recreational substances had been outlawed. A speakeasy of sorts known as The Blind Pig could help us get what we needed, but with the police on our tails we had little time to complete the task.

In-game: a boarded up business with a sign out front that says,

Setting

The Blind Pig let us loose in a narrow alleyway between a few different businesses. It looked convincing. It was filled with interesting details and interactions.

In-game: a newspaper vending machine beside a boarded up business' door.

Gameplay

The Blind Pig’s gameplay felt like a traditional escape room with plenty to discover and puzzle through in fairly equal proportions.

Additionally, Murfreesboro Escape Rooms made great use of technology to produce unexpected interactions.

In-game: a flower box outside of a business.

Standouts

The Blind Pig was playful despite a more intense theme. From the set, to the interactions, to the puzzles, it was a lot of fun to move through this escape room.

The varied puzzles solved tangibly, but differently from one another. Murfreesboro Escape Rooms combined pure physicality with tech-driven opens. In both cases, these were satisfying solves.

Although we uncovered written passages, these never felt burdensome. They added clue structure in the form of narrative. It worked. Furthermore, the reading material was tangible and durable.

Murfreesboro Escape Rooms concealed a lot of secrets in and around this speakeasy. From its opening moments through our triumphant exit, again and again, spaces were not as they had originally seemed.

We really enjoyed the set of The Blind Pig. This extended beyond its reveals to various tangible set pieces and props. It was a fun space to explore.

Shortcomings

Although on the outside the set was polished, as we unlocked spaces, we didn’t always find the same refinement inside… and some of these interior spaces would have benefitted from additional fit and finish.

In the second act, the puzzles didn’t flow as cleanly as they had earlier on. The locks seemed unconnected to the puzzles and we couldn’t rely on proximity to determine where to enter a solution. Additional lock-to-puzzle cluing would improve the late game puzzle flow.

The Blind Pig felt crowded, especially around some of the opens. With five adults in the space, we were continually stepping on one another other or maneuvering around each other and whatever set piece was in play.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed the muffins (and other delicacies) at Mimi’s Cafe.

Book your hour with Murfreesboro Escape Rooms’ The Blind Pig, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

LiveMinds Adventure Escape – Treasure of Pacari [Review]

Explore a treasure.

Location: Franklin, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: 2-11; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $28 per ticket

REA Reaction

Treasure of Pacari included some of the most impressive set design and interactions that we’ve encountered to date. LiveMinds Adventure Escape poured so much love, skill, and attention into this gamespace… and they are flirting with true greatness. With a bit more work, they could nail the gameflow. If they do that, this will be a genuine treasure.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Indiana Jones wannabes
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • The set
  • Incredible attention to detail
  • Large-scale interactions
  • The whole facility is cool

Story

Following in the footsteps of a famed and missing archeologist, we were seeking a powerful and mysterious artifact lost within Aztec ruins.

In-game: A massive stone circular temple door.

Setting

LiveMinds Adventure Escape’s set design was dumbfounding. This is what the hallways between LiveMinds’ games looked like:

I’m going to repeat this: these spaces had absolutely nothing to do with the games and they weren’t even the lobby. These were hallways.

The Aztec ruins of Treasure of Pacari were absolutely gorgeous and otherworldly. Each new space that we discovered had a unique feel, but was clearly part of the larger whole. The level of detail in the set’s construction was off the chart. There was so much to look at that David spent a fair amount of time simply taking in the set… because I had my head in the book with most of the clues.

In-game: A close up of a lantern, water tanks, and a crate in front of an archeological dig site.

Gameplay

Treasure of Pacari was all about the adventure. The set and the interactions facilitated this by presenting puzzles that felt Indiana Jones-esque. We had to reference our notebook, explore the space, and determine how to properly manipulate the environment in order to progress.

The size and scope of everything made this room escape feel enormous. There weren’t that many puzzles, but everything was memorable.

Standouts

The puzzles in Treasure of Pacari required us to interact with the set. Our role was tangible, physical, and exciting. The scale of these interactions fit with the enormity of the gamespace.

The expansive set amazed us. LiveMinds Adventure Escape’s attention to detail was breathtaking. They fully developed these spaces and everything they contained. Treasure of Pacari rivaled the most impressive sets we’ve seen to date.

The artwork was beautiful.

The excess. One puzzle had hundreds of components. It was nuts. They didn’t need to do it. There was no need to build animatronics. They didn’t need to produce a lobby and hallway with more nuance and finish than most escape room companies put into their games. There was no need for the level of detail, but LiveMinds Adventure Escape did it… and it was so worth it.

Shortcomings

The puzzles lacked feedback. We weren’t always sure which interaction had triggered a reveal. We couldn’t necessarily tell if we had completed the interaction from a specific prop or set piece. Sometimes doorways opened and we didn’t hear or see them pop. LiveMinds Adventure Escape could use lighting and sound to clarify when players accomplish solves.

Many puzzles lacked clue structure. Most existing clueing was buried in a journal. Beautiful as the space was, with my eyes in a book, I missed many of the more impressive set reveals. Only one person could look at this journal at a time so players were either poking around the set blindly or heads down in a book. It would have been cooler to see the written information reduced and worked into the set.

Our actions could have unintended and unsafe consequences. If players have the capability to manipulate large set pieces, LiveMinds Adventure Escape needs to build precautions that keep other players out of the way of heavy moving props.

Despite all the tech-driven opens in this escape room, the final reveal was an unclued, manual interaction. We recommend restructuring the ending so that the challenge is in solving the puzzles, not determining what they reveal. This structure deflated the drama of the win.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed The Tin Roof 2, especially their signature sandwich.

Book your hour with LiveMinds Adventure Escape’s Treasure of Pacari, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

Music City Escape – Japanese Thriller [Review]

Unfulfilled potential.

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: February 11, 2018

Team size: up to 9; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

REA Reaction

Music City Escape drew inspiration from obscure (to Americans) and interesting events. From this, they landed at one inventive game mechanic. Unfortunately, Japanese Thriller couldn’t capitalize on any of this. The set was too haphazardly constructed and worn out; the puzzles weren’t constructed cleanly. There’s a great concept here, but Japanese Thriller needs more attention before we can recommend it.

Who is this for?

  • Hopeful Japanese gameshow contestants

Why play?

  • The introduction
  • Experimental game mechanics

Story

We were contestants on an edgy Japanese gameshow themed on a mixture of horror movies, the Aum Shinrikyo death cult responsible for the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway (and the near total disappearance of public trash cans in Tokyo), and the apartment of serial killer Futoshi Matsunaga.

We had to escape the place where countless people had been tortured and murdered.

Music City Escape Room Logo, a cube with a door and a maze.

Setting

Japanese Thriller was set in a bland apartment with puzzle components and Japanese props. It was a visually unimpressive escape room.

Gameplay

The core of the game was rooted in searching and puzzling, as we typically expect from an escape room. There were also hidden gems that we could uncover through detailed searching to earn additional points.

More interestingly, at any point in the game, a haunting could occur. The lights would start flickering and we would have to stop what we were working on, find the only room without flickering lights, and close the door with ourselves in that room. Failure to do this would result a in a points penalty.

Standouts

The introductory sequence was captivating. The video was intriguing. Our gamemaster played off this, lightening the intense theme with humor. It worked.

The puzzles generally resolved cleanly. Puzzles were clearly delineated. We could easily follow the parallel threads of gameplay.

Music City Escape’s addition of the haunting was a conceptually fun addition to the escape room format.

This might be the first time a Sudoku was thematically appropriate.

Shortcomings

Despite its thematic relevance, there was a Sudoku. We’d prefer to see puzzles that utilize the physical space inherent in escape rooms.

The set was bland, haphazardly constructed, and worn. It felt cheap and lazy especially when compared with the overwhelming majority of escape rooms we visited in the region.

While we liked the idea of the haunting mechanic, Music City Escape never realized the full potential of this concept. It felt more like an annoyance than an exciting challenge.

The introduction captivated our attention and posed an intriguing mystery. Solving the escape room didn’t deliver any resolution or even make much use of the elaborate setup.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is a large parking lot.
  • Food: There are a few dining options in and around this plaza.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.

60 Minute Escape – Pharaoh’s Chamber [Review]

A ball of light in a dark tomb.

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: February 10, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per ticket

REA Reaction

Pharaoh’s Chamber was an understatement. 60 Minute Escape built an expansive explorable environment. The scale of this set and its interactions dwarfed chamber expectations. While not every puzzle flowed quite cleanly, they were interesting, interactive, and memorable.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Players with a little agility

Why play?

  • The set
  • The interactions
  • The exciting moments
  • The finale

Story

We had been exchanging letters with an old friend and fellow archeologist as he excavated the ancient Egyptian tomb of the Scarab King until without warning, his letters stopped. We had set out to explore his dig site and find him when upon entering the tomb, we found ourselves sealed in. Could we find our friend, uncover the Jewel of the Scarab King, and escape with our lives?

In-game: a scarab painted on the stone wall of an Egyptian tomb.

Setting

Pharaoh’s Chamber was an intense ancient Egyptian tomb loaded with details and tangible interactions. While the lighting was a bit low, the depth and nuance of the design made this an especially fun setting for an escape room adventure.

In-game: a lantern illuminating the stone walls of an Egyptian tomb.

Gameplay

Pharaoh’s Chamber mixed typical search-and-puzzle escape room play with exploration and a bit of physicality. While the core of the room escape was built around discovering details and solving puzzles, it was augmented with light physical challenges and obstacles that made Pharaoh’s Chamber feel like an adventure.

In-game: the stone walls of an Egyptian tomb, there are compartments carved out of the walls.

Standouts

The set of Pharaoh’s Chamber was incredible. It was artistic. It was also expansive and the detail extended throughout the space. It was a beautiful playground for puzzlers.

60 Minute Escape constructed large-scale, team-centric interactions.

The finale was dramatic and complex. This last sequence built excitement.

Pharaoh’s Chamber was packed with memorable moments.

Shortcomings

We couldn’t always tell which action had solved which puzzle.

Early on we found a prop that suggested that the game was linear. We quickly discovered that it wasn’t linear… although we eventually reached a point where it was. This inconsistency was frustrating and contributed to choppy flow.

One puzzle needed additional gating. We wasted a long time trying to complete the action in different ways because it hadn’t appeared to unlock anything. Later, it turned out we’d completed this correctly the first time, but we didn’t yet have access to its reveal.

We absolutely loved the most physical sequence in this escape room, but it’s not instantaneous to complete. We recommend that 60 Minute Escape make it clear in-game at the start of this sequence that if any player doesn’t want to participate in this, an alternative path will be revealed, and adjust signage so that this path is revealed as quickly as possible.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is parking out front.
  • We enjoyed the muffins (and other delicacies) at Mimi’s Cafe.
  • At least a few players need to be relatively agile and surefooted.

Book your hour with 60 Minute Escape’s Pharaoh’s Chamber, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

The next Room Escape Conference is taking place in Nashville, TN from July 27-29, 2018. The conference organizers sponsored our trip to Nashville, Murfreesboro, and Franklin to play this game and others in the region. We strive to help conference attendees visit the room escapes that are best for them.