Murfreesboro Escape Rooms – Apartment A [Review]

Touching tribute

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Date Played: July 26, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $26 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Apartment A was tribute to one of Murfreesboro Escape Rooms’ own. After friend and employee Adam Love passed away suddenly last year, this small, intimate escape room was created in his honor. Each puzzle was created by one of his friends from Murfreesboro Escape Rooms and themed according to his interests.

Apartment A was puzzle-centric and played quickly, despite a rough difficulty curve. We emerged from this escape room happy that we had played it, both as escape room players and humans who felt like Adam must have been a pretty special guy to have inspired this game in his friends.

Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from Apartment A go to a non-profit in Adam’s honor.

If you’re in the area, and like puzzle-driven games or want honor a guy who certainly seemed worthy of it, please give this one a shot. We’re glad that we did.

In-game: the door for Apartment "A" with a peephole and a knocker.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Apartment A was a lovingly crafted tribute
  • Part of the proceeds go to a non-profit
  • Creative puzzle play

Story

Apartment A was a tribute to Adam Love, a clearly beloved friend and employee of Murfreesboro Escape Rooms who unexpectedly passed away in 2017.

This escape room didn’t have a traditional scenario. It was a collection of puzzles made by his friends and themed according to his interests. We all left with a sense of who Adam was and absorbed a story that was far more touching.

In-game: The kitchenette of Apartment A.

Setting

Apartment A was a staged in a small one-room space. It was brightly painted, and well lit…

Seriously, this was probably the most brightly lit escape room that I’ve ever been in. I don’t think it was possible to cast a shadow. This helped make the tribute room feel warm and loving as opposed to dark and sorrowful.

In-game: Apartment A features a TV displays a 60 minute clock, a small table with a Monopoly board, and a wall of photos and cacti.

Gameplay

Murfreesboro Escape Rooms’ Apartment A was a standard escape room with a lower level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around puzzling and building connections.

Analysis

+ We came away from Apartment A with a sense of Adam Love. He was a person we would have liked to know.

+ Although this was a tribute, it was joyful. We knew it was ok – more than ok – to have fun. We were impressed with how Murfreesboro Escape Rooms kept the experience upbeat through lighting, color, props, and gameplay.

– There was no on-ramp to Apartment A. It was too difficult to figure out how to get started.

+ As tabletop gaming fans, we loved seeing Ticket To Ride turned into a puzzle.

+ Our favorite moment combined Adam’s love of board games with his love of cooking in a humorously clever connection.

– While the linear gameflow worked well for this collection of puzzles, the difficulty curve was a bit off.

– There were multiple locks with identical digit structures. Some input locations could have used a bit more cluing.

Apartment A was decorated with photos of Adam. They came together beautifully to punctuate our escape.

+ We could tell that Apartment A was cathartic for Murfreesboro Escape Rooms… but that didn’t make it any less fun to play through.

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’ Apartment A, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Murfreesboro Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

The Escape Game – Special Ops [Review]

It’s time to kick butt and go shoe shopping.

Location: Nashville, TN

Date Played: July 25, 2018

Team size: 4-7; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $34.99 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

The Escape Game significantly leveled up their set design, technological capability, and narrative chops in Special Ops. This replacement for one of their original games, Classified, blew its predecessor away.

Special Ops played out in two acts: the first set in a Middle Eastern market and playing like a more traditional escape room, the second set in an evil bunker and focused heavily on narration and adventure. This made Special Ops feel like two games.

We loved the overall experience and preferred the second act, both for how dramatic it was and because the puzzles seemed just a little more refined than in the opening act.

All-in-all, this was an undeniably great game and well worth playing if you’re anywhere near Nashville or The Escape Game’s other locations.

In-game: a colorful Middle Eastern market with spices, fruit, shoes, and bags for sale.
Photo via The Escape Game

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Gorgeous set
  • Fantastic assortment of puzzles
  • Memorable ending

Story

Our team had been assigned to a routine investigation of the Ansar market. Our late night inspection of this criminal hotbed unexpectedly turned into a crisis of global proportions. It was up to us to stop it.

In-game: a high tech militaristic bunker.
Photo via The Escape Game

Setting

Special Ops was an escape room in two acts. Similarly to Classified we began in a Middle Eastern market and progressed into a villain’s lair. With Special Ops, however, the Escape Game has dramatically leveled up their set design and construction abilities (which weren’t shabby in their earlier games).

The Escape Game noted every construction detail. They even chose specific buttons that would enhance the player’s experience.

In-game: an upwards view the the heavily detailed middle eastern market.
Photo via The Escape Game

Gameplay

The Escape Game’s Special Ops was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around making connections and puzzling.

Analysis

+ The two sets of Special Ops were detailed, beautiful, captivating… and so different from one another.

+ One of Special Ops opening interactions brilliantly broke with escape room tradition.

– The accessories for sale in the Middle Eastern market created strangely frustrating interactions. In one instance, we had a puzzle solved long before the input was available. In another instance, the game trained us to interact with it one way and then required us to take a different approach.

+ The first act included some phenomenal, tangible solves.

+ The second act delivered incredible visual feedback for a variety of tech-driven solves.

+ The Escape built clear clue-structure and user interfaces into the second act. The puzzles were challenging for all the right reasons. We felt like knowledgable, badass, world-savers.

– A video segment dragged… enough that we broke out of the moment and felt our time ticking away while we waited to get back to the game.

Special Ops included one puzzle type that repeated across both sets, with completely different implementation. At first we were unimpressed with the repetition. Upon reflection, we were impressed that the game built mastery, as the second implementation was more challenging.

Special Ops started off typically escape room-y, albeit in an atypically beautiful set, and evolved into a story-driven, mission-centric game. Depending on gameplay preferences, you will likely enjoy one half more than the other. This made Special Ops feel uneven… but considering how much different folks like each part, also rather impressive.

+ The Escape Game’s quality of set and interaction design was phenomenal; especially in the second act. There was a keypad that was so satisfying to push. This may seem like a minor detail, but it really underscored how above and beyond they went to produce a deliberate experience.

Special Ops final puzzle was fantastic.

Tips for Visiting

  • Special Ops is at The Escape Game’s East Iris location.
  • There is a parking lot nearby.
  • Check out the map on the wall in the lobby.

Book your hour with The Escape Game’s Special Ops, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Escape Game comped our tickets for this game.

Join us in Nashville at the Room Escape Conference

We’ll be in Nashville next week… because escape room conference!

Transworld Room Escape Conference Logo

Where: Nashville, Tennessee’s Music City Center

When: July 27-29, 2018

When we aren’t onstage, you’ll be able to find us at booth 201. Please stop by and introduce yourself. We’re always looking for good conversation.

Speaking

We’re delivering the only free talk on Saturday:

4 Years of Escape Rooms: A Data Driven Look

  • 9:00am – 10:00am
  • Room 105A

Later on Saturday, we’ll be onstage again with David  debating and Lisa moderating:

 Future of the Industry Debate!

  •  2:30pm – 3:30pm
  • Room 105A

The other debaters will be:

These are some of the people behind so many of our favorite experiences.

Nashville, Tennessee: Room Escape Recommendations

Latest Update: June 16, 2018

Are you traveling to Nashville, TN for a concert, bachelorette party, or other festivities?

We took a trip down to Music City and explored its booming escape room scene.

You can play some great games in downtown Nashville. If you have (or can rent) a car, we also recommend you drive 30 minutes south to Franklin, TN and 40 minutes southeast to Murfreesboro, TN. These recommendations cover Nashville, Franklin, and Murfreesboro together, which collectively make one fine escape room market.

Here are our escape room recommendations near Nashville, TN to help you choose the games you’ll enjoy most.

A collection of guitars including a Gibson Les Paul, Fender Stratocaster, and Fender Telecaster.

Market standouts

  1. The Blind Pig, Murfreesboro Escape Rooms
  2. Special Ops & Playground at The Escape Game (or just about anything at The Escape Game)
  3. Pharaoh’s Chamber, 60 Minute Escape
  4. Treasure of Pacari, LiveMinds Adventure Escape

Set & scenery-driven adventures

Puzzle-centric

Newbie-friendly

Games with actors

Unusual designs

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

The Escape Game [Overview]

Latest Update: October 19, 2019

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

Playground

Playground was a joyful game with tons of puzzles for a large group. It won a Golden Lock-In Award in 2018 for its playful premise, whimsical setting, and well-rounded gameplay.

Special Ops

With Special Ops, The Escape Game significantly leveled up their set design, technological capability, and narrative chops. This game replaced their older game Classified.

Gold Rush

This was our early favorite from The Escape Game. It has been our go-to recommendation for newbies for a long time. Experienced players will still enjoy 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. It has been updated significantly since we played it in 2016.

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.

What We Haven’t Reviewed Yet

Ruins: Forbidden Treasure

We’re pretty eager to see this one, but it hasn’t opened near us yet and we 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.