PuzzlEscape Hudson – Something Wicked! [Review]

Something Wicked! is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

A Bewitching Refuge

Location: Hudson, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28-38 per player, depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Some motion/ shaking is included; please advise your gamemaster if this is a concern.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

PuzzlEscape Hudson’s Something Wicked! never ceased to surprise, embedding a number of fascinating discoveries as we uncovered that things weren’t always as they seemed deep in the woods. The props, the setting, and the entire production underlined these eye-opening elements, leading us through an adventure designed to keep us wondering what we would uncover next as the cauldron bubbled.

This experience was perfect for 4 people in a solid game flow experience that flew by as we uncovered the magical mysteries of an enchanting cabin. Of particular note was the ending, which built off of a multi-layered finale to ramp up in excitement and leave us speechless with the unexpected conclusion.

Closeup of a mailbox that looks like a bird house.

The only time that the suspense waned was in a particularly search-heavy portion of the experience, pairing ambiguous search targets with low lighting that resulted in multiple fails that swiftly brought down the enthusiasm of our group.

With accessible game design, PuzzlEscape Hudson’s approach would satisfy escape room newbies and more experienced players alike in this fast-paced adventure that left us spellbound.

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The Gate Escape – The Assistant 2.0 [Review]

The Assistant 2.0 is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

A second wormhole, a new experience

Location: Leominster, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: Up to 6 players; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

A quick trip through all of time and space awaits players that tackle The Gate Escape’s The Assistant 2.0. In short, this escape room assembles a puzzling playground for those individuals willing to hop into a celestial adventure. Although experienced players will have a leg up in recognizing patterns in these puzzles, the smooth puzzle flow makes The Assistant 2.0 approachable for new players. If you’re new to escape rooms, start here before you tackle Gate Escape’s 90-minute The Observatory. If you’re traveling to the area to play rooms, plan on playing both this room and The Observatory.

The game simply and unapologetically challenges players by laying out puzzles in a straight-forward, non-search-centered manner. Upon entering the space, there are many immediate opportunities for players to dive in and engage in the wormhole world, both with the assistance of others and on solo ventures. Perhaps the most impressive and inherently satisfying aspect of the entire experience is the way that these solves layer together and build towards completion with the intelligent reuse of items found throughout the space.

A strange wall lit in blue and covered in colored dots.

The typically smooth gameplay was briefly interrupted mid-game when one puzzle didn’t come together as naturally as those throughout the rest of the experience. This left us with open questions on the potential solve, and when we were able to advance, credited it more to luck than to skill.

Ideal for a group of friends ready to puzzle, The Assistant 2.0 rewards a keen sense of attention to detail, with layered, multifaceted solves combining nicely with simple surprises to eclipse expectations.

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PuzzlEscape Hudson – The Legend of Pepe [Review]

The Legend of Pepe is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

Houdini and Santa and Freddy Krueger, oh my!

Location: Hudson, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28-38 per player, depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

PuzzlEscape recently opened a new location in Hudson, MA. There they opened The Legend of Pepe, a game that pays homage to the 12 games they’d created at their original venue. That said, although this game revolved around prior game narratives, it definitely did not require any knowledge of the previous legends of Pepe La Scuzz, our main villain.

The Legend of Pepe was a puzzler’s dream with a lot of content and fantastic puzzle flow. While not every puzzle was mind-blowing, the game offered a huge variety of puzzle types for every player, and most of the puzzles put a refreshing twist on our assumptions of how they would solve. This made what could have been boring interactions into something unique.

PuzzlEscape designed an interesting way to level the playing field for teams by incorporating a difficulty modifier at the midpoint of the game. Teams choose their difficulty and thus the ending to the story. However, this choice mechanic was under-clued in the gameplay itself.

We love what PuzzlEscape is doing, and cannot wait to see their absolutely insane themes (that we got a glimpse of!) come to life in the future.

Note: this review is for the more difficult path. After we played, our gamemaster gave us a walkthrough of the easier path for review purposes. Players can return for half price to play the path they did not take originally.

Closeup of an old, gold cash register with an infinity symbol, beside it is a computer monitor with the same symbol.
Continue reading “PuzzlEscape Hudson – The Legend of Pepe [Review]”

Escape Rooms of New England – Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts [Reaction]

The New England escape room community is special. There is a camaraderie among the businesses and the players that doesn’t exist in any other escape room market we’ve visited. It’s inspiring.

This spring, the Escape Rooms of New England teamed up to create Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. This collaborative puzzle hunt embodies what we love about these escape rooms. They are welcoming, ingenious, and fun!

Everyday Superheroes logo, presented by the Escape Rooms of New England.

Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts

What a title!

While playing this in June, it was strange to reflect on how this puzzle hunt was carbon dated to a specific month of 2020… but then, it’s been a strange year.

A toilet paper roll icon.

This amusing theme really makes the entire thing. Each of the participating companies embedded toilet paper icons on their homepages as beachheads for the hunt. Amazing.

The Collaborators

22 escape room companies and We the Enthusiasts Passports collaborated to pull this off.

That coordination is impressive and inspiring.

The prize is extremely generous. You’ll be entered into a drawing to win 2 free tickets to every participating escape room company.

This community is working together to build awareness for one another at a time when all their businesses are struggling.

The Puzzles

We enjoyed the variety of the puzzles. They differed immensely in style, difficulty, and execution.

We loved that we really had no idea what we’d be up against when we found each toilet paper icon.

We especially enjoyed “United We Stand” by Escape New Haven. If you only solve one puzzle from this hunt, let it be that one.

Not all of the puzzles were created equal. Some of these would have benefited greatly from answer verification, or a hint system. We also wished that the solution website had saved our solutions, but luckily, we’d logged them in a Google Sheet, so we didn’t lose all our work when we submitted one answer with a typo.

That said, these flaws weren’t game-breaking. The set up worked well, especially when you think about how many creators were involved, and the simple fact that no one makes any money from this.

Escape Rooms of New England

It’s no coincidence that we’re bringing RECON, the Reality Escape Convention, to the birthplace of Everyday Superheroes Always Saving Our Butts. We chose to host the inaugural in-person RECON in Boston precisely because we knew this New England community – the businesses and the players – have the kind of mindset that we want to shine a spotlight on.

RECON eye & penrose triangle logo.

Given the events of 2020, however, we’re waiting another year to host RECON as an in-person event.

But we are still excited to bring you RECON this August. This summer’s RECON will be global. Please join us digitally August 23-24 for inspiring, actionable talks and community conversation.

And we look forward to bringing RECON to New England in August of 2021!

This is the community where we hosted one of our most packed meetups to date in December 2018… and the owners made it a potluck. With homemade French toast!

It’s also the community we picked to highlight with our 2018 April Fool’s Day post.

We love the welcoming, supportive, caring vibe of the New England escape rooms.

Play Now

The contest ends at the end of the month. Solve now to be entered to win. All those free escape room tickets will come in handy when you attend RECON 2021!

Riddle Room – Vanishing at The Velmont [Review]

Vexing Vacation

Location:  Warwick, Rhode Island

Date Played: December 15, 2019

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per player

Ticketing: Public & Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Vanishing at The Velmont was a delightful, beginner-friendly escape room filled with clever puzzles and interactions.

In-game: An abstract representation of the hotel's lobby.

The biggest drawback to this escape room was that throughout the game nearly every prop, wall, and surface felt unfinished. It was generally clear where we were and what we were interacting with, but few items were built to a degree that sold Riddle Room’s fiction.

Ultimately, this is a fun game – and for us, that’s what matters most. We’re glad that we played. We think that this would make a phenomenal initial introduction to escape rooms for newbies. The issues of polish didn’t change the fact that Riddle Room crafted some incredibly cool moments. If you’re in Rhode Island, this game is worth playing.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Great, beginner-friendly game design
  • A number of fun interactions
  • Clever and unique puzzle design

Story

We had always wanted to spend a night in the legendary Velmont Hotel, but it was always far too expensive for us. After a series of strange disappearances occurring in a particular room, the rates had come down… so we figured, why not?

In-game: the front desk with an old phone and slots for the room keys.

Setting

Vanishing at The Velmont took us through a few different spaces within the Velmont Hotel. Each space had a unique look and feel and progressed along a logical path.

The overall build quality was heavily variable. The setpieces ran the gamut from really cool and solidly constructed to flimsy and shoddily built. Most everything in this game had a neat concept behind it. We wished that the level of construction was more consistently strong.

In-game: Astatue in the wall of a hallway within a hotel.

Gameplay

Riddle Room’s Vanishing at The Velmont was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, making connections, and puzzling.

Analysis

 Vanishing at The Velmont had lot of content, but a progressive difficulty curve. The first act was straightforward and taught us how to play the game.

➕ Riddle Room constructed multiple unique puzzles into Vanishing at The Velmont. They generally involved custom-built mechanisms. They were unusual and satisfying to interact with.

➖ There was opportunity to add finish and polish to many of the props. For example, cut down on handwriting, except where justified by the story, and refine some associated audio in cluing. Additionally, too many setpieces looked unfinished.

➖ Although Vanishing at The Velmont had a lot of excellent puzzle content, it relied a little too much on key-for-key-style solves.

 Vanishing at The Velmont provided opportunity for collaboration and sharing. When we repeated an interaction with an interface, instead of feeling tedious, it was a moment for another teammate to have a go at a nifty prop.

➕ Riddle Room justified a classic hint system with one sentence of story.

➖ In order to follow the story, we needed to read quite a bit. We couldn’t feel the story arc through gameplay alone.

➕ We moved through multiple sets in this game. We enjoyed the variety in layouts, set designs, and puzzle types.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Riddle Room’s Vanishing at The Velmont, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Riddle Room comped our tickets for this game.