Farewell to RISE Escape Rooms & the Fate of their Games

Hijacked

Rise Escape Rooms is closing their three outstanding escape rooms today. These games each impressed us, in different ways.

Spellbound won a 2017 Golden Lock-In Award.

Luckily, the games won’t be moving too far.

Book tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2019… and you can still play them!

Interview with RISE

We caught up with Mindi Plaisance, owner of RISE Escape Rooms, to talk about these changes.

What brought about RISE’s change in direction?

Mindi: We are family owned and operated. We are hands on with every aspect of both RISE Haunted House and RISE Escape Rooms. Our team quickly became escape room enthusiasts and felt we had the creative talent to bring immersive games to our community.

As successful as our games were, we realized that juggling the escape rooms along our rapidly growing Halloween attraction and extremely involved children was too much on our plate. We didn’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product so we decided that focusing all our attention on one industry would give us the opportunity to provide a great seasonal event.

Bookie

What was your favorite part of owning an escape room?

Mindi:Personally, my favorite part was the creative process. I like the challenge of building unique rooms that are immersive, have a variety of puzzles, and flow well… games that are challenging, but not impossible.  

Will your escape rooms live on?

Mindi: We have local buyers for all three games:

The Bookie will be going to the Clue Carré newest location in New Orleans.

Hijacked and Spellbound will be going to the 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge. If I know Dwayne, he will put his own spin on our games, so I am looking forward to see what he’s got in that ever-creative mind of his.

Image via RISE Escape Rooms

What is on the horizon for RISE?

Mindi:We are considering a 4th Dark attraction for Halloween as well as transforming our Hayride attraction into a Christmas show. The details are still in the works, but we are definitely sticking to seasonal. 

We love your style. Will we ever see more escape rooms from you?

Mindi: We still have our 5-minute games that we will run through Halloween. I am sure we will be turning those over at some point. 

If someone approached our team on a consulting basis and our schedule permitted it, we’d be open to that idea, but we won’t actively be seeking to get into the game design business.

In-game: The gamespace looks exactly like the interior cabin of a commercial airliner.

Interview with Clue Carré & 13th Gate Escape

After getting the news from Mindi, we reached out to Megan Mouton, owner of Clue Carré, and Dwayne Sanburn, owner of 13th Gate Escape, to learn what we can expect from their production of RISE’s games.

When do you expect the RISE games to reopen?

Megan: The Bookie will hopefully be ready by May. We will be opening it at our 3rd location, which will be inside of Surge Trampoline Park.

Dwayne: We aren’t sure exactly how long it will take to move Spellbound and Hijacked, but we are planning on having them open before your tour in July.

What changes are you making?

Megan: We are not changing much in The Bookie. We have plans to improve and tweak some puzzles, but the overall puzzle structure will be the same.

At this point, we are also planning to make it a 45-minute game, to keep players flowing during their jump time at the trampoline park. We’ll have the option to extend it back to 60 minutes if we feel the 45-minute model isn’t working.

Dwayne: Both games are very solid. We probably will only be making minor changes.

If someone has already played and loved these games at RISE, should they replay them?

Megan: We will not be marketing The Bookie as a game to replay if you have played it at Rise.

Dwayne: It’s doubtful that we will be making enough changes to warrant a replay of either Hijacked or Spellbound.

Visit Spellbound, Hijacked, and The Bookie this July

We will miss RISE Escape Rooms. Their work is phenomenal and we’ll be sad not to stop in Tickfaw on this summer’s tour.

We highly encourage seasonal travelers to check out the other attractions at RISE.

We are, however, incredibly excited the games will be nearby and that we’ll get to see them again this summer at Clue Carré and 13th Gate Escape.

Clue Carré – Vampire Hunter Room [Review]

Bloodlines.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date Played: June 22, 2018

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Vampire Hunter Room was a puzzle-driven escape room. With a fairly standard study-like set, and dim lighting, the intrigue was in the puzzles. These offered a number of fun solves.

If you’re in the area and looking for puzzles over environment, we recommend stopping by.

In-game: An old parlor with a red clothed table, couch, and a painted portrait of a vampire.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Some cool puzzles

Story

Antoine Devillier, an ancient, wealthy, and powerful vampire, had but one weakness: the stake of Van Helsing. Devillier had acquired and hid his one weakness away. Our plucky band of vampire hunters set out to find the legendary weapon and give it a new home in Devillier’s chest.

In-game: The aged and worn fireplace in the parlor.

Setting

Vampire Hunter Room was slightly dim and study-like. The initial set was functional, but lacked excitement and polish. The escape room gave way to a more interesting set later in the adventure.

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s Vampire Hunter Room was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

Vampire Hunter Room was a puzzle-driven escape room. It had a lot of content. We enjoyed many of the puzzles.

– The decor was standard study fare with a vampiric twist. It was not particularly inspiring.

– Vampire Hunter Room was unnecessarily dim. While the dim lighting provided some ambiance, it made solving puzzles more frustrating than they should have been. The trade-off didn’t seem worth it.

+ We enjoyed how Clue Carré wove the bloodlines into the escape room.

Vampire Hunter Room was a solid, themed escape room, but nothing more. We hope that Clue Carré can build on this in the future to develop a cohesive world of puzzles, set, and story.

Vampire Hunter Room came to a pointed conclusion. It was predictable, yet enjoyable.

Tips for Visiting

  • We recommend Victory for post-game cocktails.

Book your hour with Clue Carre’s Vampire Hunter Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carre comped our tickets for this game.

Clue Carré – The Carnival Heist [Review]

The second most fun you can have in a coat closet.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date Played: June 22, 2018

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

The Carnival Heist was a split-team escape room with an unusual twist. We’re torn between deeply enjoying a lot of what Clue Carré created and feeling frustrated by some of the design decisions that made it interesting.

The Carnival Heist offered interesting puzzles. Bring the right team for a communication-heavy escape room and be mindful that if something appears off, that might be by design.

If you’re in the area and looking for something that plays a bit differently, there is a crown here just waiting for you to steal it.

In-game: A purple walled art gallery with Mardi Gras paintings hung from the walls. In the middle of the room encased in glass is a crown on a pedestal.

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?

  • Unusual take on split-team escape rooms
  • Interesting set of puzzles
  • Fun final sequence

Story

The priceless King’s Crown was on display at the Vieux Carré Art Gallery during Carnival. With a one hour gap in the viewing schedule, our crew needed to sneak into the gallery and steal the work of art.

In-game: an employee breakroom with a locker, schedule, calendar, and a clock in/out machine.

Setting

The Carnival Heist had a split start whereby half of the group entered the art gallery’s employee break room and the other half entered the coat check room. We eventually converged into the gallery itself.

The break room looked like a break room and the coat check looked like a coat closet. They weren’t overwhelmingly impressive locations, but they did look right. The gallery was a bit more impressive, merging the art gallery aesthetic with a Mardi Gras color palette.

In-game: a coat check closet.

Gameplay

Clue Carré’s The Carnival Heist was a split-team escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around communication, deduction, and puzzling.

Analysis

The Carnival Heist offered serious deduction and logic challenges.

+ We enjoyed the repurposing of a small device for a fun reveal.

– One group encountered an order preservation puzzle, which was a problem because we didn’t know until it was too late.

+/- The coat check and break room looked fine and reasonably accurate, but they weren’t exciting locations.

+ When we entered the two different spaces, each team was presented with an interesting mini escape room with unique goals.

– We eventually stalled forward progress due to an unusual split-team implementation. While we intellectually appreciate this unorthodox structure, we didn’t enjoy it in the moment. It was clued – and really hammered in – but especially difficult to interpret in the moment. Once we misunderstood the intent, there was no way to self-correct without gamemaster intervention. This plagued the different groups for a good portion of the split-team part of the experience.

? We liked the idea that once one group entered the gallery, they could quickly let the other group in as well. However, in the moment, we didn’t realize we had this capability. It didn’t matter for us, but we suggest additional cluing in the event that one team is far behind the other.

+ The gallery reveals upped the energy level in the room.

+ We enjoyed the Indiana Jones-like conclusion.

Tips for Visiting

  • We recommend Victory for post-game cocktails.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Carnival Heist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

Escape My Room – Smugglers Den [Review]

A case of wine before a blackout.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date Played: June 21, 2018

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 45 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Ticketing: Private

REA Reaction

Escape My Room reliably provides unusual escape room experiences; Smugglers Den was no exception. It began in as a fairly typical escape room and then transitioned us into darkness, where we spent the rest of the game puzzling by touch.

Smugglers Den was a game of extreme tradeoffs. We lost the beautiful Escape My Room aesthetic and the DeLaporte family narrative. We gained a private, small-team experience with a different approach to puzzling and a variety of new sensory inputs.

If puzzling in pure darkness sounds like a welcome adventure and challenge, this is one fine example of the niche pitch-black genre. If you’re thinking, “darkness is a big nope” then you should trust that instinct, but do so knowing that this was a safe, horror-free escape room.

In-game: A brick wine cellar with wooden crates and old photos.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • A great opening puzzle sequence
  • The challenge and intrigue of a dark escape room
  • An unusual final puzzle

Story

The DeLaporte family was in financial dire straits and facing the reality that they might have to sell their estate. As a last-ditch effort to raise funding they had hired our team to investigate their old wine cellar for any valuables left behind by Silver Dollar Sam, a notorious smuggler who, according to family legend, had used the cellar for running his illicit goods.

In-game: A corner of the brick wine cellar with a few photos, a bottle of wine, and an old radio.

Setting

Smugglers Den was an unusual game in Escape My Room’s universe. We began in the DeLaportes’ wine cellar, which felt right at home in… their home. It was a beautiful, detailed, and weathered space filled with appropriate props.

After solving our way through the wine cellar, we entered a dark space for the remaining two-thirds of the game.

In-game: A pitch dark room.
In game photo: We’re just gonna keep making this joke until we stop snickering at it.

Gameplay

Escape My Room’s Smugglers Den was an escape room played largely in darkness, with a higher level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, puzzling, building understanding of the dark space, making connections, and communicating.

In-game: Close-up of a money back and large silver dollars.

In addition to escaping, we were playing for a score. There were a number of over sized silver dollars hidden throughout the gamespace. (We found all but one of them.)

Analysis

+ The wine cellar moved from on-ramp to complex puzzling. It gave us a glass of the kind of experience that Escape My Room typically presents… but not a full bottle.

+ There were a lot of nifty boxes to unlock… which doesn’t mean what you think it means.

+ The puzzles set in darkness forced us to adapt our methods of exploration and communication. This was among the finest dark rooms that we’ve encountered.

– Light bled through the edge of a door. While exits and signage are important, as our eyes adjusted this light bleed eventually let us sort of see each other, diminishing the effect of the darkness.

+/- Smugglers Den felt light dark on content. That said, it had a lot of puzzles for a dark escape room. Perspective played a big role in puzzle satisfaction.

? The search for coins forced us to explore the dark space thoroughly. The puzzles, however, asked us to do the same. We were torn on how much the coins added to the experience beyond the justification of the narrative.

– Escape My Room is the DeLaporte Estate, a beautiful, unusual, designed world. Smugglers Den didn’t fully belong to this world. The detailing and character of Escape My Room’s work comes in large part from the visuals that were essentially absent in this game. We missed the magic of the Escape My Room aesthetic.

– When the game ended, the lights came back on and we saw the unthemed puzzle room that we had been locked within. It really shattered the magic. We wished we would have exited back into the world of the DeLaportes and let the darkness of Smugglers Den remain a mystery.

– At 45 minutes and with a much smaller gamespace and far less set design, Smugglers Den was priced the same as Escape My Room’s longer and more detailed games. This presented a problem that’s not easily solvable. If they were to lower the price, this game for more advanced players would attract more newbies, but as fun as it was, it didn’t feel like the same value as the much more grand Inventor’s Attic.

+ The final puzzle came together unexpectedly. This was absolutely one of the high points of Smugglers Den.

Smugglers Den was a ton of fun. It was dark, but not at all scary. It was playful, strange, and exciting.

Tips for Visiting

  • There is so much amazing cuisine in the neighborhood. We highly recommend Mother’s and Cochon.
  • All players must be comfortable in darkness and able to crawl a short distance.

Book your hour with Escape My Room’s Smugglers Den, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape My Room comped our tickets for this game.

Thoughts on Escape, Immerse, Explore New Orleans

Escape, Immerse, Explore New Orleans collected 42 people from 17 states, who traveled 72,000 miles, to ride 2 buses and played a total of 63 games across southeastern Louisiana.

The purple, gold, and blue Escape Immerse Explore New Orleans Logo

The player satisfaction surveys showed an overwhelmingly positive response. The attendees loved the games and one another.

Randy of Escape Rumors published an incredible writeup/ review of the tour.

Player Variety

We had players on the tour who had crossed the 400-game threshold. We also had a number of folks who had previously visited fewer than 10 escape rooms and literally doubled their play-count on the trip.

Lisa's bus gathered for a group photo at RISE.
Lisa’s Bus

We’ve always tried to help players find the escape rooms that fit their taste, skill, play style, and comfort level. After running two escape room tours, we are confident that we’re onto something.

David's bus gathered for a group photo at RISE.
David’s Bus

The escape room player community is growing and it isn’t monolithic. This diverse group of people really are attracted to different things in escape rooms.

Mighty Games

We featured a wide variety of games ranging from the more traditional escape rooms of Clue Carré, to the immersive world of Escape My Room, to the beautifully executed games of Rise, to the dumbfounding set design of 13th Gate.

Each company offered something different. Each also offered at least one game that topped someone’s list as their very favorite game of the tour.

The Tour featured 13th Gate’s Cutthroat Cavern, a game that many would consider a curve-breaker. In a lot of ways, it was. Nearly half of the players reported it as their favorite game of the tour. That sentiment, however, was not universal.

This is no knock against 13th Gate. It’s a testament to how much room there is to create unique experiences that can be loved by different people for different reasons.

Of the 14 escape rooms featured on the tour, each of these 6 topped at least one player’s list:

Exactly half the featured games rose to the top as favorites. There isn’t one best way to create an escape room!

Creating Community

It was heartwarming to see these folks come together to play games, set records, have fun, share stories of favorite games, and laugh over terrible escape room experiences.

The games are fun, but for us, escape rooms are about the people that we share them with.

View this post on Instagram

We have two buses on the #escaperoom #REAtour in #nola.

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

We met so many incredible people with different backgrounds, stories, experiences, and other interests.

The Experiment Continues

We’re working on what comes next. Where else can we go? What games will we showcase? What other formats can we tinker with to bring this community together?

The Escape Immerse Explore Tours of New York and New Orleans were both massive experiments… albeit experiments that Lisa and I obsessively thought through, from game line up, to transportation, to the puzzle that we hid in the welcome information and sealed in wax… but it was still mad science.

We thank all of those who popped the stopper off of the Erlenmeyer flask and joined us in drinking this crazy concoction.

Through this we’ve learned so much about player behavior and running events. We have many more ideas for how to deliver an even better experience.

We had the best weekend with all of y’all and we cannot wait to do it again.

If you were not able to attend New York or New Orleans and you would like to receive an email announcement for the next tour, please contact us.

Escape Immerse Explore New Orleans: Sold Out!

Indiana Jones gesturing out the window saying, "No ticket."

We are kind of shocked – and incredibly excited – to report that Escape Immerse Explore New Orleans 2018 is officially sold out!

We sold the original 24 tickets in pre-sale… and then sold an additional 18 tickets, adding a second bus.

We’re really excited to meet all of the new people, spend time with the returning folks, and show off so many of our favorite escape rooms.

Please contact us if you’d be interested in future escape room tours and events. 

1 Ticket Left!

Update: And that last ticket is gone. This event is officially sold out. Please do contact us if you’d be interested in future escape room tours and events. 

There is 1 ticket left to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2018.

Charlie finding his Wonka golden ticket.

We sold the original 24 tickets in pre-sale.

We’ve now sold 17 of the 18 expansion tickets.

I’m going to repeat that: We’ve sold 41 of 42 tickets for Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans! There is one ticket left.

Eleven from Stranger Things gesturing mind blown.

If you’d like that one remaining ticket, contact us before someone else beats you to it.

Details

  • Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018
  • Price: $599 per ticket
  • 9 escape rooms over the course of the weekend
  • 41 other escape room fans as teammates
  • 1 talk by Lisa and David
  • FAQ

We are thrilled to bring this event to New Orleans in June. We hope to see you there!

Expansion Update for Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2018!

This expansion is a go!

GIF of Cookie Monster elated by a giant cookie.

We are hiring a second bus and opening another 24 tickets to Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans 2018.

Note that more than half of these tickets are already spoken for. If you want one of these tickets, contact us today.

Next Steps

If you are one of the 24 original ticket holders, get excited to meet the rest of the folks!

If you have already claimed one of expansion tickets over email, get ready to receive an invoice followed by your super fun personalization survey by email later today.

If you’re interested in this event and you have not yet contacted us, contact us today. These remaining tickets will only be available to purchase for 2 weeks and many of them are already spoken for.

Basics

Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018

Price: $599 per ticket

More information and FAQ.

For the people on the fence

This tour is going to be incredible:

  • New friends who love escape rooms
  • Some of the best escape rooms in the United States presented by Escape My Room, Clue Carré, RISE Escape Rooms, and 13th Gate Escape
  • A weekend in New Orleans
  • Time with Lisa and David

We’ve answered questions about transportation, hotels, logistics, specific games, requests to play certain games, and more. We can answer your questions. Just ask.

See you in New Orleans in June!

One week left for Escape Immerse Explore!

If you’re on the fence about an escape room tour in New Orleans this June, it’s time to make up your mind. Let us know by Saturday, April 7.

Join the folks who snatched us those original 24 tickets and the folks who’ve emailed us since, itching to come. It’s going to be an amazing weekend!

A red and gold Mardi Gras mask.

Expansion Update

We need to hear from few more people before we can run to a second bus.

Contact us this week if you’re interested in tickets.

Should I attend?

Yes.

Details

Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018

Price: $599 per ticket

More information and FAQ.

Escape Immerse Explore: New Orleans – Expansion Update

The original 24 tickets to this escape room tour are officially sold out. We made jambalaya to celebrate!

Close up of a pot of chicken and sausage jambalaya.
And yes, it was delicious.

More tickets?

Due to some serious fixed costs – like an extra bus – we need to get enough people to make it work.

At the moment, we are about halfway to that second bus. All we need is a few more interested parties and that bus will become a reality.

If there is enough interest, we will run a second tour bus. Contact us if you want in.

Details

Dates: June 22 – 24, 2018

Price: $599 per ticket

More information and FAQ.

Still on the fence?

Consider what’s included:

If you have questions, just give us a shout.