Expedition Escape – The List [Review]

Christmas in June

Location:  Montgomeryville, PA

Date Played: June 13, 2021

Team Size: 2-10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

It’s never too early to revel in some Christmas cheer. If you’re eagerly looking toward December and have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, The List is a good room for you.

Elf workshop with the back of a train caboose.

I would describe The List as a room that has a lot of potential, delivering a few cool moments while falling short in others. Minor refinements to the scenery and gameplay could go a long way to improving the overall experience. For those who haven’t played many (or any) games since early 2020, The List would be a great way to ease back in and brush up on your escape room skills.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Christmas fans
  • Players with some experience
  • Strong searchers
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Expedition Escape – The Candy Shop [Review]

Sweet & Puzzley

Location:  Montgomeryville, PA

Date Played: June 13, 2021

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Candy Shop was the kind of escape game that immediately drew me in, put a smile on my face, and kept it there the entire time.

The set was bright, playful, and full of joy.

A checkout counter in a candy shop.

The gameplay was traditional and puzzle-focused, but generally well executed, with some novel interactions. That said, there was one low point in this game, and it was a singular puzzle that dominated most of the play time for one player. While the team loved this game, the person who spent most of their time solving this puzzle wished that they had picked up something else in the opening minutes of the game.

An interesting thing happened to us in The Candy Shop: we unintentionally set a record, completing this game in about 23 minutes. I don’t normally mention record-setting, but in this instance, no one on the team felt like we had only spent a third of our allotted time in the game. In spite of blazing through this, we all felt like we had gotten our time’s worth out of this experience. It was a fun game and we truly enjoyed playing it.

This was the kind of traditional escape room that made us love escape rooms. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, venture out into the suburbs for The Candy Shop.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • A delightful theme
  • Puzzle-focused gameplay
  • The set feels happy

Story

Our chocolatier grandfather was searching for an heir to his candy shop. We may have been his favorite grandchildren, but we still had to prove ourselves by solving the puzzles he’d hidden in the shop and uncovering his secret recipe.

A line of barrels filled with candy.
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Olde City Escape Games – A Quest for Freedom [Review]

“Escape rooms are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” – Benjamin Franklin

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Date Played: June 13, 2021

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

A Quest for Freedom is Olde City Escape Games’ original experience. It’s a good, traditional escape room set against a fantastic theme.

Escape room fans who have visited Philly over the past few years have consistently told us, “You have to go to Olde City to play Midnighters.” While I agree, Midnighters is great fun, I feel like A Quest for Freedom deserves some love.

Closeup of Ben Franklin's writing desk.

With a venue a few blocks from the Liberty Bell, a game themed around Benjamin Franklin and the American Revolution is as sensible as it is obligatory… and Olde City did a great job with the concept. It looks the part, has a unique character, and played well.

From a gameplay perspective, A Quest for Freedom was especially non-linear with many puzzle paths opening up more or less at once. This made it a little challenging to figure out where an individual thread of gameplay began, but it was always clear when it had concluded.

There were a few puzzles that felt like they could have been a bit more refined, but overall, this was a strong experience, especially for the region. If you’re near Philadelphia, Olde City Escape Games is a must-visit and I recommend playing everything they have to offer, not just Midnighters.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • An elegant 18th century set
  • Puzzle-focused play with good variety
  • Thematically fits with the character of Philadelphia and the neighborhood that Olde City Escape Games occupies

Story

It was 1776 and Benjamin Franklin had just been appointed ambassador to France. As he embarked on a mission to secure a $10 million loan from France to fund the rebellion, Franklin sought our help. We had to search his office and print shop to help him assemble his argument with 7 American Reasons.

Ben Franklin's secret print shop.
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Olde City Escape Games – The Midnighters [Review]

Stranger Heists

Location:  Philadelphia, PA

Date Played: June 13, 2021

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Imagine Stranger Things and Rocky mashed together into an escape room and you have The Midnighters: a puzzle-focused escape game in a compelling boxing gym setting with a sci-fi backstory. It’s kind of nuts in a good way.

Assorted punching bags and gloves in a boxing club.

Where I found myself wanting more from The Midnighters was in tying the story to the interactions. There was a deep backstory, and it certainly permeated the experience, but I never felt like I was truly living the story. There was also a puzzle that was difficult to track. We got there with a hint, but I don’t think that we would have been able to confidently follow it through without that external confirmation.

Overall, this was among the strongest games that we’ve played in Philadelphia, along with Olde City’s first game A Quest For Freedom. Olde City is a regional must-play.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Stranger Things fans
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Unusual story and staging
  • Fun puzzles

Story

Philadelphia, 1988: we’d long suspected that Uncle Mick had been the culprit of “The Heist of ‘79.” A lunar rock had gone missing and the family had always thought Mick was behind this. Our group of friends had decided to break into Mick’s gym, Brotherly Love Boxing Club, and steal the rock from him. We call ourselves The Midnighters.

First aid kit, boxing gloves, and a stool in a boxing club.
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The Escape Game – Rugrats: Search for the Losted Toys [Review]

Losted & Founded

Location:  King of Prussia, PA & Las Vegas, NV

Date Played: June 18, 2021

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 4-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $37.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Game Breakage: No

Accessibility Consideration:  at least one player will need child-like agility

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

Before I dive into our own review of Rugrats: Search for the Losted Toys, our old friend Chuckie Finster, has a few thoughts that he’d like to share on this game:

Chuckie Finster from Rugrats

REA Reaction

Rugrats: Search for the Losted Toys was a licensed game built on top of the 2018 Golden Lock Award-winning Playground.

The Escape Game got so much right with Rugrats: Search for the Losted Toys. It was a fantastic representation of Rugrats and managed to appeal to the serious fan, casual fan, and unaware people in our group. We all got different things out of it and enjoyed the experience.

Tommy's animated kitchen viewed through a playpen.

Additionally, this was an impressively effective reskinning of a beloved game. Having already played Playground, I was worried that the game would feel too familiar. While the physical footprint was identical, and some of the biggest moments from Playground remained more or less intact, it felt like a unique experience. This is partly because the biggest moments fit well into a Rugrats game, and partly because these big moments were fun enough to feel great on a second pass.

Rugrats: Search for the Losted Toys was an energizing game. We drove 2 hours to play it and were happy to have done so. I don’t think that I’d recommend getting on an airplane just to play it, but if you’re near or already going to Las Vegas or the Philadelphia area, this is a must-play.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Rugrats fans
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle
  • Children at heart

Why play?

  • Nostalgia
  • Child-like gleeful moment
  • Fun puzzles

Story

Angelica had hidden all of the kids’ favorite toys, but in the process she’d lost her own beloved Cynthia doll. Now Angelica, Tommy and the gang need some help from us, the grownup babies. If we fail, the toys could be losted forever.

Illuminated scoreboard of "Founded Toys" all 7 are lit.
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