Portland, OR: Room Escape Recommendations

Latest Update: December 29, 2017

In between consuming locally made artisanal coffee, ice cream, alcohol, and salt… there are some fantastic locally made escape rooms as well.

These were some of the games that we enjoyed the most in Portland, Oregon all segmented by category.

Massive neon Portland, Oregon sign with an illuminating buck.

Market standouts

If you only have time for a few games, play these:

  1. The Secrets of Nibiru, Hour to Midnight
  2. Madame Neptune’s Voodoo Curse, Portland Escape Rooms

Set & scenery-driven adventures

Puzzle-centric

Something local

Tech-heavy

Games with actors

Newbie-friendly

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

Escape Games PDX – Portlandia [Review]

The dream of the 90s is alive in this room escape.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Date played: May 21, 2017

Team size: 2-10; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Our roommate had locked away his share of the rent money. We needed to find it in time to give it to our landlord or face eviction.

Portlandia was set within an apartment that was loaded with local beer and references to Portland. And yes, we’re talking Oregon, not Maine. The room looked like your typical apartment… although I’ve never seen an apartment with an epic wall of beer.

In-game: A wooden wall with long narrow shelves covered in local Portland beer bottles.

Puzzles

The puzzle mix was broad and offered some layered challenges. There was no shortage of things to do.

Portlandia, more than just about any escape room that I’ve ever seen, rewarded local knowledge.

In-game: A wall mounted bicycle.

Standouts

Somewhere buried in the middle of Portlandia was an excellent moment. If it doesn’t make you at least crack a smile, you might want to consider therapy to work through your broken childhood.

It comically captured the Portland stereotypes.

There were Easter egg Portland references that were largely lost on Lisa and me, but greatly amused our local teammates.

It kept a lot of people engaged.

Shortcomings

Portlandia over-rewarded knowledge of the City of Portland. There were reference materials to look things up, but that would have been tedious. Thankfully we had some locals with us and they knocked out those puzzles.

Some of the puzzles could have been better integrated into the set and narrative.

If you don’t stay on top of documenting what you have derived, and what you have used, this room escape could turn punishing.

Should I play Escape Games PDX’s Portlandia?

Portlandia was a playful and funny puzzle game.

While I wouldn’t be eager to play with 10 people, keeping our team of 6 people busy for most of an hour was no small feat.

If you’re a PDX local looking for a solid puzzle-driven room escape, this would be a great option, regardless of escape room experience level.

If you’re a traveling player who isn’t familiar with Portland, you might consider drafting a couple of teammates who really know the area. I think that we’d feel differently about this room escape if we hadn’t had that local knowledge at our disposal.

There are players who want to experience absolutely every single puzzle and interaction in an escape room. That likely won’t be the case in Portlandia. Things will happen while you’re off solving your own puzzles. I enjoy knowing that my friends are busy having fun and being smart without me. If that sounds like a good time to you, then put down your Voodoo Blue Star Donuts and give Portlandia a shot.

Book your hour with Escape Games PDX’s Portlandia, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Games PDX comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Tech Salem – Sherlock’s Mystery [Review]

Mr. Holmes sent his B team to dig up some evidence.

Location: Salem, Oregon

Date played: May 19, 2017

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 2-4 (be mindful of price)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $139 per team

Designed by: Labyrinth, Portland, Oregon

Story & setting

As employees of Sherlock Holmes, we needed to find evidence of the crime so that the captured murderer wouldn’t walk free.

With antique furniture, the set evoked a 19th century office.

In-game: An antique desk with an old magnifying glass, typewriter, clock, and a Sherlock Holmes double brim hat.

Puzzles

Sherlock’s Mystery required observation, deciphering, dexterity, and logic. In many cases, the designer used standard escape room trope in unconventional ways.

Sherlock’s Mystery included a number of more challenging puzzles. They were satisfying solves.

Standouts

The strength of this escape room was in the cohesive puzzling. It flowed smoothly, with each thread unlocking new information or an interaction.

Sherlock’s Mystery was physically involved. We manipulated set pieces as we puzzled.

The puzzles were inventive. They delivered a few great aha moments.

Shortcomings

The story was mainly delivered in longer, written passages, which interrupted the puzzling.

The set looked good, but the environment wasn’t exciting in and of itself.

Should I play Escape Tech Salem’s Sherlock’s Mystery?

If you enjoy interesting tangible puzzles, you’ll enjoy Sherlock’s Mystery. The puzzling flows smoothly, delivering quite a few fun moments.

New players will find a serious opponent here. Bring a team with diverse skills sets. You’ll need them.

More experienced players will likely puzzle through this more quickly, but appreciate a couple of surprises along the way.

While we wouldn’t say you should fly across the country for Sherlock’s Mystery, if you find yourself near Salem, Oregon we recommend you stop in.

Book your hour with Escape Tech Salem’s Sherlock’s Mystery, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Tech Salem provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Escape Games PDX – Amnesia [Review]

Puzzles? Where? When? Why?

Location: Portland, Oregon

Date played: May 21, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Amnesia took place in a stark, white laboratory setting.

We couldn’t remember why we’d ended up there, but we were clearly experiencing some sort of experiment.

In-game: A stark white room with a timer, locked cabinets, and chairs.

Puzzles

Escape Games PDX hid a lot of diverse and satisfying puzzles in Amnesia’s seemingly bare space.

Standouts

The puzzles were great. Some were simple. Some were challenging. They all worked.

While the simplicity of the set could have been terrible, it worked in Amnesia. There were no distractions. The set took a backseat to the puzzles, but it was still integral to the experience.

There was more depth to Amnesia than we initially realized.

Shortcomings

One puzzle type was overused.

In one instance, we guessed the solution to a puzzle before even trying to solve it. It just seemed likely… and we groaned a little when the guess worked.

Should I play Escape Games PDX’s Amnesia?

If you like to solve puzzles, you’ll enjoy Amnesia. Both novices and experienced players alike can enjoy puzzling through Amnesia.

The story didn’t impact the gameplay, but its resolution enhanced an otherwise purely puzzling escape room.

While the white walls might seem foreboding to some, rest assured that Amnesia wasn’t at all scary. To the best of my memory, Amnesia was an approachable and enjoyable room escape.

Book your hour with Escape Games PDX’s Amnesia, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Games PDX comped our tickets for this game.

Labyrinth Escape Games – Blitzkrieg [Review]

War is hell.

Location: Portland, Oregon

Date played: May 21, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $36 per ticket

Story & setting

Set in World War II, we sought a purportedly powerful occult item before the Nazis could determine how to harness its power.

This military bunker raid took place at night, so we were in a dark set, each carrying a substantial Maglite to illuminate our progress.

In game: a pile of sandbags

Puzzles

Tech-driven and loosely clued, the puzzles took a lot of exploration to work through.

Standouts

The tech was embedded into the environment well.

In-game, a loked wall-mounted box illuminated by a red light.

The flashlights were substantial and worked well.

We were guided by an in-game actor: Sarge. He was an intense presence in the room while remaining kind.

Shortcomings

The entire room escape took place in low light. While everyone had a flashlight that worked well, these were cumbersome to hold while puzzling. This created situations where someone inevitably functioned as a lamp for other puzzling teammates.

One bit of tech was quite finicky.

There weren’t a lot of puzzles, but many of them became a bit frustrating. This was amplified by access to puzzle components out of sequence. In one instance, we solved something before we were supposed to, which left us confused until things came back together late in the escape room.

It felt like Labyrinth played looser with historical accuracy than necessary.

Should I play Labyrinth Escape Games’ Blitzkrieg?

Blitzkrieg was a confusing game:

It felt like it wanted to be historically relevant, but then it had strange and unnecessary anachronisms and inconsistencies.

It felt like it wanted to be an Indiana Jones adventure, but it never committed to the paranormal MacGuffin.

If felt like it wanted to tell a story, but while the puzzles were well embedded in the set, they rarely carried much narrative.

There were plenty of interesting interactions in Blitzkrieg and I feel like there’s a compelling escape room in it. Mostly, however, I was frustrated by strange causes and effects. I left wishing for more clue structure, more puzzles, and puzzles that carried a complete story arc. That’s what it felt Labyrinth was striving for.

If you’re looking for a challenging room escape and you’re ok with having an in-game actor push you over a few humps, then give Blitzkrieg a try. The set was fun, the actor was great, and there were some solid puzzles… once you figured out what they were demanding.

Book your hour with Labyrinth Escape Games’ Blitzkrieg, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Labyrinth Escape Games provided media discounted tickets for this game.