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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tech-driven and loosely clued, the puzzles took a lot of exploration to work through.
The tech was embedded into the environment well.
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.
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.