Enchambered – Containment Breach [Review]

Concrete, steel, and puzzles.

Location:  Sacramento, California

Date Played: February 24, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock 

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Containment Breach was Enchambered’s first foray into escape rooms. It was a strong initial outing.

A solid, fairly traditional puzzle game, Containment Breach offered some good group solves in a detailed but dim set. The lighting was especially low, and we couldn’t really do anything without a flashlight… which grew old.

In-game: a large piece of metal machinery in a heavily worn concrete bunker.

Since creating this game, Enchambered has produced some truly outstanding experiences in The Whispering Halls and The Legend of the Skull Witch. Those games are the reason to visit Enchambered. Containment Breach, by comparison, was an optional add-on.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs
  • Sci-fi fans
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • A detailed set
  • Some interesting puzzles and interactions

Story

Decades ago, Doctor Henry Rosenburg had built a device that instantly teleported matter. During his first attempt at demonstrating his creation, it had malfunctioned and Rosenburg had disappeared after the ensuing radiation leak rendered his lab uninhabitable.

Now that the radiation levels had dropped to tolerable levels, we went in to investigate what had happened.

In-game: A PA mounted near the ceiling of the bunker. There's a sign warning of surveillance.

Setting 

Enchambered’s first escape game was a bunker.

The dimly lit set was filled with the kind of texture and weathering details that showed the environment was created by someone who cared.

In-game: closeup of a desk with strange schematics beside a large piece of equipment

Gameplay

Enchambered’s Containment Breach was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: a large, weathered, yellow metal door with a strange locking mechanism.

Analysis

➕ The dim, detailed, and weathered set looked like a convincing lab/ bunker hybrid.

➖ We spent a lot of time searching in low light. It was annoying to play the entire game with a flashlight in hand.

➕ The props felt bulky and real. The gameplay was tangible. It frequently encouraged collaborative solves.

➖ There were tons of papers that we didn’t need and would likely be needless red herrings to less experienced players.

➕ In one instance, Containment Breach taught use how to use a prop through the gameplay. In a game with solid, yet standard puzzle play, this puzzle was especially well thought out so that players would build mastery and have a sense of accomplishment.

➖ All solves led to a 4-digit lock. There were a lot of locks and they weren’t correlated to the puzzles. We ended up trying every derived code in lots of places, which slowed momentum, especially early on.

➖ While there clearly was a story, we struggled to follow it. The story got lost amid puzzles.

➕ We particularly enjoyed the solves that required teamwork.

➕ We truly respect Enchambered’s tiered pricing. Containment Breach was their oldest game, and tickets for it were less expensive than tickets for their newer games. This improved the value of the experience. More escape room companies should adopt this approach to pricing.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We recommend Thai Terrace for a meal before/after your game.

Book your hour with Enchambered’s Containment Breach , and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Enchambered provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Enchambered – The Whispering Halls [Review]

The Haunted Mansion

Location:  Sacramento, California

Date Played: February 24, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock 

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

From the theme to their approach to set design and construction, Enchambered’s Disney influences were on display in The Whispering Halls.

As with The Legend of the Skull Witch we were thrilled by The Whispering Halls. While there were some opportunities for additional refinement and drama, overall this was a high quality escape game.

If you’re anywhere near Sacramento, we highly recommend The Whispering Halls. If you’re looking to choose between The Whispering Halls and The Legend of the Skull Witch, you can’t really go wrong… so flip a coin, or better yet, play both.

In-game: an ominous metal door knocker.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Ambiance born of a detailed set
  • Puzzle progression
  • Interaction design
  • Density of content

Story

The caretaker of an old Victorian manor had hired us to investigate paranormal happenings within the home that he was charged with maintaining.

In-game: a bookcase

Setting

Creepy but never terrifying, The Whispering Halls was beautiful and filled with subtle homages to Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, but never felt like it was ripping off the famous haunted house. Enchambered used time-tested techniques to make the space feel both haunted and larger than it actually was.

In-game: glowing candles mounted to a red wall.

Gameplay

Enchambered’s The Whispering Halls was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ The Whispering Halls was an enchanting space. Enchambered built vertically, affording them space to add details without red herrings and an expanse without barren space. It was deliberately designed and atmospheric, setting the tone for an exciting escape room.

➕ Enchambered used a variety of effects to create exciting moments inside The Whispering Halls.

➖ The gamespace showed a bit of wear and not all the wiring was completely hidden.

➕ Enchambered built interesting puzzles into unusual interactions. These were a ton of fun.

➖ One puzzle had an overly tight tolerance.

➕/➖ Enchambered provided a step to help shorter players participate in higher puzzles. It would have been helpful to affix this to the floor, or label it, so that it wouldn’t be confused as a puzzle component.

➕ The puzzles flowed well. We could see the different puzzle paths emerging and build mastery of the room as we played. This made similar solves – and even multiple locks with the same digit structure – less arduous. It also built up anticipation for opens.

➖ One moment of individual isolation could have really shined, but felt underwhelming.

➕ Your ticket to The Whispering Halls buy a lot. As this escape room revealed its secrets, it also unveiled more densely packed puzzle content. There was a lot of game within these walls.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We recommend Thai Terrace for a meal before/after your game.

Book your hour with Enchambered’s The Whispering Halls, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

… when you come out to San Fransisco this June for Escape, Immerse, Explore: The Palace. Enchambered would make a lovely day trip add-on to your time in California. Today is the last day to book tickets to our Palace Games tour. Don’t miss your chance!

Disclosure: Enchambered provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Enchambered – The Legend of the Skull Witch [Review]

The Wicked Witch of the West Coast

Location:  Sacramento, California

Date Played: February 24, 2019

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock 

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Few games open as strongly as The Legend of the Skull Witch. Enchambered’s cabin of magic and evil was fueled with strong puzzles and just enough frights to make it intense and exciting without feeling terrifying.

A couple of gameflow issues notwithstanding, this was an incredible game from a strong company. The Legend of the Skull Witch was a remarkable world to puzzle through.

We highly recommend The Legend of the Skull Witch. If you’re anywhere in the region, take a trip to play it. We did; we were thrilled with that decision.

In-game: an effigy hanging from the wall with fire projected onto it.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Magical interactions
  • Detailed and immersive gamespace to explore
  • Use of effects

Story

Legend had it that a vile witch lived in the swamps outside of New Orleans. The tale told of her luring bewildered partygoers away… a mistake that they paid for with their lives.

We hadn’t bought into the stories, but two of our friends had disappeared during Mardi Gras. We’d tracked them to a rundown cabin in the middle of the swamp.

In-game: A tree with glowing tubes hanging from that function as the game's clock.

Setting

The Legend of the Skull Witch made an immediate impression. The multi-level set, staggering volume of details, animations, and how it all came together were arresting. Normally when I enter an escape room I immediately look for where to start. In The Legend of the Skull Witch, I stood there and looked at what Enchambered had built, not to start solving, but simply to take it all in.

Enchambered maintained that level of detail throughout the entire experience. The Legend of the Skull Witch was a little scarier than Enchambered’s The Whispering Halls. That intensity carried through to some of their set design and effects choices.

In-game: A wooden shelf containing magical ingredients.

Gameplay

Enchambered’s The Legend of the Skull Witch was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: a small creature holding a talisman.

Analysis

The Legend of the Skull Witch began with an imposing projection. It set the tone beautifully.

➕ From the get-go, The Legend of the Skull Witch offered a lot of options for exploration, from the gamespace to the details.

➖ The Legend of the Skull Witch relied too heavily on explanation. There would be an opportunity to make the puzzles more immediately approachable, letting players discover how to work the mechanisms through play.

➕ In place of locks – combination or magnetic – Enchambered built other input mechanisms. These interactive inputs also felt magical, and appropriate for the space.

➖ Too many puzzles resolved to the same digit structure. While this was mitigated by interesting inputs, we spent a bit too much time trying the same combination in multiple different locks. Small variation in digit structure would have smoothed over the game flow.

➖ We struggled with one puzzle that combined a lot of disparate information. It seemed we activated components out of order. It was frustrating when we couldn’t re-trigger information.

➕ The puzzles generally solved cleanly and were tangible. Although one overstayed its welcome, we enjoyed its mechanic. Many of the puzzles encouraged teamwork.

In-game: A wall of wooden masks and totems.

➕ Enchambered built effects that helped us feel the story – the desperate plight of the witch’s victims – as we played. It was haunting and impressive.

➕/➖ We appreciate a thematic and integrated gameclock. This one was beautifully worked into the set. Unfortunately, we didn’t understand the gameclock for what it was until after we’d won the game. That may have been on us… I’m really not sure.

➕ We visited Enchambered while part of their facility was under construction. Due to construction regulations, they couldn’t allow players into the final gamespace for The Legend of the Skull Witch. They created an elegant workaround that enabled them to run our game through to the end despite this inconvenience. Although we would have loved a hands-on experience for this portion, we respect their concern for safety and regulations, and their ingenuity.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • We recommend Thai Terrace for a meal before/after your game.

Book your hour with Enchambered’s The Legend of the Skull Witch, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Enchambered provided media discounted tickets for this game.