Extreme Escape – The Lost Tomb [Review]

Monkey around

Location:  San Antonio, Texas

Date Played:  August 8, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30.99 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The biggest disappointments are aesthetically beautiful, high-budget games that do not play well. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again.

The Lost Tomb was gorgeous and had some fantastic moments… but the puzzles and gameplay felt incomplete. This was made worse by wear that rendered some puzzles especially difficult to interpret.

After playing and loving Extreme Escape’s The Cursed, we went in fully prepared to be enamored with The Lost Tomb. It didn’t work out that way.

If you love a beautiful set, there’s still an adventure in The Lost Tomb. If you feel that a high-quality escape experience necessitates strong puzzles and gameplay, then your relic is in another tomb.

In-game: A human skeleton hanging from a wall between two panther sculptures.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Cool effects
  • Nifty set design

Story

Our archeological dig had angered the ancient Mayan gods. We had to restore the artifacts to their rightful places or suffer the gods’ wrath.

In-game: A gold Mayan sculputre engraved and hanging from the wall of the tomb.

Setting

Extreme Escape’s The Lost Tomb was a good-looking game. There were loads of details that gave it that classic Indiana Jones vibe.

The lighting and effects helped to sell the setting.

With the exception of one small late-game space, the build quality was quite high.

In-game: A human skull on a spike in a tomb.

Gameplay

Extreme Escape’s The Lost Tomb was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A locked crate in a cave.

Analysis

➕ The set looked good and, at its best, the tech felt magical, in that cursed-tomb type of way. Together, the set and tech made a charming combination. 

➕ Extreme Escape added effects to The Lost Tomb that engaged multiple senses and enhanced the experience.

➖ Most of the puzzles were almost fully designed. A few too many of them required some amount of trial and error, given the possible different ways of interpreting the clues. In many instances the cluing wasn’t quite refined enough.

➖ One segment of the game required expert night vision. We had to discern detail in the dark without a portable light source. This whole segment felt like it was the result of a massive oversight. From set to interaction, it was amazing that this corner of the game existed at all.

➕ Extreme Escape is one of the few companies that doesn’t freak out about players using cameras in the games.

In-game: Lisa & David's selfie inside of the Lost Tomb.
We took a selfie inside of an escape game and we weren’t disintegrated with lasers!

➖ There was significant wear on crucial props and set pieces.

➕/➖ One set piece solved into an especially satisfying and surprising response. That said, the gamemaster had to give us specific instructions for how not to act with this set piece, putting a damper on the moment.

➕/➖ Another clever puzzle might have been a little too clever. It required us to act in a way that felt counter to the instructions given to us at the beginning of the game. This could have been mitigated with extra in-game cluing.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • They are on the top floor of the plaza.

Book your hour with Extreme Escape’s The Lost Tomb, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Extreme Escape comped our tickets for this game.

Extreme Escape – Trapped Below [Review]

The game that we won 3 times in 10 minutes

Location:  San Antonio, Texas

Date Played:  August 8, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30.99 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

This is going to be a weird one.

Extreme Escape’s Trapped Below was a mess of contradictions. The near constant clash of high and low quality made this game especially difficult to review.

The set looked beautiful… but it was undermined by confusingly exposed technology and baffling sound design.

In-game: an assortment of mechaical controls mounted to the wall of a mine.
Image via Extreme Escape

The puzzles were well designed and fun to solve… but they were oddly retriggerable. It was a rough game to solve with only one flashlight.

We loved the opening sequence… but the end sequence was botched because multiple gamemasters kept telling us that we hadn’t finished everything when we most certainly had done so (and originally in record time… before we were sent back in to finish the game two more times.) There is truly nothing more confusing in an escape room than standing in a game once you’ve solved every single puzzle, while being told repeatedly that you aren’t finished.

There was a lot to love in Trapped Below… and there were some regrettable oversights (most of which were completely fixable). If you’re looking for a solid adventure and puzzle game, and you’re ok with low lighting and some sloppiness, there’s plenty to enjoy in Trapped Below.

That said, I know that Extreme Escape is capable of making this one great and I hope that they do.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A cool set
  • Fun interactions

Story

We entered an abandoned mine in search of a lost treasure. We had to find the treasure and plot a path out of the mine.

In-game: the approach to a mine shaft, the floor has trunks filled with mining gear.
Image via Extreme Escape

Setting

We entered a mine shaft and stepped into an old elevator to descend into the unknown.

Armed with a single flashlight, we explored a thoroughly designed mine shaft set. Low light frequently hides weak set design. In this case, most of it was beautiful.

The only glaring flaw with the set design was some exposed technology.

In-game: a wood walled mine with a TNT detinator.
Image via Extreme Escape

Gameplay

Extreme Escape’s Trapped Below was a standard escape room with a low level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A wood walled mine with assorted mechanical interactions on the walls.
Image via Extreme Escape

Analysis

➕ Trapped Below started off in a pretty convincing elevator. It then opened up into a mine with a detailed set to explore. It was a fun gamespace and it looked great.

➖ The experience would have been far better with a few more flashlights.

➕ The gamespace was beautifully constructed.

➖ The tech wasn’t embedded well enough. There were exposed wires, which looked sloppy and also a little confusing.

➖ One early design decision made us cranky. It was a frustrating mechanic that wasn’t adequate for the puzzle gating at that juncture.

➖ The sounds design was unbalanced. The prop that should have made the loudest noise was quiet compared to other triggers.

➖ It was possible to re-trigger puzzles we’d already solved, which was surprising and confusing.

➖ As noted in the reaction, we won this game 3 times in 10 minutes. In each of the first 2 wins, the hints directed us back into the game upon our exit, telling us we’d left a puzzle unsolved.

When we couldn’t determine what we’d possibly skipped, we solved the game again. After we triggered the ending a third time, we had the opportunity to speak with the staff. At that point, everyone came to understand that after we’d revealed and solved a specific puzzle, we’d moved it back to its starting position because it was in our way. This entire sequence of events deflated the experience.

➕ Although Trapped Below had a rough start, and our playthrough had a less-than-explosive conclusion, the majority of the game played smoothly. The puzzles generally flowed well.

Tips For Visiting

  • There are plenty of food options in Extreme Escape’s plaza.
  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Extreme Escape’s Trapped Below, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Extreme Escape comped our tickets for this game.

Mobile Escape Room Texas – Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty [Review]

Roll away the Alamo

Location:  San Antonio, TX

Date Played:  August 7, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: contact them for event pricing

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

When Mobile Escape Room Texas approached our booth at the escape room conference in San Antonio, we were intrigued by Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty. We’ve generally enjoyed our experiences in trailer-based escape rooms and have been impressed with the ingenuity of these creators.

Mobile Escape Room Texas surprised us, however, by raising the bar. When our gamemaster “locked” us inside this Alamo, we were taken aback by the level of detail and portrayal of the historical space. Whereas most games in trailers lean into the long and thin layout when choosing a theme, Mobile Escape Room Texas did something different, including an unorthodox transition to boot.

In-game: An hourglass sitting on a stack of crates.

Mobile Escape Room Texas designed primarily for a corporate/ party, non-puzzler audience. They can run Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty as a 15-minute, 30-minute, or 60-minute game. They can segment the trailer to run two games simultaneously. The versatility was impressive.

If you’re an experienced escape room player, don’t expect especially novel puzzle-play or interaction design. Expect detailed design and solid gameplay with a few minor hiccups.

The novelty is how this game navigated the arduous spatial and audience constraints. From this angle Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty, is especially impressive.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • History buffs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Great set design
  • Solid puzzle play rooted in history

Story

It was 1836 and we had gone to the Alamo to retrieve a letter on orders from Sam Houston. We’d been misidentified as spies and locked up in the small mission right before the famous battle was set to begin.

In-game: a Mexican flag, coats, and a lantern hanging on the wall of the Alamo.

Setting

Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty was set inside a mobile escape room trailer: all signage on the outside, another world within.

The exterior of Mobile Escape Room's trailer.

Inside the trailer, the walls evoked the old fortress with detailed weathering. The wooden furniture and props felt like they belonged. The dim space was lit by lanterns. There was no resemblance to the modern trailer and no indication that we were on wheels.

Gameplay

Mobile Escape Room Texas’ Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty was a mobile escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A musket viewed through cage bars.

Analysis

➕  From the gamespace, you never would have known that Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty was a mobile escape room set inside a trailer. The set was designed and detailed. It looked great. Mobile Escape Room Texas even constructed a transition.

➕ Mobile Escape Room Texas minded the period-specific details of their historical staging. They even crafted custom brass wheels for a word lock.

In-game: The weathered concrete and stone walls of the Alamo.

➕ The puzzles and inputs varied enormously. We enjoyed putting our mark on one puzzle and wrapping up another. If we turned around, we might find a well-hidden input. There were many satisfying solves.

➖ We encountered some severe wear where a puzzle was practically illegible. 

➖ One ghost puzzle marched on.

➕ /➖ Mobile Escape Room Texas triggered a sound to indicate when a puzzle was solved. While we appreciated the feedback, this was frequently lost among the sounds of a team of people in a small space. Spring-loaded doors that pop open would help a team’s forward momentum. 

➕ Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty included cut-scene video interludes. We enjoyed how these added background to the game without disrupting gameplay.

➖ In an escape room that offered great moments, the ending fizzled. We wanted to feel the triumph of success more emphatically.

Tips For Visiting

  • Mobile Escape Room Texas can bring the game to you. It’s a trailer. You can also come to them at their regular parking lot in San Antonio.
  • At least one player will need to crawl.
  • Mobile Escape Room Texas can run this game as a 15-minute, 30-minute, or 60-minute experience depending on a client’s needs and goals.

Book your hour with Mobile Escape Room Texas’ Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Mobile Escape Room Texas comped our tickets for this game.

San Antonio, Texas: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: October 19, 2019

TransWorld’s Escape Room Conference is coming to San Antonio in August, 2019.

If you’re going, we’re delivering a free State of the Industry talk and David will be on the Safety Panel.

For conference attendees and other travelers, here are our escape room recommendations near San Antonio, Texas.

Stylized image of The Alamo at night.

Market Standouts

Extreme Escape is the company to visit in San Antonio. We haven’t played all of their rooms yet, but we really enjoyed the two we did play. We’re looking forward to checking out some of their other games in August.

  1. The Cursed, Extreme Escape
  2. Master of Illusions, Extreme Escape
  3. Alamo Escape: The Race to Liberty, Mobile Escape Room Texas

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Tech Heavy

Traditional

Big Group Games

Nearby Austin has a vibrant escape room scene, and we highly recommend visiting if you’re in the region. These cities are only an hour apart.

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

Escape Space Games – The Play House [Review]

Birth Control: The Game

Location:  San Marcos, Texas

Date Played: February 2, 2019

Team size: 3-7; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [B] Emergency Key*

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Play House offered some interesting puzzles. It was a search-and-puzzle escape room, with quite a bit of stuff to sift through in a minimal set. We weren’t huge fans of the rummaging (there were a lot of diapers). This was also complicated by playing the game in darkness with flashlights.

That said, we especially liked when Escape Space Games had repurposed children’s toys into puzzles.

If you’re in San Marcos and need a puzzle fix, check out Escape Space Games.

In-game: 2 locked toolboxes beside children's toys in a dark room.

Who is this for?

  • Locals
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Fun puzzles

Story

We found ourselves trapped in a daycare after hours. The lights were out… and the toys wanted to play with us.

In-game: The numbers 1 through 5 hanging diagonally on the wall of a dark room.

Setting

We were in a child’s bedroom and playroom in darkness, with a few flashlights. The room was populated with tons of toys, diapers, and the kind of furniture that one would expect to find in the bedroom of a tiny human.

On the one hand, the props and furniture felt accurate… like they may have been migrated from the designer’s home after their child outgrew everything. On the other hand, there wasn’t anything exciting about the setting.

In-game: An image of a cartoon turtle hanging on the wall of a dark room.

Gameplay

Escape Space Games’ The Play House was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Some of that difficulty was derived from darkness.

Core gameplay revolved around searching, observing, and puzzling.

In-game: A racket hanging on the wall in a dark room.

Analysis

➖ The gamespace was a mess of toys and diapers. It had also been far too long since it had seen a vacuum cleaner.

➕ The gameplay in Play House flowed logically. It had some interesting puzzle content.

➖ When we encountered props that had been defaced with numbers, and painstakingly searched out these numbers by flashlight, we were disappointed to find they were just a red herring, or perhaps they were a ghost puzzle, or maybe they were there by accident? I don’t know.

➕ Escape Space Games turned a few children’s toys into interesting puzzle interactions. One in particular was quite the enigma. This was solid repurposing.

➖ / ➕ We played Play House entirely in the dark, with our phones as flashlights. There was no reason – in the narrative or the gameplay – that the space needed to be dark. This was just a nuisance. It did leave Escape Space Games the opportunity to illuminate when and how they saw fit. To their credit, they seized the moment better than most. But the payoff wasn’t worth the hassle.

➖ *The door was locked, but the game master told us the “emergency code” that would unlock the door in the event of an emergency. We recommend that Escape Space Games print the emergency code next to the lock so that players don’t need to recall it in the event of an emergency. Better yet, we recommend that they upgrade to a “push to exit” button. Since the fire in Poland, this kind of lock-in isn’t acceptable anymore.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.
  • Enter through a glass door at the corner of the plaza and walk down a long hallway to get to Escape Space Games.

Book your hour with Escape Space Games’ The Play House, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape Space Games comped our tickets for this game.

Disclosure: Escape Space Games provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Clocked In Escape Room – Priceless Gift [Review]

Ma chérie

Location:  San Antonio, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $116 per team of 4 (minimum number), more for larger teams

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Priceless Gift asked us to find a treasured object in our grandmother’s home. This premise and the corresponding gamespace were oddly charming.

In-game: An antique white couch in a white room with paintings of France hanging on the walls.

Clocked In Escape Room built a search-and-puzzle escape room with standard puzzle types. Despite a few bumpy solutions, the puzzles generally made sense and the gameplay flowed well.

If you’re in San Antonio and you’re looking for a gentler, puzzle-focused escape room – one that isn’t about saving the world or a fantastical situation – visit Priceless Gift. It won’t blow your mind, but it will deliver competent, classic escape room play.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • A tender story
  • Fun puzzles

Story

Our grandmother had passed away. Her will clearly stated that she wanted us to have a diamond necklace that had been in the family since the 18th century. Unfortunately, when she wrote her will, she couldn’t remember where she put the priceless jewelry.

The executor of the estate informed us that her house had been sold. We had only 60 minutes until the closing in which to find our inheritance.

In-game: a Singer sewing machine.

Setting

Priceless Gift was set in a bright, white room, with faux stained glass, and antique furniture.

Clocked In Escape Room built a visually unusual environment that wasn’t fancy, but still was striking. The inclusion of a few select antiques like a Singer sewing machine added a bit of authenticity.

Gameplay

Clocked In Escape Room’s Priceless Gift was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

Analysis

➕ Priceless Gift told a sweet story through escape room gameplay. We don’t see enough of this genre of escape room. It was refreshing.

➕ The puzzles were generally sound, satisfying solves that flowed logically.

➖ A few of the puzzles asked for a larger step in logic.

➖ Priceless Gift could have benefited from a little dusting and maybe a couple of lock replacements.

➕ /➖ Clocked In Escape Room attempted an artistic puzzle in this mostly lock-and-key escape room. We liked the concept, but it didn’t quite stick.

➕ I loved seeing the old Singer sewing machine. Personally, if I were associating a single object with my grandparents, that’s probably it.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Clocked In Escape Room’s Priceless Gift, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Escape the Room San Antonio- Western Bank Heist [Review]

Hold up

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $28 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A] Push To Release

REA Reaction

Escape the Room San Antonio’s Western Bank Heist looked gorgeous. It was a beautiful and detailed game space.

The experience, however, felt hollow. The gameplay wasn’t dynamic, logical, or interesting. On multiple occasions, this game was barely clued. In one instance, I considered changing the code on one of the locks because doing so would have fixed the worst puzzle in this game. All it would have taken was swapping two digits to something that actually made sense. I didn’t do it… but Escape The Room absolutely should.

Escape the Room San Antonio built an amazing stage for a dramatic heist. With minimal tweaks in puzzle design and gameplay, they could make this adventure truly outstanding.

In its current form, we can only recommend Western Bank Heist for its scenery. Our playthrough was irritating.

In-game: A cashier standing behind a barred window in an elegant wooden bank.

Who is this for?

  • Scenery snobs

Why play?

  • The gorgeous set
  • To see one of the silliest puzzle solutions that we’ve encountered in years

Story

Our gang saddled up to rob a bank.

In-game: Post office boxes.

Setting

Escape The Room’s Western Bank Heist had a fantastic look that struck our entire team the moment we set foot in the room. The dark wood, white paint, and gold embellishments felt both strange and right.

Additionally, Escape The Room had added a few new effects to modernize this game and they were a smart addition.

In-game: A sign that reads, "Deposit Slips" surrounded by intricate woodwork, above it is a beautiful gold ceiling.

Gameplay

Escape the Room San Antonio’s Western Bank Heist was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

The difficulty stemmed from unrefined puzzles.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: An intricate clock hanging on the wall.

Analysis

➕ This holdup took place in a spacious and detailed bank set. With its substantial wooden set pieces, built into the architecture, it looked and felt like the stage for a bit of prairie mischief.

➖ Although the set looked great, it wasn’t bright enough for a search-and-puzzle game. We were encouraged to use our phones for flashlights which was fine, if out of place… but there really wasn’t a good reason for us to need flashlights of any kind in this game. The low contrast clues weren’t fun to find.

➖ All roads led to a 4-digit combination… even when a different digit structure would have made more sense. Each time we derived an answer, we had to try it in every available input, which shot any forward momentum.

➕ We enjoyed the few tangible puzzles that were built into the fixtures of the gamespace. These were mostly new puzzles that had been recently integrated into The Western Bank Heist.

➖ We tripped up repeatedly on unclued searching and red herrings.

➖ One puzzle required a hefty logic leap. We required multiple hints on what should have been a quick-hit puzzle. When we finally got the right answer, this puzzle’s solution was about 75% inane bullshit.

➖ Escape the Room San Antonio missed an obvious opportunity for an explosive and memorable moment.

➕ Despite a few missed opportunities, Western Bank Heist went out with a bang.

➖ Still, as we skipped town, we felt intimately familiar with the space, but not the sense of adventure or satisfaction one would hope from successfully robbing a bank. We’d spent more energy poring over every nook and cranny than solving puzzles. The experience felt hollow.

Tips For Visiting

  • Escape the Room San Antonio is right off The San Antonio River Walk.

Book your hour with Escape the Room San Antonio’s Western Bank Heist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape the Room San Antonio provided media discounted tickets for this game.

The Exit Game – The Zodiac Killer Legacy [Review]

Handcuffs, ciphers, & astrology.

Location:  San Antonio, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $31.95 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [F] No Emergency Release

REA Reaction

The Zodiac Killer Legacy was a standard murder-basement style-escape room: minimal decor and a creepy vibe.

The Exit Game delivered standard gameplay with a bias for cyphers. While a few of the puzzles needed refinement or maintenance, it flowed pretty well and built towards a climactic conclusion.

We started The Zodiac Killer Legacy handcuffed without safety releases. For this reason, we cannot recommend the game. While this worked well from a gameplay standpoint, the reward wasn’t worth the risk in a post-Poland fire world.

In-game: Closeup of a glowing red light in a dark room.

Who is this for?

  • People who like the idea of a scary themed experience, but don’t want to actually be afraid.
  • Players with at least some experience
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Creepy vibe without true horror
  • Some interesting puzzles

Story

We’d been kidnapped by a hopeful Zodiac Killer copycat. He was planning to begin his killing spree with us.

We had to escape before he returned to his murder basement and began his new venture.

In-game: A handcuff along a chain and padlocked to a concrete wall.

Setting

In The Zodiac Killer Legacy, we were chained to a wall in a dark basement-like room with minimal decor.

The Exit Game created a space that functioned as a convincing basement environment. There wasn’t anything remarkable about it.

Gameplay

The Exit Game’s The Zodiac Killer Legacy was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ /➖ We began this escape room with the entire team handcuffed along a wall. The handcuffing didn’t last long. It focused us on a single jumping off point, freeing ourselves to explore the room. Forced to collaborate as a team, and thematically appropriate, I can see how this could be an exhilarating beginning. That said, the handcuffs lacked safety releases. The thrill of the handcuffs wasn’t worth the risk they entail. The Exit Game absolutely needs to add safety releases if they continue to include handcuffing.

➕ The set of The Zodiac Killer Legacy looked appropriately murder-basement-y. It was spacious and relatively barren, which could come across as foreboding. It was serviceable.

➖ The bare bones set had only one intriguing element… but its use didn’t warrant the intrigue.

➖ Some of the cluing seemed a bit off. In one case, overly complex cluing was perhaps a ghost puzzle. In another, the flavor text seemed a bit of a stretch. A third seemed just a bit too ambiguous.

➖ The Zodiac Killer Legacy relied too heavy on reading and ciphering. It quickly became tedious and repetitious.

➖ One prop was wearing away. This was simultaneously making the solve too easy – we could intuit what past teams has done – and too hard – as it was needlessly challenging to take the action.

➕ As we played through The Zodiac Killer Legacy, we built toward the most exciting solve of the game. Given its nature, it was rightly placed as the culminating action.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with The Exit Game’s The Zodiac Killer Legacy, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: The Exit Game comped our tickets for this game.

Premier Escape Rooms – Foreign Agent [Review]

Licence to Puzzle

Location: San Antonio, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Foreign Agent was a traditional, puzzle-focused escape room.

Premier Escape Rooms focused on the gameplay rather than decor or adventure. Foreign Agent played well. Although it lacked grand reveals, it delivered some nifty moments.

If you’re in San Antonio and you play escape rooms for the puzzles, we recommend you see what you can uncover here.

In-game: A computer with a world map on the lockscreen in an office.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Fun puzzles
  • Crafted with care

Story

One of our colleagues at The Agency had been suspected of being a double agent. We had to sneak into his office and find evidence one way or the other.

In-game: closeup of a black envelope labeled "Confidential" in red ink.

Setting

Foreign Agent was a compact game set within a nefarious spy’s office. Premier Escape Rooms decorated the space with various props and interactions that referenced poplar images of spycraft.

Premier Escape Rooms’ gamespace was lovingly created with a couple of surprises, but nothing mind-blowing. They put a greater emphasis on puzzle play than on set-driven adventure.

Gameplay

Premier Escape Rooms’ Foreign Agent was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A trench coat and fedora on a coatrack.

Analysis

➕ Foreign Agent took place in an office. Although the set wasn’t particularly inspiring, Premier Escape Rooms had added a richness to the otherwise mundane office decor, which we felt as we played.

➖ Our mission wasn’t inspiring. Office gamespaces are inherently unexciting, even when they are well designed. The experience felt like a still life. There was opportunity to breath more life into the story and our role in it.

➕ Premier Escape Rooms created custom computer programs for Foreign Agent. They were fun puzzles that engaged multiple players. They also worked well with the staging for this escape room.

➕ We wanted to race to solve one beckoning puzzle, but we needed to wait for it to give us the green light.

➖ Foreign Agent required substantial searching, sometimes with less than adequate gear.

➕ Interactions were well clued. The props may have been your typical office essentials, but they were deliberately designed into the gameflow. Foreign Agent played logically.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Premier Escape Rooms’ Foreign Agent, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Premier Escape Rooms comped our tickets for this game.

Extreme Escape – Master of Illusions [Review]

Is this your card?

Location:  San Antonio, Texas

Date Played: February 3, 2019

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 2-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30.99 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Master of Illusions was a beautiful escape room. It combined ambiance with puzzling. It all came together like magic.

Master of Illusions played well, but it didn’t rock the boat.

If you’re looking for a straightforward, puzzle-focused escape room with thematic decor and a few little tricks up its sleeve, this would be a great choice. Extreme Escape’s newer and more epic games were at their other location; The Cursed was a must-play.

We recommend Master of Illusions for anyone visiting San Antonio, regardless of experience level.

In-game: A magic prop with the image of a queen on it beside a gold art deco statue of a nude woman and the stage door.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Elegant environment
  • Fun puzzles 
  • Opening and closing moments

Story

It was 1929 and the greatest illusionist since Houdini was suspected of sabotaging and murdering one of his rivals. We had to investigate the magician and learn the truth.

In-game: A locked trunk and milk can in a room surrounded by other magical props.

Setting

Wide open with selective spotlighting and lightning effects, Extreme Escape’s Master of Illusions embodied the golden age of magic.

The set was detailed without being extravagant or massive. Simply put: it felt right and got the job done.

In-game: An ornate chandelier with magical props illuminated in the background.

Gameplay

Extreme Escape’s Master of Illusions was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

Analysis

➕ Master of Illusions began and concluded with a clever and elegant trick. It was a nice touch and set the tone for the game.

➕ The gamespace felt comfortable and believable. It was beautiful and thematic. The lighting and music added ambiance. It was a fun space in which to solve puzzles.

➖ Extreme Escape presented us with a discard box, specifically for used puzzle elements. Then they reused a key component. Clue reuse is fine, as are discard boxes… but they don’t mix well. This felt needlessly deceptive.

➕ The puzzles were on-theme and solved cleanly.

➖ Many of the props were secured with multiple locks. This meant that opens would frequently yield nothing new. It was frustrating to repeatedly reap no reward from a solve.

➕Extreme Escape encouraged us to Instagram our experience! Master of Illusions was a beautiful room and highly Instagrammable. It’s smart marketing! We didn’t actually Instagram during gameplay – we were too focused on playing – but we did shoot a little video for our Patreon supporters from the room at the end of the game.

Tips For Visiting

  • There are plenty of food options in Extreme Escape’s plaza.
  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Extreme Escape’s Master of Illusions, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Extreme Escape comped our tickets for this game.