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.
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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]

Foreign Agent is one of the best escape rooms in San Antonio. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in San Antonio.

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]

Master of Illusions is one of the best escape rooms in San Antonio. Here are our recommendations for great escape rooms in San Antonio.

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.