St. Louis, Missouri: Escape Room Recommendations

Latest update: November 30, 2019

I’m not going to lie. St. Louis isn’t an escape room destination. There are pretty games and there are fun games… but we couldn’t find anything that was the total package.

However, what you will find in St. Louis is the City Museum, a gem of another kind.

Stylized image of the Arch in St. Louis.

Market Standouts

City Museum is not an escape room, but it is absolutely the market standout. Wear knee pads.

Set & Scenery Driven

Puzzle Centric

Newbie Friendly

Spooky & Scary

Something Else

City Museum is not an escape room. However, it was finest immersive experience that we encountered in St. Louis. We highly recommend this adventure playground for all ages.

Puzzle Warehouse is also not an escape room, but if you happen to also be a jigsaw puzzle fan, it’s a place worth checking out. It claims to be the largest jigsaw puzzle store in the United States, and we believe it.

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

Puzzle Warehouse – St. Louis [Reaction]

St Louis isn’t exactly the hottest escape room city. However, if you’re a traveling puzzler there is a delightful place just outside of town: Puzzle Warehouse.

Puzzle Warehouse exterior and sign.

What’s a Puzzle Warehouse?

The Puzzle Warehouse claims that it is the largest jigsaw puzzle store in the United States… and I am inclined to believe them.

They have aisles upon aisles of jigsaw puzzles as well as a respectable mechanical puzzle section.

A very long aisle filled with jigsaw puzzle boxes.

Should I Visit Puzzle Warehouse?

Not every escape room player is into jigsaw puzzles.

If you don’t get the appeal of a good jigsaw puzzle, then you can skip Puzzle Warehouse.

If you heard “aisles upon aisles of jigsaw puzzles” and thought, “I’ll pack an empty suitcase,” then you probably should go.

Shopping carts in the Puzzle Warehouse
They have shopping carts. Process that.

Visit Puzzle Warehouse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

St. Louis Escape – Curse of the Mummy [Review]

“I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.” -Anakin Skywalker

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 21, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

St. Louis Escape makes great sets and Curse of the Mummy was no exception. That said, this escape game had some seriously annoying gameplay.

If things had been clued properly and the tech wasn’t finicky, it could have played pretty smoothly, but it didn’t do any of that. Instead, we were left with a needlessly difficult, albeit pretty, game… I can only recommend this if you want to see a really good Egyptian tomb set and you haven’t yet played Tomb of Anubis… which was on a whole different level.

In-game: A pyramid with glowing symbols in the middle of a tomb excavation site.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Strong Egyptian tomb set

Story

While exploring an ancient Egyptian tomb, we’d happened upon a burial chamber and the obligatory curse.

In-game: A statue of a woman in an Egyptian tomb.

Setting

Curse of the Mummy had a strong Egyptian tomb set. It included a sand-covered floor, a cobwebbed ceiling, statues, ropes, and sandstone blocks. It had a strong, deliberate aesthetic contained within a relatively compact footprint.

In-game: A lantern and scale on a sandstone block that is tied with rope for hoisting.

Gameplay

St. Louis Escape’s Curse of the Mummy was a standard escape room with a high level of difficulty.

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

In-game: A treasure chest, and small locked wooden box sitting on top of sand with hieroglyphs adorning the wall behind them.

Analysis

➕ St. Louis Escape built an impressive Egyptian tomb set for Curse of the Mummy. From floor to ceiling, it was designed, detailed, and delightful.

In-game: Cobwebs hanging from the ceiling.

➖ Our introduction to Curse of the Mummy included how many rooms we’d traverse over the course of the game and information for how to solve some of the puzzles. It was a strange way to introduce the experience.

➖ Many of the puzzles in Curse of the Mummy lacked adequate clue structure. This is the reason we listed this escape room with a high level of difficulty and we recommend it for players with some experience.

➖ Curse of the Mummy relied heavily on a runbook. This was frustrating to use and detracted from our experience exploring the gorgeous set.

In-game: Footprints in the sand.

➖ There were a number of exceedingly frustrating puzzles. One search puzzle burned a lot of time and wasn’t fun to do. There was another riddle that was laughably clunky to resolve into a solution that would fit its corresponding lock.

➖The tolerances on some tech were unforgiving. We had to be incredibly precise to get opens to trigger. We burned a silly amount of time solving puzzles correctly… but not quite perfectly enough.

In-game: A glowing green scarab image in darkness.

➕ Our favorite puzzles were worked into some of the more impressive set pieces… again, spanning the breadth of the space from floor to ceiling. These were really fun, interactive solves.

➖ All of the games at St. Louis Escape were built into a warehouse space with open ceilings. While the ceilings were well designed as a part of the sets, we could hear the groups screaming in the neighboring horror game, Cellar Escape, while we played Curse of the Mummy It was difficult to buy into our Egyptian adventure when we could clearly hear a neighboring team.

In-game: A statue of a cobra's head protruding from the sandstone wall of a tomb.

Tips For Visiting

  • You can park for free on the street directly in front of the building or on the side of the building.
  • There are stairs up to the escape room lobby and the escape rooms.
  • Beware that St. Louis Escape has a habit for putting 4-digit solutions into 5-digit locks.
  • The floor of this game is covered in sand. Wear appropriate footwear.

Book your hour with St. Louis Escape’s Curse of the Mummy, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: St. Louis Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape From St. Louis – Murder at Denbrough Mansion [Review]

Clue did it?

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 22, 2019

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3v3 or 4v4 (They have 2 copies are you can play competitively.)

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $34 per player for team of 2 to $24 per player for team of 8

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Murder at Denbrough Mansion was an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery. We had a dead man, a series of suspects, and a lot of personal effects from those suspects. We had to analyze the information and conclude who had committed the murder, why, and with what weapon.

The stakes were raised by the fact that Escape From St. Louis had two copies of this escape game and we were racing against the other team. (My team beat David’s in this game; our competitive record is once again even.)

In-game: Denbrough dining room table, and breakfront.

While the story and mystery were loaded with details, the set wasn’t inspiring and the input mechanism for solving the crime was as out of place as it was clunky to operate.

We enjoyed Murder at Denbrough Mansion for its unusual take on the murder mystery deduction genre of escape games. It was different and had some good gameplay moments. If that’s something that appeals to you and you’re in St. Louis, then you should take a stab at solving this crime.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Detectives
  • Any experience level
  • Competitive groups

Why play?

  • You can play competitively against your friends
  • Challenging but fair deduction puzzle

Story

Philip K. Denbrough had been brutally murdered in his mansion after hosting a dinner party with all of his friends and family. We had to gather evidence, analyze it, and solve his murder.

In-game: Denbrough's dining room.

Setting

Murder at Denbrough Mansion was staged within a dining room-like environment. It wasn’t fancy or particularly exciting, but it conveyed the setting.

The set was fine, but it wasn’t the reason to visit Escape From St. Louis.

In-game: the breakfront in Denbrough's dining room.

Gameplay

Escape From St. Louis’ Murder at Denbrough Mansion was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Escape From St. Louis has two identical copies of this escape room. They offer the option to book both copies and play competitively.

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

In-game: a system for organizing suspects, weapons, and motives.

Analysis

Murder at Denbrough Mansion culminated in a giant deduction puzzle. The deduction elements made sense and the puzzles generally flowed well.

➕ Escape From St. Louis provided the tools (different types of charts) to solve the murder. We had our choice of different ways to keep track of the information and reason out a solution.

➕ As we solved the puzzles, we learned about the characters and their relationships and motives. While these were surface level revelations, it gave the playthrough added depth.

➕/ ➖ Escape From St. Louis built a solution input mechanism into the game. They designed it such that we couldn’t brute force our way to the solution of this murder. It was, however, an odd contraption to have on the wall in the dining room.

Murder at Denbrough Mansion took place in a dining room… with a murder-solving input mechanism. It was a serviceable, but uninspired set. The set was simply a container for the deduction gameplay.

➕ Escape From St. Louis had put a lot of thought in the nuances of the items within the game. We “brought” some of the evidence into the room with us because in the narrative it had been gathered at the homes of some of the other suspects. This was a level of nuance often forgotten by game designers.

In-game: A pile of evidence found elsewhere and brought to the crime scene for analysis.

➖ Some of the later puzzles could have used a bit tighter cluing. A few of the logical connections we needed to make seemed a step off.

➖ The triumphal moment of solving the murder fell flat. It wasn’t entirely clear how to register that solution. As the winning team, we were confused whether we’d won, as we could still hear the audio of the other team playing.

➕/➖ We enjoyed playing this room competitively against our friends. For those keeping track at home, we are now tied again at 3 wins each in competitive escape games against each other. That said, it would have been more interesting if there had been opportunities for the two groups to impact one another or even be aware of each other’s progress.

Tips For Visiting

  • Parking is available on the street in front of the location, as well as in a private lot behind the building.
  • Stay organized while playing this escape room.

Book your hour with Escape From St. Louis’ Murder at Denbrough Mansion, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape From St. Louis provided media discounted tickets for this game.

St. Louis Escape – Pirate’s Curse [Review]

Blow the man down!

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 21, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Pirate’s Curse looked great and included some interesting puzzles.

Unfortunately, the great things about this escape game were undercut by a lack of feedback, finicky technology, and gamemastering that became condescending when we became confused by the lack of feedback and finicky technology.

The reason to play Pirate’s Curse is to see the set. If sets are your thing, then this is a must-play. Beyond set design, we found this experience lacking.

In-game: An open door with a coat of arms on it.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • A great pirate adventure set

Story

We’d boarded a cursed pirate galleon loaded with gold and treasure. In order to keep the gold and our lives, however, we would have to break the treasure’s curse.

In-game: A wrack filled with muskets and swords.

Setting

Pirate’s Curse was a compact game with an attractive pirate ship’s interior as the set.

It was deliberately designed from floor to ceiling and beautifully weathered. From a visual standpoint, there was a lot to enjoy in this game.

In-game: a dead and decaying pirate captain surrounded by treasure.

Gameplay

St. Louis Escape’s Pirate’s Curse was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: Closeup of a shelf with a lantern and a ship in a bottle.

Analysis

➕ The pirate ship looked outstanding. We appreciated the rounded aesthetic that made it feel especially… ship-y.

➕/➖ Pirate’s Curse included some interesting and thematic layered puzzles. Unfortunately, many of these were not clearly clued. Additional playtesting would go a long way.

➖ Pirate’s Curse included a lot of different symbol systems. This started to feel repetitive.

In-game: A bright "we need a clue" sign beside a flashlight, an ornate skull, and many small treasure chests.

➖ We had some problems with triggered opens. In one instance, the open was substantially delayed. Additionally, if we closed anything that we had previously triggered to open, we had to resolve that puzzle to reopen that part of the game. This was tedious when we wanted to recheck our searching.

Pirate’s Curse lacked feedback. We were hardly ever sure when we’d solved something. Inclusion of sound and light cues, or even springs, so that opens would prominently pop, would have helped build forward momentum.

The barred off ceiling of the ship.

➕ The gold and jewels looked great. St. Louis Escape designed them in such a way that they were beautiful and touchable, but not distracting.

➕ We especially enjoyed one satisfying late-game search solve that didn’t flow as we’d expected.

➖ The final puzzle was incredibly finicky and lacked feedback. It took a hint and an unfortunately sassy conversation with our gamemaster to figure out that we had solved the puzzle minutes earlier. When the gamemaster came in, we asked for a demonstration of the final puzzle and it once again was finicky and slow to respond. We kind of enjoyed how this undercut the condescension that she’d flung our way.

Tips For Visiting

  • You can park for free on the street directly in front of the building or on the side of the building.
  • There are stairs up to the escape room lobby and the escape rooms.
  • Beware that St. Louis Escape has a habit for putting 4-digit solutions into 5-digit locks.

Book your hour with St. Louis Escape’s Pirate’s Curse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: St. Louis Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Red Herring Escape Rooms – The Deadly Inheritance [Review]

Cousins Unite!

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 22, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27.50 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [B] Emergency Code

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

The Deadly Inheritance was our favorite escape room from our 2019 trip to St Louis.

This was a heavily puzzle-centric escape game with a quirky setup. It was a bit old school, but it was well-executed for what it was.

In-game: statues of a lighthouse and a hard-helmet for diving.

The set was worn, however. If you’re the type of player who values set design, narrative, and adventure… it was a little light on those elements. Instead it delivered strong gameplay, great puzzle flow, and some interesting interactions.

If you’re looking for a traditional escape room with a funny setup and solid execution, then this is a fantastic option and we absolutely recommend it if you’re in St Louis.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who don’t need to be a part of every puzzle

Why play?

  • Strong puzzle-centric gameplay
  • A quirky, funny setup

Story

We’d received a letter from an attorney representing the estate of our recently deceased Uncle Martin. Our mysterious uncle, whom we had never met, nor heard of, was a pirate and had left his fortune to his nieces and nephews… if we could find it.

In-game: Uncle Martin's house includes an old TV, a fireplace, and an overt nautical theme.

Setting

The Deadly Inheritance was a puzzle room in a quirky nautical set. The room was showing its age. Its focus was on the puzzles rather than the set design. That said, there were some interesting elements to take in.

In-game: a boat and ship light.

Gameplay

Red Herring Escape Rooms’ The Deadly Inheritance was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: Porthole windows and mirrors.

Analysis

➕ The Deadly Inheritance started with a hilarious intro video. It set the tone for a fun escape room experience that didn’t take itself or its ridiculous scenario too seriously.

➕ The Deadly Inheritance had a weird aesthetic that we enjoyed. It was clearly built on a budget, but built with care. It all came together to create our strange uncle’s abode. When your main character is an eccentric millionaire, you have a creative license to cobble together something interesting… and that’s exactly what Red Herring Escape Rooms did.

➖ The room was worn. Some of the locks needed to be replaced. One of the input mechanisms was finicky.

➕ The puzzles were delightful. They were varied and made use of interesting and unexpected props. Our Uncle had quite the collection of oddities! We solved some layered puzzles and other more straight forward ones.

➖ Most of the puzzles were built into props, but not into the set itself. There was opportunity to use the gamespace to create exciting, memorable moments.

Red Herring's quirky and elegant lobby.
Red Herring Escape Room had a great lobby

➕ There was a lot of gameplay packed into this escape room. The game flowed well, encouraging us to start certain puzzles early, for example, and funneling us away from potential bottlenecks.

The Deadly Inheritance offered a particular style of puzzle-focused gameplay. While the puzzles flowed well, the gameplay felt like solving many unconnected puzzles in an eclectic space rather than solving through a cohesive adventure. Your appreciation and enjoyment of this escape room will depend heavily on your style preferences.

Tips For Visiting

  • It looks like there is street parking.
  • Red Herring Escape Rooms has a gorgeous lobby. It’s a comfortable place to hang out.

Book your hour with Red Herring Escape Rooms’ The Deadly Inheritance, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

St. Louis Escape – Haunted Hotel [Review]

Animatronic Hotel

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 21, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

St. Louis Escape’s Haunted Hotel felt like an ode to Disney. Some of it was overt; some of it was in the subtle choices of props and effects.

This felt much more like Disney’s Haunted Mansion than what you’d expect from a game named Haunted Hotel built by a haunted house company. That is to say, it wasn’t scary.

In-game: a suit of armor in front of worn plaster walls, the insignia for Disney's "Haunted Mansion" hands proudly.

In St. Louis Escape’s collection of strong sets, this was my favorite, partially because it had some unusual elements… and because I’ve seen plenty of Egyptian tombs, pirate ships, and murder basements. A haunted hotel was a welcome change.

There was a ton to look at in this game… and looking at all of the stuff was usually more entertaining than solving the puzzles.

The puzzle and game design fell short with weak cluing, some damaged components, and a puzzle that was remarkably out of place… not just in this particular game, but in the St. Louis Escape facility.

If you’re going to play one game at St. Louis Escape, it should either be Haunted Hotel or Cellar Escape. For my money, Cellar Escape offered considerably better gameplay… but Haunted Hotel was a lot less scary and had much more charm and novelty.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Best for players with at least some experience

Why play?

  • Beautiful and unusual set design

Story

Checking into this ghoulish hotel was easy. The question was, could we check out?

In-game: The hotel's decrepit front desk.

Setting

Haunted Hotel had a busy, heavily detailed set filled with quirky animatronics. It was pretty clear that the creators of this game were Disney fans.

St Louis Escape had deliberately designed everything in the space from the floor to the ceiling. Everything was beautifully weathered. There was so much to look at.

In-game: The ornate yet dusty tile floor.

Gameplay

St. Louis Escape’s Haunted Hotel was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

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

In-game: a creepy portrait with its eyes cut out.

Analysis

➕ The detailed set of Haunted Hotel was a joy to explore. It was busy, but not distracting. We enjoyed the aesthetic.

➖ Intentional weathering aside, the set was heavily worn. One key prop was almost impossible to find due to wear.

➕ Our favorite puzzles resolved to tangible interactions with the set. These were the best parts of the playthrough.

➖After the opening scene, Haunted Hotel was almost entirely linear. We spent a lot of time waiting idly because we had too many teammates and too few open puzzles.

➖ Haunted Hotel included a laminated runbook. While it didn’t rely on this as heavily as in some of St. Louis Escape’s other games, it was frustrating to be concentrating on paper cluing instead of immersing ourselves in the set.

➕/➖ Haunted Hotel included a few strong layered puzzles. Unfortunately, each one had its own ambiguity issue. The clue structure wasn’t quite all in place.

➕ We enjoyed the presence of ghostly characters.

In-game: The ceiling adorned with art.

➖The audio was a persistent problem. The intro video lacked audio. We couldn’t hear the ghostly characters very well. At points we were confused whether audio was part of a puzzle, an indication of puzzle progress, background ambiance, or the screams of players in other games.

➖It was easy to accidentally re-trigger the animatronics. This proved confusing.

➕/➖ Bits of story were scattered about Haunted Hotel. The ghosts contributed to our understanding of the story. Ultimately, however, the experience fell short of succeeding as a story-driven adventure.

➖ As we played Haunted Hotel we continually felt that St. Louis Escape took shortcuts in design and maintenance. We encountered one entirely broken puzzle; we didn’t have to solve it to achieve the goal. We could shortcut another puzzle by finding one key piece. Additionally, one puzzle felt completely out of place – aesthetically and thematically – in the experience. We were baffled by its presence.

Tips For Visiting

  • You can park for free on the street directly in front of the building or on the side of the building.
  • There are stairs up to the escape room lobby and the escape rooms.
  • Beware that St. Louis Escape has a habit of putting 4-digit solutions into 5-digit locks.
  • This escape room was haunted, but not scary.

Book your hour with St. Louis Escape’s Haunted Hotel, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: St. Louis Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

St. Louis Escape – Cellar Escape [Review]

High-end murder basement

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 21, 2019

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints:  [B] Mechanical Release

REA Reaction

Cellar Escape was comfortably our group’s favorite game at St. Louis Escape.

While its gameplay was a little more search-centric than we typically go for, the game’s runbook was onerous, and the story was underdeveloped… the set design was top-notch and the game played fairly cleanly.

If you’re visiting St. Louis Escape and you’re comfortable with a horror experience, Cellar Escape is our recommendation. If you’d like something a little less intense, we suggest attempting Haunted Hotel (review coming soon) instead.

In-game: A dead man sitting at a desk with a typewriter in betwen two jail cells.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Players interested in moderate horror
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Great set design
  • Intense moments

Story

We were trapped in a serial killer’s lair and had to find a out way out before he returned.

In-game: An electrical box labeled "Danger Live Wires."

Setting

Cellar Escape was St. Louis Escape’s take on a murder basement. From a set design standpoint, it delivered everything that you’d want out of a murder basement. It was dark, grim, gritty, intimidating, and bloody.

As with all of St. Louis Escape’s sets, it was thoroughly designed from floor to ceiling.

In-game: A meat-grinder oozing large amounts of ground, bloody flesh.

Gameplay

St. Louis Escape’s Cellar Escape was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty and a split-team beginning.

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

In-game: A red we need a clue sign sitting beside a laminated and spiral-bound book labeled "CELLAR ESCAPE." All surrounded by a beautiful set.

Analysis

Cellar Escape looked murder basement-y. It was dark and foreboding, but also detailed and thoughtfully designed.

➕ The split beginning worked well to encourage teamwork early on and didn’t overstay its welcome.

➕ We especially enjoyed the puzzles that felt authentic to the scenario. The escape room was at its best when we were deriving solutions that seemed plausible for escaping a killer’s lair.

In-game: A dead man sitting at a desk.

Cellar Escape relied heavily on a runbook. This was frustrating to use and detracted from our experience in the gamespace. Furthermore, it seemed to not be quite up to date with the current gameplay of the escape room. We encountered runbook ghost puzzles.

➕ St. Louis Escape seems to have a penchant for breaker boxes in their escape room design; it worked well in this room.

➖ Some of the tech in Cellar Escape had especially tight tolerances. If our hands were just slightly off they wouldn’t trigger, even though we’d correctly solved the puzzle. This put gameplay on ice for a little longer than it should have.

➖ Unclued trick locks are problematic in escape rooms. If you don’t know how to solve them, you will burn far too much of your game clock trying. If you basically know how to open all of the common trick locks on the market like David does… then they’re kind of boring. Either way, they’re suboptimal.

In-game: The cobweb covered ceiling of the Cellar Escape.

➕ Cellar Escape ground to a good jump-scare.

➖ Cellar Escape could fit a lot of people. St. Louis Escape will sell up to 12 tickets to it. The gameplay, however, had choke points. If you play with a large team, there would be a lot of down time for individual players.

Cellar Escape was a search-heavy escape room. In some instances, this worked well with the theme. In other instances, we found this tedious. Your mileage will vary.

Tips For Visiting

  • You can park for free on the street directly in front of the building or on the side of the building.
  • There are stairs up to the escape room lobby and the escape rooms.
  • Beware that St. Louis Escape has a habit for putting 4-digit solutions into 5-digit locks.

Book your hour with St. Louis Escape’s Cellar Escape, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: St. Louis Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape STL – Investigation of a Miss Treedeath [Review]

I can feel it coming in the mail tonight.

Location:  St. Louis, MO

Date Played: March 22, 2019

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $23.95 per player

Ticketing: Public

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Our group had a really good time in Investigation of a Miss Treedeath. We laughed. We puzzled. We made fun of our friend who did something really silly and broke the game requiring intervention from the gamemaster… and since then we’ve been spamming him with ridiculous postcards because we’re great friends and jerks in equal amounts.

In-game: The door to the room opening revealing a hallway for an apartment building.

Our antics aside, Escape STL produced a really good traditional escape room that came with a humorous twist. It didn’t look all that impressive from the photos because it was staged in an accurate yet mundane manner… which was emblematic of Investigation of a Miss Treedeath’s biggest issue: It needed to steer into its wackiness.

This could be a fantastic and memorable game if Escape STL leaned into the funnier side of the story that they produced. This game could… and probably should… be dark comedy with puzzles from beginning to end.

From a puzzle and game design standpoint, this was one of the stronger escape rooms that we played during our trip to St Louis. If that’s the kind of escape room play that you’re seeking, then give this one a shot.

Who is this for?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Tongue-in-cheek design
  • Solid puzzles
  • A humorous story

Story

We were rogue detectives investigating Miss Amanda Treedeath under suspicion of murder. We had to break into her apartment and see if we could dredge up some evidence of her suspected crimes.

In-game: an apartment building mailbox.

Setting

Investigation of a Miss Treedeath was an apartment escape game. We began in the apartment building’s hallway and then progressed into a rather convincing apartment dwelling.

It wasn’t an exciting environment by any stretch of the imagination, but it felt like what it was striving to be.

In-game: The hallway for an apartment building.

Gameplay

Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around searching and puzzling.

In-game: an advertisement offering a reward for a lost puppy.

Analysis

➕ Investigation of a Miss Treedeath put a humorous spin on a traditional escape room setup. Escape STL teed up the experience well with the tone in the lobby and the in-character gamemaster.

➕ By solving the puzzles, we developed a deeper sense of the character in whose apartment we spent our 60 minutes. This added depth to the game.

➕ The gameplay worked well. The puzzles solved cleanly.

➕/➖ Escape STL’s staging made the set feel especially… apartment-y. It was a convincing set, but there was nothing special, exciting, or enticing about having an adventure in… an apartment.

➕/➖ We enjoyed the playful tone of Investigation of a Miss Treedeath. Escape STL could lean into this more, especially in the staging, to up the intrigue of the apartment staging.

➖ There was opportunity for Escape STL to surprise players more dramatically than they did.

➕/➖ Escape STL gave each team a score. After we escaped within the allotted 60 minutes, they asked us investigative questions to determine our score. While we liked the tiered goals, we would have preferred the investigation questions be incorporated into the gameplay. Reporting our answers back made these solves feel tacked onto the experience.

Tips For Visiting

  • There is a parking lot.

Book your hour with Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Disclosure: Escape STL provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath [Guest Reaction]

A guest post by Nick Moran, formerly of Time Run in London, England.

It’s March. I’m in St. Louis, ostensibly for a conference. (It’s Transworld’s Halloween and Attraction’s Show – have you been? If not, you should. It’s crazy. If you like skeletons and pumpkins, then Transworld is your bag: your giant, several hundred thousand square-foot bag).

In-game: an advertisement offering a reward for a lost puppy.

But, in actuality, I’m just a passenger on the Lisa and David train, which is pulling into countless escape game stops on a whistle stop tour of the area. It’s fun. It’s as if they know how to organize… trips… *cough* Have you booked your place in their New Orleans escape room tour?

The purple, gold, and blue Escape Immerse Explore New Orleans Logo

After a frantic few hours of playing, we pulled into Escape STL. They’re a little ways out from St. Louis, in a place called Maplewood. The area seems nice, from my limited exposure to it. They’re located near a Bottleworks and, according to Google Maps, something called the Salt Room, which I guess is pretty good news for condiment fans worldwide.

Right, the venue: the lobby is nice and clean, a plush basement in an office complex. We were early so loitered outside the entrance, peering into the office of the company opposite: a business that looked almost disturbingly and performatively normal. Seriously, take a look if you go. It’s weird. Soon, our snooping ended; we were seated around a long table, signing the usual forms and waiting, our anticipation growing.

In-game: The door to the room opening revealing a hallway for an apartment building.

On the wall there was a sign detailing how Escape STL’s games worked: a five-variable scoring system, which spits out a single figure as the team’s score. A clever idea. Our paperwork completed, a young lad in a great hat began our briefing, in character, of course.

We were investigating the apartment of a suspicious woman with an even more suspicious name: a Miss Treedeath. Murder was afoot. Perhaps even likely. Our objectives were manifold: primary, secondary, and tertiary. I respected the lad, the hat, and the objective structure. It made sense. We were primed.

Now, the name. It’s obviously a pun. You got that; I got that, but there’s a lot in what a name does. A name can set the tone of your experience and can give a hint of how you will and should play. (Did you know Lisa likes names?) And what does a name like a Miss Treedeath say to you? Well, to us it said… cheeky. Not frivolous and not stupid, but definitely mischievous.  And let’s be honest, after an afternoon of hectic stops around the St. Louis area, we were already in high spirits and the flamboyant intro had readied us further. We were prepared to play.

Games, at their best, are sandboxes that give space for players to be the most playful versions of themselves. On this particular metric, Investigation of a Miss Treedeath is an unqualified success. As we moved through the noir-tinged mystery, every little detail heightened our mood. The walls were littered with pictures of dead trees. The victims of the perpetrator were executed for imperceptible comic slights. The game had its tongue so firmly in its cheek that it was practically pushing bone.

In-game: an apartment building mailbox.

By the middle of our game we were on the verge of some sort of hysterical breakdown. When one of our teammates posted some postcards in a fit of pique, I thought I would explode. It was clearly a massive error, but still, the game laughed with us, not at us, despite our manifold failings.

By the time we won, Investigation of a Miss Treedeath was already a treasured escape room memory. It was a game that leaned in, hard, that was determined to ensure that players came out grinning. Certainly, it was the highlight of my trip to St. Louis and gets my firm stamp of approval.

Is Investigation of a Miss Treedeath the best game in world history? No.

Is it a really lively experience, one that gets all the fundamentals right and so much more? Definitely. If you’re in the area, check it out. I would. I mean, I did.

Book your hour with Escape STL’s Investigation of a Miss Treedeath, and tell them that Nick Moran sent you, on behalf of Room Escape Artist.