PuzzlEscape Hudson – Something Wicked! [Review]

Something Wicked! is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

A Bewitching Refuge

Location: Hudson, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28-38 per player, depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Some motion/ shaking is included; please advise your gamemaster if this is a concern.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

PuzzlEscape Hudson’s Something Wicked! never ceased to surprise, embedding a number of fascinating discoveries as we uncovered that things weren’t always as they seemed deep in the woods. The props, the setting, and the entire production underlined these eye-opening elements, leading us through an adventure designed to keep us wondering what we would uncover next as the cauldron bubbled.

This experience was perfect for 4 people in a solid game flow experience that flew by as we uncovered the magical mysteries of an enchanting cabin. Of particular note was the ending, which built off of a multi-layered finale to ramp up in excitement and leave us speechless with the unexpected conclusion.

Closeup of a mailbox that looks like a bird house.

The only time that the suspense waned was in a particularly search-heavy portion of the experience, pairing ambiguous search targets with low lighting that resulted in multiple fails that swiftly brought down the enthusiasm of our group.

With accessible game design, PuzzlEscape Hudson’s approach would satisfy escape room newbies and more experienced players alike in this fast-paced adventure that left us spellbound.

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The Gate Escape – The Assistant 2.0 [Review]

The Assistant 2.0 is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

A second wormhole, a new experience

Location: Leominster, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: Up to 6 players; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

A quick trip through all of time and space awaits players that tackle The Gate Escape’s The Assistant 2.0. In short, this escape room assembles a puzzling playground for those individuals willing to hop into a celestial adventure. Although experienced players will have a leg up in recognizing patterns in these puzzles, the smooth puzzle flow makes The Assistant 2.0 approachable for new players. If you’re new to escape rooms, start here before you tackle Gate Escape’s 90-minute The Observatory. If you’re traveling to the area to play rooms, plan on playing both this room and The Observatory.

The game simply and unapologetically challenges players by laying out puzzles in a straight-forward, non-search-centered manner. Upon entering the space, there are many immediate opportunities for players to dive in and engage in the wormhole world, both with the assistance of others and on solo ventures. Perhaps the most impressive and inherently satisfying aspect of the entire experience is the way that these solves layer together and build towards completion with the intelligent reuse of items found throughout the space.

A strange wall lit in blue and covered in colored dots.

The typically smooth gameplay was briefly interrupted mid-game when one puzzle didn’t come together as naturally as those throughout the rest of the experience. This left us with open questions on the potential solve, and when we were able to advance, credited it more to luck than to skill.

Ideal for a group of friends ready to puzzle, The Assistant 2.0 rewards a keen sense of attention to detail, with layered, multifaceted solves combining nicely with simple surprises to eclipse expectations.

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PuzzlEscape Hudson – The Legend of Pepe [Review]

The Legend of Pepe is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

Houdini and Santa and Freddy Krueger, oh my!

Location: Hudson, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28-38 per player, depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

PuzzlEscape recently opened a new location in Hudson, MA. There they opened The Legend of Pepe, a game that pays homage to the 12 games they’d created at their original venue. That said, although this game revolved around prior game narratives, it definitely did not require any knowledge of the previous legends of Pepe La Scuzz, our main villain.

The Legend of Pepe was a puzzler’s dream with a lot of content and fantastic puzzle flow. While not every puzzle was mind-blowing, the game offered a huge variety of puzzle types for every player, and most of the puzzles put a refreshing twist on our assumptions of how they would solve. This made what could have been boring interactions into something unique.

PuzzlEscape designed an interesting way to level the playing field for teams by incorporating a difficulty modifier at the midpoint of the game. Teams choose their difficulty and thus the ending to the story. However, this choice mechanic was under-clued in the gameplay itself.

We love what PuzzlEscape is doing, and cannot wait to see their absolutely insane themes (that we got a glimpse of!) come to life in the future.

Note: this review is for the more difficult path. After we played, our gamemaster gave us a walkthrough of the easier path for review purposes. Players can return for half price to play the path they did not take originally.

Closeup of an old, gold cash register with an infinity symbol, beside it is a computer monitor with the same symbol.
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New Mexico Escape Room – Nefertari’s Tomb [Review]

Nefertari’s Tomb is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Grand Puzzle Tomb

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 14, 2021

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Nefertari’s Tomb was jam-packed with content. Our goal was to raid as much loot from the ancient tomb as we could, and destroy the evidence of our presence before the authorities stopped us. New Mexico Escape Room truly made us work for the loot with a constant stream of puzzle solving, searching, and translating.

The upshot: in terms of gameplay for your money, you won’t find many games with as much to do as Nefertari’s Tomb… and it was all staged in a beautiful Egyptian tomb.

Egyptian tomb interior shows a painting of a woman holding game pieces above a game board.

The potential struggle in Nefertari’s Tomb was the volume of translation, which felt both completely narratively justified… and also excessive. I literally learned to sightread the hieroglyphics in Nefertari’s Tomb and so did two of my teammates. (Not David… that’s not his thing.)

Overall, Nefertari’s Tomb feels unique, big and exciting… and at times it also feels cumbersome. It’s one of the strongest large team games we’ve seen, and it has a style that a lot of players – especially puzzlers – will connect with. If you’re in Albuquerque and looking for a puzzley good time, give this one a try.

Who is this for?

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

Why play?

  • Explosive intro/ outro sequence
  • An unusual game structure that facilitated an impressive volume of puzzle content
  • A nifty Egyptian tomb set

Story

After years of research, Arnold von Dunkelheit had found the location of Nefertari’s Tomb. He had a long list of items that he required from this site, and he’d hired our gang of adventuring tomb robbers to attain them. Our instructions were clear:

  • Enter the tomb
  • Steal as many items as we could
  • Destroy the tomb and all evidence of our presence before the authorities would arrive
Closeup of paintings on the wall of an Egyptian tomb.
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Bust Out Escape Room – Doomsday Bunker [Review]

Doomsday Bunker is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Launch Sequence

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: December 15, 2021

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Doomsday Bunker was one of Bust Out Escape Room’s earlier games… and it has held up quite well.

The strength of Doomsday Bunker was in its set and interaction design; there were a lot of engaging and unusual moments to enjoy. A few of these stuck in my memory in a great way. And often enough, I found myself thinking, “huh… I can’t believe that I’ve never seen anyone do that before. Cool.”

An elevator in a bunker. An envelope is labeled "Top Secret."

As an earlier game, Doomsday Bunker’s gameplay was rooted in more traditional puzzle play. There were a lot of lightly themed puzzles and search challenges scattered throughout this game. Overall, it was a great representation of a classic escape room, and if I had played this when it was brand new, it would have blown my mind. I still got a lot out of it.

If you’re visiting Bust Out, I’d strongly urge you to play Rattlesnake Bend first… and if you’re looking for another game, this is a great one to add to your itinerary.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure 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?

  • An unusual approach to the bunker setting, with cool props and interactions
  • A lot of challenging puzzle content

Story

Our team had been assigned to prevent the start of World War III. We had to infiltrate a bunker, activate a missile, and neutralize the threat.

A closeup of a glowing green light within a metal container.
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