Bust Out Escape Room – Curse of the Mayan Temple [Review]

Curse of the Mayan Temple is one of the best games in Albuquerque. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Albuquerque.

Adventure by torchlight

Location:  Albuquerque, NM

Date Played: June 3, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A] Push To Exit

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Curse of the Mayan Temple shouldn’t be a particularly challenging game. It had less content than Bust Out Escape Room’s other experiences. The puzzles were varied in style and well clued.

That said, two unusual game design decisions make this a rather variable escape room. Either one can sink a team of even experienced players (we’ve seen it happen), causing them to spiral into the depths of frustration.

Our advice for Bust Out: add gating for one early solution so that a team cannot progress to the next unusual section without completing it.

Our advice for players: If the game feels inordinately frustrating, it probably doesn’t need to be. Search harder.

A large human skull surrounded by plants.

We enjoyed Curse of the Mayan Temple because it looked great, played well, and took risks. Although Rattlesnake Bend and Jumanji are our favorite games from this company, if you have time to add on another adventure, we recommend Curse of the Mayan Temple.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Indiana Jones fans
  • Best for players with at least some experience
  • Players who communicate well

Why play?

  • The unexpected mid-game introduction of a new mechanic
  • Momentum-building final sequence

Story

Legend told that the temple had been cursed… but we were determined to uncover the truth of whatever lay within.

A glowing torch hung from the wall.
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Red Fox Escapes – The Body Shop [Review]

Update Nov 10, 2022: If you want to hear more about The Body Shop back us on Patreon at the “Search Win!” level to get access to a Spoiler’s Club Episode about this game. Reality Escape Pod co-hosts David and Peih-Gee talk all about it with the creator, spoilers and all. We cover the strange origins of this game, the bonkers story, and the hilarious details that are hidden with in it.

The Body Shop is one of the best games in Boston. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Boston.

Be prepared… for mayhem

Location:  Cambridge, MA

Date Played: July 10, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $40 per player for teams of 4 to $36 per player for teams of 6-10

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

With Body Shop, Red Fox Escapes took a previously great game (Outside the Box’s The Body Shop), and enhanced it into a truly stellar experience.

The first act aesthetically remained largely the same, but Red Fox Escapes carefully nested it into their own building, minding details and making thoughtful adjustments. With the second act, the changes were more dramatic.

Red Fox changed the storyline and reworked the puzzle flow to support the new, more coherent narrative. We found the new flow – in both story and gameplay – to be a smooth ride. We especially enjoyed when this game leaned into Girl Scouting, but with a twist.

I spent many years as a Girl Scout, earning badges for my sashes, and it was fun to don one again and solve my way through this strange and humorous Girl Scouts parody.

While the game is lightly horror (and I wouldn’t bring any current Girl Scouts of badge-earning age), it was more funny than scary, and “light horror” is more of a nod to prop content and storyline – nothing terror-inducing.

A body shop interior with a motorcycle being worked on.

In its new home at Red Fox Escapes, Body Shop is accessible for Boston locals and visitors. It’s a must-play addition to any Boston escape room list.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Scenery snobs
  • Scouts or former Scouts
  • Fans of light horror
  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • An unusual theme
  • The hilarious rebranded girl scout badges
  • A killer reveal

Story

We had been regular Girl Scouts earning our Automotive Engineering badges at the local auto body shop. We didn’t realize that a shadow Girl Scout troop was running their nefarious operations out of this very shop. Now, they wanted us to join their ranks, and they’d invited us there to prove we were worthy of inclusion in their secret society.

An assortment of Girl Scout sashes.
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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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