Brainstorm Escape Games – Black & White [Review]

Black and white and gray.

Location: Norcross, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Black & White was a neat concept. It didn’t need the extra hype of the storyline, which it didn’t deliver on. There were some good puzzle, but one was nonsensical and essentially broken.

If Brainstorm Escape Games cleaned up the nonsense, and dropped the over-the-top story that didn’t exist beyond the setup, this one could be worth a visit.

In-game: A black & white checker boarded room.

Who is this for?

  • Any experience level

Why play?

  • Some good puzzles
  • The look of the space

Story

We were sucked into an old black and white TV program. If we couldn’t escape before the end of the show, we’d never see color again.

In-game: A chess set with a black bishop and white queen affixed to the board.

Setting

Black & White was a giant checker board. The set and props were boldly painted to conform to this aesthetic. It was a cool aesthetic.

Upon closer inspection, a lot of the props looked like they could benefit from some refinement.

While everything was black and white, nothing else about the set gave us the sense that we were trapped in an old television show.

Gameplay

Brainstorm Escape Games’ Black & White was a standard escape room with a tough onramp that gave way to a generally low-difficulty game.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling.

Analysis

+ When our teammates heard the setup for this game, everyone wanted to play it. We were running ahead of schedule and we just couldn’t say no.

– The opening puzzle was staggeringly obtuse. It was needlessly difficult to get started, due to lack of in-room cluing and abundant ambiguity. This was the kind of puzzle that teaches new players to just guess at things in escape rooms.

– Much of the gameplay came from laminated sheets of paper rather than the interesting environment. This felt like a missed opportunity.

Black & White put a brilliant twist on a time-tested escape room standard puzzle.

– There was a frustrating search mechanic: a small tool, a large space, and no direction.

+ Black & White came round to a satisfying final solve. It tied back to the opening, albeit abstractly, and worked well.

– The mid-century TV story felt bolted on. While the black and white aesthetic was cool, it didn’t feel like a period television set. That plot had no obvious correlation to the puzzles. The plot could have just as easily not existed, and the escape room might have been better for it. We didn’t need to make sense of that wacky black and white world, we simply puzzled in it.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.

Book your hour with Brainstorm Escape Games’ Black & White, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

Brainstorm Escape Games – Area 51 [Review]

We come in pieces.

Location: Norcross, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

Area 51 was a standard escape room. The set wasn’t particularly interesting, but one interaction notwithstanding, the gameplay worked pretty well. Newbies might be in for a surprise.

If you’re a local looking to try out escape rooms, this would be a good place to start.

In-game: a cabinet marked with red danger tape and labeled, "Area 51 Restricted Area."

Who is this for?

  • Sci-fi fans
  • Best for beginners

Why play?

  • A few fun interactions

Story

The government needed more human body parts to create a human-alien hybrid species. We, however, preferred keeping our parts attached to our bodies.

In-game: A close up of the old Westinghouse logo.

Setting

Brainstorm Escape Games created an office-lab hybrid set. It was mostly office with a touch of lab.

Part of the game was supposed to be in low light. We played the whole thing in low light because mistakes were made. (We still set the record.)

Gameplay

Brainstorm Escape Games’ Area 51 was a standard escape room with a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and making connections.

Analysis

Area 51 included a few nifty prop-based interactions. These were fun solves.

– However, many of these didn’t make a ton of sense in either an office or a lab.

– There were also numerous specific “do not touch” signs, especially in one area of the set. It seemed like a great opportunity to simply build something that could be interacted with… or that we couldn’t reach and harm.

– Once prop lacked consistency. Neither the clue structure nor the construction attempted to mitigate this issue. It was incredibly frustrating to use and unpleasant to work through.

+ One we got our bearings, we enjoyed a more challenging layered puzzle.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.

Book your hour with Brainstorm Escape Games’ Area 51, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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

Brainstorm Escape Games – Catacombs [Review]

Circular logic.

Location: Norcross, GA

Date Played: March 23, 2018

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Ticketing: Public

REA Reaction

From the opening moments, Catacombs was unusual. While the overall design and cohesion could have been stronger, this unique approach to escape rooms was exciting.

If you’re in the area, this one is worth seeing. It’s flawed, but interesting.

In-game: A gold candelabra with a skull motif and red candles.

Who is this for?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Any experience level
  • Players who want to see something unusual

Why play?

  • The atypical layout
  • A few interesting puzzles
  • It’s different

Story

Our archeological dig site had crumbled beneath our feet, dropping us into the ancient catacombs below. We’d rather this not be our final resting place.

In-game: a long narrow hallway covered with cotton spider webs.

Setting

The set was an interesting shape. I wouldn’t call it an “escape room,” exactly, more like “escape hallways.” The narrow spaces and high ceilings made it just a little imposing, which was exciting.

Brainstorm Escape Games had outfitted the space with varied decor, a few props, and some locked spaces. None of these items added ambiance or really had anything to do with catacombs. In the end it still felt like were were surrounded by drywall, albeit imposing drywall.

Gameplay

Brainstorm Escape Games’ Catacombs was a standard escape room in an unconventional set and a moderate level of difficulty.

Core gameplay revolved around observing and puzzling. It was pretty linear.

Analysis

+ The overall concept underlying this game was genius.

+ We were energized upon entering this room, simply because of its strange footprint. As we began to explore, were all in the same space, but also in different spaces, which was exciting.

– While we enjoyed the layout of the space, the scenery left something to be desired.

– Although the space was large enough for everyone to explore and observe, the gameplay was largely linear which meant that we frequently bunched up on one another and watched someone else solve a puzzle.

+ One critical layered puzzle was a ray of light in these cavernous depths. It worked well as a team challenge and was a lot of fun to solve.

– Not all of the puzzles had as strong connections. In one instance we suffered a mis-correlation. In another, we nearly overlooked an item that seemed far too tiny and inconsequential. A few tweaks for stronger connections and more cohesion would make this strange space and bit more approachable.

Tips for Visiting

  • Parking: There is parking out front.

Book your hour with Brainstorm Escape Games’ Catacombs, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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