Nut House Escape Rooms – The Hacker W.I.T.C.H. [Review]

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Location:  Rochester, New York

Date Played: February 19, 2022

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $32.99 per player

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Nut House Escape Rooms’ The Hacker W.I.T.C.H. was a solidly assembled room that highlighted an array of tech elements within a realistic space. The feedback was consistently on-point, with color effects and satisfying pops to draw your attention to a successful solve.

Server racks producing a laser maze of green beams.

One of the notable draws of this room is for groups that enjoy a robust, non-linear experience. With several paths to work towards, there were a fair amount of challenges for multiple, independent players to puzzle through at any one time.

On a related note, the amount of content available at the beginning made for a rather abrupt start and may be overwhelming for non-experienced teams. Similarly, the prevalence of incredibly similar alphanumeric locks and minimal mapping between puzzles and their associated locks provided for a bustling number of lock attempts throughout the hour.

The Hacker W.I.T.C.H. is one of the strongest escape games in the Rochester, New York region and is worth your time to play if you’re in the area.

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Palace Games – Emerald Palace [Hivemind Review]

Emerald Palace is included in our recommendation guide for  The Best Online Escape Games for Large Groups. For more of the best online escape games in this style, check out the recommendation guide.

Emerald Palace is a point-and-click adventure game created by Palace Games in San Francisco, CA.

An old treasure map with a few markings including an X, compass rose, a mallet, and a carrot. It is labled, "Don't worry, be mappy."

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Point-and-click

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper also recommended

Recommended Team Size: 3-4

Play Time: about 90 minutes

Price: $20 per player for an unlimited number of players, playing in multiple teams with a shared leaderboard; also available in “Standard Team” pricing of a $28 flat team fee for 2-5 players, one team maximum per game.

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The is the latest game in the Jewel Palace series following Palace of Destiny, Ruby Palace, and Sapphire Palace.

You log into a web environment where you navigate through a series of collaborative point-and-click puzzles. Each teammate typically works on one part of a collaborative solve.

If you’re in different households, you should connect with your teammates through Zoom, Discord, or another video conferencing platform. If you’re in the same household, each player will need their own computer.

A photo of an old tunnel with a blue door at the end, a puzzle mounted on it. The image is labeled, "Tunnel Vision."

Puzzle Theory – P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift [Review]

Like a Ghost Rider

Location:  South Windsor, CT

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Most players must duck through an opening repeatedly

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzle Theory’s P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift was a storyline-driven experience that paired well with the immersive, appropriately designed space. 

The same set was utilized for this escape room and another (P.T. Railways: Rebel Run), which allowed for a unique way to look at the same space through a different lens, but removed many of the surprises on the second adventure through the space. There were a fair amount of items marked in red to delineate which props went to which escape room.

If playing these experiences back to back, be especially alert to fastidiously check items in the second room. It was easy to think that we checked something, only to find that we had actually cleared it in the first room instead. That being said, the set was really impressive and this dual-use certainly made for an uncommon team experience.

A large and dramatically lit lock in a metal structure.

Ultimately, this had the potential to be a standout experience if technology and memorization aspects were adjusted to build up momentum rather than detract from it. One puzzle in particular was incredibly time-intensive due to the designed digital experience.

P.T. Railways: Spectral Rift was worth the play-through for the wide variety of puzzle types found in the space and the focus on teamwork. We hope that they make some adjustments to give it an even broader appeal.

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Puzzle Theory – P.T. Railways: Rebel Run [Review]

Bought a ticket for a runaway train

Location:  South Windsor, CT

Date Played: October 1, 2021

Team Size: 4-10; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: Most players must duck through an opening repeatedly

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Puzzle Theory’s P.T. Railways: Rebel Run was an escape room that highlighted physical manipulation puzzles, blended into an immersive, technology-driven set design. These challenges allowed us to work in a non-linear fashion in several different spaces at one time without crowding.

The game area was impressively designed to match the storyline, with the integration of special effects and lighting that complemented the puzzles at hand.

Metal devices and chains, dramatically lit.

Most of the gameplay flowed well, but there was one puzzle towards the beginning of the experience that seemed to continually give feedback that it was reset in the middle of a sequence, surprising all of us when we completed it and were allowed to continue.

P.T. Railways: Rebel Run 
was a solid escape room and certainly worth the trip if you are in the Hartford, Connecticut region.

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Exit the Game – Kidnapped in Fortune City [Hivemind Review]

Kidnapped in Fortune City is a tabletop escape game created by Exit: The Game.

Looking for holiday gifts? Find Kidnapped in Fortune City and other great games in the Room Escape Artist Holiday Gift Guide – 2021.

Exit: Kidnapped in Fortune City box depicts the old west. A sheriff's badge laying on the ground.

Format

Style of Play: tabletop escape game

Who is it For?

  • Puzzle lovers
  • Any experience level

Required Equipment: pen & paper

No scissors were needed, which is unusual for this series.

It is helpful to take notes in this game, as you collect information from the locations and characters.

Recommended Team Size: 1-3

Play Time: 1.5-2 hours

Price: about $15

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

The sheriff of Fortune City disappeared after a gold robbery, and it was our job to search the town, interview witnesses, solve the crime, and find the sheriff. We had more materials to help us than in other Exit: The Game installments: a map of the city, the sheriff’s notebook, clue cards, a set of “strange items,” several location pamphlets to explore one at a time, and a decoder wheel for entering the solutions to puzzles. Because this was a higher difficulty game, the puzzles were not presented linearly, and we had to determine what game pieces to use for each puzzle. As in all Exit: The Game installments, we had to use game pieces in unexpected ways, but there was not as much destruction in this game as in others.

Game contents include a number of old west themed items.
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