Quandary – Son of the Zodiac [Review]

Quandary owes us $100,000. We’ll wait for it.

Location: Wallingford, Connecticut

Date played: July 8, 2017

Team size: 4-8; we recommend 4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket on weekdays, $27 per ticket on weekends

Story & setting

In the late 60s and early 70s, “The Zodiac Killer” terrorized the San Francisco Bay area murdering somewhere between 5 and 28 people. He celebrated his slayings by sending 4 enciphered messages to authorities. He was never identified or caught and only 1 of the cryptograms has been solved.

Decades later in Connecticut, a Zodiac Killer copycat had started taking lives and a $100,000 reward had been offered for information leading to his capture. As a group of college students taking an investigative journalism class at a local university, we’d decided to look into the killings… and we’d tracked a suspect back to his home. What could possibly go wrong?

In-game: A creepy apartment living space with green walls. A sofa, and television sit in the background. A set kitchen table in the foreground.

The “serial killer” escape room genre generally comes in three flavors:

  • Horror murder house
  • Children’s haunted house of party store props
  • Creepy house of slightly intimidating death iconography

Son of the Zodiac firmly fell in the third category. The set was essentially the killer’s creepy living room puzzle confessional. It more than adequately staged Quandary’s puzzles, but didn’t contribute any dramatic flair.

Puzzles

Son of the Zodiac shined in the puzzle department. A few of the puzzles were pretty damn brilliant. Quandary did a good job of embedding their puzzles into the set and providing challenges with more than one layer of complexity.

Standouts

Quandary’s story was detailed and established the set, as well as our reason for being there. Through a smart game design element, they managed to keep the narrative alive throughout the entire game right up to the conclusion. This is a rare feat in an escape room.

When we asked each teammate their favorite part of the Son of the Zodiac, damn near every puzzle was listed individually by at least one person. The puzzling was varied, complex, fair, and satisfying.

Shortcomings

Two big puzzles were set up for parallel solving, but were mounted to the set in a way that resulted in a lot of crosstalk. The two groups that had split to tackle these challenges ended up tripping over each other both verbally and physically. This added tension to the escape room… but not the desirable kind.

The set didn’t look great. It was clearly put together with love and care, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

Should I play Quandary’s Son of the Zodiac?

Son of the Zodiac’s creepy-not-scary, horror-lite gameplay was fairly clearly stated on their website: “While the theme of this room is menacing, there are no “scares”: no one jumps out at you, no strobe lights, no loud noise.” They also made it clear that Son of the Zodiac would be more challenging than your average room.

This was not a room escape for people who get really into the scary, set-driven aspects of some serial killer games. It wasn’t frightening and in its climactic moments it only flirted with intensity.

While not an overwhelmingly difficult escape room, I’d recommend having played a room or two before taking on Son of the Zodiac. It’s not for total newbies, but it’s approachable with a bit of experience. You’ll want to know your way around an escape room before you go in because the puzzles in Son of the Zodiac were killer.

Book your hour with Quandary’s Son of the Zodiac, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Quandary comped our tickets for this game.

 

Lock Museum of America – Lock Museum Adventure [Review]

They have real treasure chests… and they are so much cooler than in the movies.

Location: Terryville, Connecticut

Date played: July 8, 2017

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $23 per ticket (adults), $15 per ticket (teens)

The museum

Located at the site of the long-closed Eagle Lock Company, Lock Museum of America is a small non-profit museum dedicated to the history of locking devices.

Eagle Lock King Bee padlock.
Each of those little divots on the lock’s face was added by hand. Think about that.

The Lock Museum of America is a no-frills museum with a pretty amazing collection and a knowledgeable staff. They have well over a thousand padlocks, mortise locks, and safes. They have brilliant demonstrations of the inner workings of some of history’s most important lock designs, a gorgeous collection of bank time locks (which have an incredible and dark history), and a pair of over-500-year-old functioning Spanish Armada treasure chests with some of the most amazing closure mechanisms that I’ve ever seen.

The locking mechanism in the lid of a Spanish Armada treasure chest. It is incredibly complex.
That’s the exposed locking mechanism of a treasure chest lid. Seeing it function in real life and knowing that its mechanisms were made by hand was seriously humbling.

My love of locks and lockpicking is well documented; I loved this little museum.

Within the museum they had an escape room style game… Should you play it?

Story & setting

The initial concept of the pin tumbler lock dates back to Egypt circa 4000 BC and the Lock Museum of America’s ancient Egyptian lock had been cursed. We had to break that curse or the bad things that happen when you don’t break an ancient Egyptian curse within an hour would set in.

The set was the second floor of the Lock Museum. They had set up a table in the middle of the main room which held many game components. The escape room included a series of lock boxes, puzzles, and hidden items within the museum displays.

A century old bank time lock. It's beautifully designed with gold and chrome trim.
The precision and detail in these bank time locks is pretty crazy when you realize that almost no one ever saw them.

Puzzles

Part museum scavenger hunt, part puzzle hunt, Lock Museum Adventure was less an escape room and more a puzzle-driven way to explore the Lock Museum. This was not a fancy room escape by any stretch of the imagination. However, it was fair and reasonably challenging.

Standouts

Lock Museum Adventure included some items that no other escape room in the world could even dream of incorporating. Lock Museum Adventure was at its best when it physically involved items that were part of the museum itself. This came in two different forms:

  • Incorporating locking devices that were part of the museum
  • Creating puzzles from the existing museum displays

The Lock Museum did a good job calling out what was and was not part of the escape room, which was important because there was a lot to look at.

A complex warded key within a cutaway lock. It shows the key passing through the wards.
This is an old warded key set within a warded lock. All of that was handmade.

The setting within the Lock Museum was a ton of fun. I found myself shifting between room escape player and museum observer. The escape room was a great way to help visitors take in the many magnificent items on display.

Shortcomings

While Egypt was significant in lock history, it wasn’t really the point of this Lock Museum. The “curse” story felt forced and disconnected from the space we were actually occupying. I would have loved a story that felt more connected to what we were seeing… or even no story at all. The Lock Museum was nifty on its own.

Most of the lockboxes that made up the core of the room escape were sealed with junky, uninspiring modern locks. It would have been more fun if these had been secured with less valuable older locks or even unusual modern ones.

Lock Museum Adventure gang locked boxes shut with a Master Lock Lockout Hasp. Gang locking kills any sense of forward momentum because solutions don’t reward players with new information.

I left the room escape wishing that more of the history and the space within the Lock Museum had been integrated into Lock Museum Adventure. This escape room could be an incredible way to learn experientially within an unusual museum. It does a little of this, but there is potential for so much more.

Should I play Lock Museum of America’s Lock Museum Adventure?

There are two pieces to parse here: Lock Museum of America and the museum’s escape room, Lock Museum Adventure.

If you’re even remotely intrigued by the design and history of locking mechanisms, Lock Museum of America is pretty damn cool. It isn’t fancy, but they display amazing things. I’ve been to museums that have more photos than genuine artifacts, where an hour or two on Wikipedia is more fulfilling… This isn’t one of those museums. The displays are tangible and the staff knows their stuff. I know this because I geeked out with them and asked all sorts of esoteric questions that probably bored my patient teammates to death.

I thought Lock Museum Adventure was a fun way to interact with the exhibits. It felt more like a scavenger hunt mixed with a light puzzle hunt, but it all worked. It could, however, do more to shine a light on what makes this museum special. I hope that it gets there because it has so much potential.

Between exploring the museum and playing the escape room, we spent about 2 hours in total at the Lock Museum of America and it was well worth the visit. It’s a convenient stop between New York and Boston. We learned a lot, saw some interesting and unusual things, and puzzled. If this sounds like a good time then I recommend a visit. I plan to return.

Book your hour with Lock Museum of America’s Lock Museum Adventure, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Lock Museum of America comped our tickets for this game.

(If you purchase via our Amazon links, you will help support Room Escape Artist as we will receive a very small percentage of the sale.)

Pursue the Clues – Lenny Thompkins sold his soul to play the blues [Review]

Poor Lenny Thompkins sold his soul in a decade where few care about the blues.

Location: Torrington, Connecticut

Date played: July 9, 2017

Team size: 4-6; we recommend 2-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Story & setting

Mediocre guitarist Lenny Thompkins went down to the crossroads and sold his soul for talent. With his contract nearly up, we had to find and dispel it to save his life.

Lenny Thompkins sold his soul to play the blues was loosely based on the old legend from the Mississippi Delta of Robert Johnson, one of the fathers of the blues. Johnson recorded one staggering record and then died at the age of 27. His work became legendary and inspired the later icons such as Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Fleetwood Mac. Johnson immortalized his own legend in the song Cross Roads Blues:

Which was later reimagined by Cream / Clapton as the blues rock classic Crossroads:

Yes… I’m a little bit passionate about the blues. Thank you for asking. 

The set of Lenny Thompkins had an old music room feel about it. Lined with guitars, keyboards, metronomes, and instrument cases, it had that rugged “a broke musician who spends everything he has on gear” feel. It wasn’t a particularly beautiful set, but it felt reasonably authentic.

Puzzles

Lenny Thompkins was built around music puzzles, but composed in a way that didn’t require a musical background. It also had a mixture of more common escape room puzzles, most of which were a fair bit more challenging than in your average escape room.

Standouts

Lenny Thompkins had a great intro video.

Music puzzles are very tough to create. Frequently, they either don’t provide enough information for folks who have no music background or they give so much away that the puzzles lose their souls. Pursue the Clues nailed their music puzzles, which really mattered in an escape room themed around music.

In-game: A guitar in the foreground in a crappy old apartment. Another guitar rests in the background.

The musical prop selection in Lenny Thompkins was on point.

I loved the theme and story. Can you tell that I loved the theme and story?

Shortcomings

The interactions that were built around search and discovery were underwhelming.

While the musical prop selection was great, there was a lot of room for improvement in terms of set design.

The story’s setup was fantastic and the conclusion certainly escalated, but the ending didn’t work. It felt jarring and unsatisfying. This was one of the rare escape rooms where our entire team (not just the blues lover) wanted more story and better gameplay integration.

Should I play Pursue the Clues’ Lenny Thompkins sold his soul to play the blues?

Lenny Thompkins sold his soul to play the blues was a challenging room escape, especially by 2017 standards. Whereas most escape rooms have gotten easier, this one was a bit of a demon. It was absolutely winnable, but newbies might have to sell their soul to complete it.

I highly recommend Lenny Thompkins for players who have won at least a few games, are in the region, and are looking for a challenging and creative escape room with a fun setup. It was a little gritty and far from flawless… but it left an impression.

Book your hour with Pursue the Clues’ Lenny Thompkins sold his soul to play the blues, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Pursue the Clues provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Team vs Time – Cure of the Alchemist [Review]

Turning puzzles into a cure.

Location: Berlin, Connecticut

Date played: July 8, 2017

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Infected with the Black Death and seeking a cure, we approached the home of a mysterious alchemist. The rumor was that he had the ability to cure the disease, but he would only share this knowledge with those who could prove their wits and worth.

Staged in an ancient cabin in the woods, the set was compelling. It started off strong and the aesthetics only improved with each progression in the escape room.

In game - A strange wooden contraption beside a bench made of vines.

Puzzles

Cure of the Alchemist contained tangible puzzles that generally required manipulation of the set pieces and props.

The puzzles escalated in difficulty and complexity over the course of the room escape culminating in a serious deductive challenge.

Unlike Team vs Time’s other escape rooms, they offer no hints in Cure of the Alchemist. We had to prove ourselves to the alchemist or die trying.

Standouts

When we walked into Cure of the Alchemist, we felt like we were in a different world from the lobby at Team vs Time. The set was captivating.

In game - a series of vines in the foreground, the moon shines in the background.

Many of the puzzles felt on theme, as if they belonged in that environment.

We enjoyed a variety of puzzles, both simple and complex. We experienced quite a few fun moments of satisfying realization.

Shortcomings

At one point, Cure of the Alchemist bottlenecked both in gameplay and physical layout. This stoppage of play was frustrating for the players who were boxed out.

Cure of the Alchemist was set up as a medieval escape room and the set supported that feeling… except that some of the locks were decidedly modern. The addition of a few older-looking lever locks would have eliminated some of the anachronisms.

Team vs Time set up a rather complex backstory, but it was ultimately irrelevant to the gameplay. Throughout our quest for the cure, we never felt the dramatic stakes of our mission. The completion of our quest was anticlimactic.

Should I play Team vs Time’s Cure of the Alchemist?

Cure of the Alchemist was a puzzle-driven escape room in an impressive medieval staging. The puzzles relied on the set pieces and the set was augmented by the puzzle components.

While not as suspenseful or dramatic Gangster’s GambleCure of the Alchemist delivered more cohesive puzzle and set integration.

While Cure of the Alchemist was not as challenging as some of Team vs Time’s other escape rooms, we do not recommend it for brand-new players. Since players are proving themselves to the alchemist, Team vs Time does not give any hints. To that end, we recommend that you play at least a few other escape rooms before attempting this one. You should also probably play Team vs Time’s other games to get a feel for their unique style of gameplay prior to taking on the alchemist’s challenge.

Book your hour with Team vs Time’s Cure of the Alchemist, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Team vs Time provided media discounted tickets for this game.

 

Wicked Escapes – The Hole [Review]

No light is better than low light. Who knew?

Location: Saugus, MA

Date played: April 9, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 30 minutes

Price: $20 per ticket

Story & setting

Captured by a madman and locked away in complete darkness, we had 30 minutes to escape his trap.

In-game: A completely black image with nothing visible.
Actual game photo.

The “you’re playing this game in the dark” pitch wasn’t an exaggeration. It was pitch black. The only illumination that we could see was an ever-so-faint emergency exit sign above the door and the LEDs around the gamemaster’s camera.

The Hole was entirely designed around playing in darkness. The puzzles were solvable via touch only. While there were zero jump scares, there were a few things that felt a bit icky.

Although the room escape was a little unnerving, it was exceptionally safe. There were no tripping hazards; it had ample padding along the floors and walls.

Puzzles

The Hole was an adventure through the darkness, not a puzzle game.

While there was plenty to keep our team busy, there was only one interaction that I would call a puzzle.

Standouts

The Hole was a wholly different escape room. It forced us to explore, communicate, and interact in new ways.

It was fair and it was safe.

Opening locks in the dark was strangely satisfying.

Shortcomings

There was only one true puzzle in The Hole. I wished there’d been even one more.

One early challenge greatly overstayed its welcome.

Elements of this exploration were a little more icky than they needed to be. Note that it wasn’t scary or dirty, just a bit gross.

Should I play Wicked Escapes’ The Hole?

If you’re interested in a different sort of challenge, I highly recommend The Hole.

Bring the right team. Everyone needs to be calm and communicative in darkness. You should also be comfortable with each other because you will touch, bump, and awkwardly interact.

If you’re looking to solve intricate puzzles, The Hole won’t be for you.

If you’d rather embark on a story-driven adventure, this room escape won’t be for you. The story is just a setup for the dark escape.

And, of course, if you want to gaze upon a beautiful set, this won’t be your game; there is literally nothing to see.

Beginners can absolutely attempt The Hole, but I’d recommend that they play at least one other game first, just to get a handle on how escape rooms work.

Experienced players should dive in, so long as they aren’t repelled by the darkness, ick-factor, or minimal focus on puzzling.

The Hole takes room escapes somewhere else. It’s a different type of challenge. The puzzle is in exploring, navigating, communicating, and putting all of that together. We really enjoyed it.

Book your half-hour with Wicked Escapes’ The Hole, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Wicked Escapes comped our tickets for this game.

Wicked Escapes – The Great Museum Heist Caper Job [Review]

The Great Heist Caper at the Marginal Museum.

Location: Saugus, MA

Date played: April 9, 2017

Team size: up to 12; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

Our first night as rent-a-cops guarding the Kuddelmuddel Museum of Marginal Curiosities got off to a rough start: a cat burglar made an attempt to steal the Museum’s most prized artifact, The Sultan’s Lock. After removing it from its display, he stashed it elsewhere in the museum, triggering a security lockdown. We had an hour to find the lock and return it to its display before the crime was pinned on us.

If it’s not clear from the description, The Great Museum Heist Caper Job was a funny room escape. Set within a modest museum, the game looked and felt the part.

In-game: An engraved human skull rests in front of a stone wall with symbols carved into it

Puzzles

The puzzling centered on the various exhibit displays; they looked great. They were large and they felt it. Everything was tangible and responsive.

Wicked Escapes used technology thoughtfully throughout the puzzling and did a great job of breathing life (and humor) into the various interactions.

Standouts

The Great Museum Heist Caper Job was full of hands-on interactions. We picked things up and moved them around. These items had heft, size, and polish.

The puzzles were responsive. With every correct solution, the set revealed new objects or information. This design built forward momentum.

The setup was humorous. Everything from the premise to the exhibit names to the display descriptions made us laugh, if we read closely enough.

Shortcomings

While the reading was entertaining, at times a substantial block of text would halt the flow of gameplay.

The initial set was not particularly impressive or interactive. Fortunately it quickly opened up. The starting area felt like underused space.

Should I play Wicked Escapes’ The Great Museum Heist Caper Job?

The Great Museum Heist Caper nailed so much of what makes for an excellent escape room. The puzzles were big, built into the set, and had gravity. Moreover, accomplishing things felt like an accomplishment.

The Great Museum Heist Caper is a fun and worthy room escape for newer and experienced players alike.

If you play escape rooms because they bring you to new places and give you puzzling you can’t recreate at home, you will enjoy The Great Museum Heist Caper.

Book your hour with Wicked Escapes’ The Great Museum Heist Caper Job, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Wicked Escapes comped our tickets for this game.

Team vs Time – Save the Queen [Review]

God speed.

Location: Berlin, CT

Date played: April 8, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

In 14th century England, we discovered a plot to unseat our beloved Queen. We infiltrated the castle to uncover information and thwart the overthrow.

Team vs Time constructed a space that brought us back in time. From the woodwork to the real church stained glass windows installed in this castle, their attention to detail brought the set to life.

In-game: A beautiful chapel set with incredible stained glass windows.

Puzzles

While the initial puzzles weren’t particularly interesting, as the game progressed, the puzzles became increasingly dynamic.

For most of Save the Queen, we worked through large tangible puzzles that interacted with built-in set pieces.

Standouts

Team vs Time constructed a castle into their run-of-the-mill building. The walls, windows, furniture, and smaller details brought the space to life.

In-game: A closeup of a wooden statue of a king backlit by beautiful orange stained glass windows.

Many of the puzzles made use of the castle decor. We manipulated “ancient” tools and investigated substantial props and set pieces.

A tiny gamemastering detail added a great dramatic moment to Save the Queen.

With Save the Queen, Team vs Time constructed an interactive, engaging, logical, and fun puzzle game.

Shortcomings

The narrative of Save the Queen didn’t carry our experience. In the end, we searched for specific information, as instructed by the game, but without any story-driven understanding of why.

In one late-game puzzle, the input mechanism seemed out of place. Given the historical setting, any modern interaction broke the fiction created by the set design. All tech should to be well hidden and seemingly magical.

Occasional double cluing proved more confusing than helpful.

One set puzzle was completely useless and threw us off track.

While the set looked great, it (and by it, I mean we) suffered from a significant splinter problem. We both picked up wood splinters from the game, and other players whom we have spoken with have as well.

Should I play Team vs Time’s Save the Queen?

Team vs Time creates impressive escape room sets. Save the Queen is no exception. We enjoyed our hour in a 14th century castle.

With Save the Queen, Team vs Time has improved their puzzle chops, designing interactive, challenging, and interesting puzzles into the set pieces. There is room for refinement, but the underlying structure and construction is solid.

As much as we loved puzzling through the castle, we didn’t feel like the hero and heroine of a narrative-driven adventure in the same way as we did in Gangster’s Gamble.

Save the Queen would be an exciting escape room at any level. Newer players will find it challenging, but not unmanageable. More seasoned players will be able to appreciate the experience that much more. If you’re traveling through Connecticut, this one is a must visit.

Book your hour with Team vs Time’s Save the Queen, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Team vs Time provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Puzzle Theory – The Missing Doctor [Review]

I see you’ve constructed a new lightsaber.

Location: South Windsor, CT

Date played: December 12, 2016

Team size: 3-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

We were in the office of mad scientist Dr. X solving the mystery of his disappearance.

The Missing Doctor was composed of standard office furniture with a hint of laboratory. It wasn’t a particularly interesting space, but it was appropriately decorated, with just a bit of character, and inviting enough.

In game: A large wood desk with a light, and rotary phone.

Puzzles

The puzzles were the essence of The Missing Doctor. The room escape included extensive searching, as well as a large assortment of paper-based and fully interactive puzzling.

While the puzzles didn’t convey narrative, they were fun.

Standouts

We appreciated the humorous introductory and post-game videos.

Puzzle Theory thoughtfully designed the puzzle and game flow such that key late game puzzles couldn’t be easily bypassed or brute-forced.

The Missing Doctor surprised us with one particular simple, tech-driven interaction.

Shortcomings

Much as we loved the tech behind this particular puzzle, we recommend that Puzzle Theory subtly refine its implementation to avoid a potential safety risk.

Just a few too many interesting items proved unimportant. It can be disappointing when the best decor is nothing but a red herring.

The Missing Doctor fell into older escape room tropes such as too many locks of the same digital structure and broad searching.

Should I play Puzzle Theory’s The Missing Doctor?

The Missing Doctor was a well-designed introductory game. It relied heavily on common escape room tactics, but added a little bit of pizzazz.

The meat of the game was in the puzzles. There was just enough scenery and story to hold those together, but the gameplay carried this room escape.

If you are just starting to explore room escapes, this would be a good on-ramp with challenging puzzles. For more experienced players who prefer puzzling over set and story, give this one a go.

Book your hour with Puzzle Theory’s The Missing Doctor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Puzzle Theory provided media discounted tickets for this game.

North Shore Escape – Mystery at the Art Gallery [Review]

An art gallery with original pieces.

Location: Woburn, MA

Date played: December 10, 2016

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 5-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $27 per ticket

Story & setting

After the disappearance of the art dealer, we entered his gallery to determine what secrets might be hidden within.

The walls of Mystery at the Art Gallery were decorated largely with original artwork created by the game designer. While there were many pieces to take in, the large uncluttered space remained true to the gallery aesthetic.

In-game: a pair of gargoyles, a wall of paintings in the back.

Puzzles

Mystery at the Art Gallery included puzzles that solved quickly and those that unfolded over the course of the experience. While some puzzle threads moved forward, there was always something else to unravel that would be important later on.

The puzzles were varied, entertaining, and of mixed difficulty.

Standouts

The artwork in this game, truly part of the experience, set the tone and feel of the game. The deliberate choices – whether original creations or purchased pieces – made this gallery that much more interesting to explore. This wasn’t another art gallery game with a print of the Mona Lisa next to a dozen others from European art history’s greatest hits.

North Shore Escape created a particular ambiance for this room escape. As the mystery unfolded, they dialed up the intensity without abandoning the original feel of the game. Everything felt like it was part of a larger whole.

Shortcomings

As an individual player, it was possible to puzzle out of Mystery at the Art Gallery while ignoring much of the mystery. While some of the interactions furthered the story, others were simply puzzles in a gallery setting. With smaller or more cohesive teams, it’s likely that everyone will participate in the story experience. However, in our larger group, different players came away with more or less of an understanding of the overarching narrative.

While the art set the tone for the game, the quality of set design was a little more shaky. It did, however, improve over the course of the game.

Most of the puzzling was well thought out, but one in particular jumped out as halfheartedly implemented.

Should I play North Shore Escape’s Mystery at the Art Gallery?

Mystery at the Art Gallery would be a solid introductory game with just a little added flair. The puzzles were standard in style, but also varied and approachable. The art, ambiance, and mystery give the space some intrigue.

Experienced teams will find a fun, yet standard game that is worth the price of admission. We recommend that you bring fewer people, slow down, and cooperate, so as not to skip over the story as it unfolds.

Book your hour with North Shore Escape’s Mystery at the Art Gallery, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: North Shore Escape comped our tickets for this game.

 

Puzzled Escape Games – Escape From Escobar’s [Review]

I appreciate a drug lord who keeps his private jail clean.

Location: Easthampton, MA

Date played: December 12, 2016

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket

Story & setting

After a series of poor decisions we found ourselves locked up in the basement of a drug lord.

In-game: shot through jail cell bars, the walls are stone and there are a number of barrels against the wall.

Part jail, part warehouse, the set looked fairly compelling. Puzzled Escape Games was located in an old New England mill, so the sets bones were strong and looked great. Their custom construction was solid. It wasn’t the most immersive jail set, but it was more than enough to convey the story.

Escape From Escobar’s story slowly kicked in as the game progressed. The story actually became critical to the gameplay even if it was a bit circuitous.

Puzzles

The puzzles in Escape From Escobar’s were physically interactive and frequently integrated into the set. There was plenty to do and everyone was engaged.

There were a few paper-based puzzles, but they didn’t dominate the game.

Many of the puzzles effectively enforced teamwork and cooperation.

Standouts

It was great having larger challenges that could engage everyone.

There were plenty of puzzles for everyone to stay involved and have their own individual moments.

Escape From Escobar’s set was packed with surprises. There was one incredible moment that completely shocked our whole team. I wish that my face had been caught on camera during it.

Puzzled Escape Games integrated player decision and added consequence to that choice.

Shortcomings

One of the puzzles was pretty dubious and required far too much outside knowledge to complete.

Escape From Escobar’s set generally looked great, but we could feel the build quality dip each time we pushed further into the game.

The final puzzle was a little convoluted because of the difficult-to-follow story.

Should I play Puzzled Escape Games’ Escape From Escobar’s?

If you’re nearby, you really should. There aren’t many escape room companies in the area and Escape From Escobar’s would be a strong game in a far more competitive market.

The set was strong, the puzzles were fun, and there were at least a few memorable moments that will stick with us for a long time.

Escape From Escobar’s was plenty satisfying.

Book your hour with Puzzled Escape Games’ Escape From Escobar’s, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Puzzled Escape Games comped our tickets for this game.