Trap Door – F5 [Review]

Puzzle storm.

Location: Morristown, NJ

Date played: July 31, 2017

Team size: up to 6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per ticket

Story & setting

As a tornado approached, we needed to navigate a corn field and secure ourselves in the barn’s storm cellar to survive.

Trap Door created a ominous atmosphere for F5. An abundance of corn stalks rustled in the dim light and loud wind of the impending storm. We were equipped with only a handheld radio, our strength, and our wits.

In-game: A kid's bicycle with a teddy bear in the basket abandoned beside a gate. An ominous corn field is beyond it.

F5 was part escape room and part obstacle course. A pair of massive fans blew and the projections of a tornado drew closer as we climbed, crawled, and moved heavy objects to navigate the corn maze towards the safety of the barn’s storm cellar.


F5 was both mentally and physically demanding. We determined how items interacted and then we exerted the strength or dexterity necessary to accomplish each feat.

F5 also included some more typical escape room-type puzzles that did not require feats of strength, agility, or dexterity.


We loved the premise of F5. We don’t often escape into shelter and we had never been chased by a killer storm before.

Trap Door constructed a compelling Midwestern landscape into their suburban building. They minded the set details. The lighting, sound, and giant fans added dramatic effects. We could easily imagine the impending tornado barreling toward us, which motivated us to move swiftly.

The hint system was funny and served to further the fiction.

There was an incredibly satisfying Zelda-inspired puzzle. David was a little sad that the Zelda puzzle sound didn’t chime when we solved it… until one of our teammates sang it herself.

The physicality of Trap Door’s puzzle-by-way-of-obstacle course design intensified the experience. These integrated challenges made F5 special.


The final act of F5 abandoned the obstacle course aspect of the game’s design for a more typical escape room-style series of puzzles. In doing so, it shifted away from what made it exciting and the tension cooled before we made it to the finish line.

Toward the end, the puzzles relied on “escape room logic” rather than continuing to work within the environment as the previous puzzles had. The puzzles worked, but they didn’t feel natural within the game.

Should I play Trap Door’s F5?

F5 was unlike any other escape room we’ve visited to date. It was an obstacle course and a puzzle game, dramatically staged, and integrated into one complete adventure. It was more escape room than Boda Borg and more strenuous than… most other escape rooms.

If you like both physical and mental challenges, you will enjoy this.

While you don’t have to be physically fit to succeed in F5, you will need to climb over and crawl through obstacles. Your teammates can assist you, but they can’t do these things for you. I recommend bringing at least one teammate who actively seeks this type of activity.

Do not wear a skirt, heels, or other impractical clothing to F5.

Trap Door has taken necessary safety precautions in designing and constructing F5. It was a safe experience. That said, you could certainly get hurt, especially if, in the excitement of the moment, you aren’t smart about how you move through this adventure.

The gymnast-kid in me loved F5. The decidedly indoor-kid in David loved F5 too. We each tackled it in our own way and left smiling.

Book your hour with Trap Door’s F5, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Trap Door comped our tickets for this game.

Escape Room NJ – The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls [Review]

New Jersey Necronomicon.

Location: Madison, New Jersey

Date played: June 12, 2017

Team size: 4-18; we recommend 5-7

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

After finding refuge in a cabin in the woods, we learned that we needed protecting from our shelter. The only way out was to find the Book of Souls and use it to break an enchantment.

From the walls to the ceiling, Escape Room NJ designed a compelling and spacious cabin. The dim lighting, coupled with the enchantment, made it feel just a little bit haunted (but certainly not scary).

In game: A bull's skull hangs on a wood cabin wall, with a window and rocking chair in the background.


The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls combined traditional locks with tech-driven interactions.

The puzzles wound their way through every set piece and prop in the gamespace.


With The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls, Escape Room NJ vastly improved their set design. They built an intriguing, compelling cabin set, complete with the exterior details, visible in the lobby.

Escape Room NJ embedded a lot of tech in this cabin. The room’s response to our actions contributed to the eerie atmosphere and worked well with the theme.

The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls contained many excellent puzzles with satisfying solutions. There was a lot to explore. Furthermore, the puzzles lent themselves to teamwork.


There were, however, a few far-fetched connections. One puzzle in particular seemed unsolvable without a hint… or in our case, an outside knowledge bypass.

There was a moment in this escape room that deviated completely from the otherwise thematically cohesive experience. If Escape Room NJ wants to use that type of interaction, they should rework how this setting produces it. In this room escape it felt silly.

While Escape Room NJ built an excellent set, it didn’t feel quite to scale. It felt too big for the story and the props within it, which in turn made the otherwise nifty interactions feel small.

Should I play Escape Room NJ’s The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls?

When we entered Escape Room NJ’s newer Madison location (we’d previously visited them in Hackensack), we were immediately impressed with their commitment to the theming. They had designed the outer walls of each escape room, which were visible in the lobby. When we entered The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls, we entered an enchanted forest-cabin puzzle adventure.

The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls was a puzzle-centric room escape in a fun environment.

Note that the environment was a tad eerie, but certainly not scary. In that sense, it’s fit for all audiences, except for little kids who are afraid of the concept of ghosts.

The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls would be a challenging escape room for beginners, but approachable. Experienced players will move faster, but will still find The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls a worthy puzzle opponent.

Book your hour with Escape Room NJ’s The Lost Cabin: Book of Souls, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room NJ provided media discounted tickets for this game.

Northern New Jersey: Room Escape Recommendations

Latest update: August 18, 2017

This list will be updated regularly.

We know that a lot of folks are looking for the “best” escape rooms to play. While we think that best is relative, we also realize that people want firm recommendations.

Here are our recommendations for escape rooms in Northern New Jersey. Since we like nuance, they are broken out into categories.

Image of Bruce Springsteen on stage with a Gibson Les Paul

…Because there is nothing more iconically Jersey than The Boss © Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography

Market standouts

The set & scenery-driven adventures

The puzzle-centric

The tech-heavy

The newbie-friendly

You want to see something special

It’s not technically in NJ, but if you drive just a little farther north, it’s so worth it:

You are always welcome to email us if this recommendation list doesn’t answer your specific questions.


Bane Escape – Captive [Review]

Captured by a serial killer. Again. Why does this keep happening to us?

Location: Livingston, NJ

Date played: April 23, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $30 per ticket

Story & setting

We were locked away by a serial killer and made to play his game in order to survive.

Although Bane is one of New Jersey’s most well-known haunted houses, Captive was not a horror experience. The setting was dark and creepy in that polished way that haunts so often achieve. In spite of Bane’s primary business, however, this escape room did not instill terror.

In-game: Closeup of tally marks scrawled on a concrete wall.


Captive had a large number of challenges to complete. The vast majority of these required us to make connections between props and set pieces rather than puzzle our way through them.


The set looked great. It especially stood out within the New Jersey market, which doesn’t have many escape rooms that are aesthetically impressive.

Bane used the space cleverly.

The puzzling, while not particularly complex, flowed well.


So much of Captive bunched up in one in one segment of the experience. I would have loved it if Bane wove the puzzling and interactions throughout the escape room a little more.

Bane’s website sets up some expectations that they do not meet: ”Welcome to Bane Escape, the largest most immersive Escape Games on the East Coast.” If one were to include the massive square footage of their entire haunt facility, it very well might be the largest business with an escape room. However, I don’t think that Captive is even the largest game in the state of New Jersey. Yes, Bane did a great job of creating a thrilling ambiance, but was it the “most immersive escape game on the East Coast?” I can comfortably dispute that claim as well. These boasts led me into the escape room with false expectations. For me, Captive would have been more enjoyable if I wasn’t expecting something gigantic and over-the-top.

Should I play Bane Escape’s Captive?

Captive is an approachable but difficult room escape for less experienced players looking for a thrill without terror.

Experienced players should go for the atmosphere and set design, but not if you’re  seeking a puzzley game. There was no shortage of things to do, and there were a couple of brilliant moments, but at its core, Captive was about the feeling.

On the drive home, I found myself wishing that Bane had made Captive into a true horror game. I understand the drive for haunts to produce escape rooms with mass market appeal, and Captive was absolutely that… but it left me feeling like it was incomplete and missing the thing that makes Bane special: fear.

Book your hour with Bane Escape’s Captive, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Bane Escape – Maritime Grave [Review]

This may shock you, but the room only has 60 minutes of oxygen.

Location: Livingston, NJ

Date played: April 23, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 5-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: from $30 per ticket

Story & setting

While we were aboard a submarine-turned-military museum, the vessel experienced a systemwide malfunction. If we couldn’t right the systems, we would sink to an ocean grave.

Maritime Grave looked part submarine, part museum. Bane Escape constructed a set that felt like an imaginative naval vessel and used the museum-ification of the old boat as pretense to incorporate puzzle-laden displays and plaques. The execution was artfully done.

In game: The ornate interior of the vessel has a large bench in the middle and large copper doors with green walls covered in large rivets.


The puzzling took place largely through keen observation, which then translated into tactile inputs. The challenge was primarily in locating information and making the right connections. That shouldn’t give you the impression that Maritime Grave was an easy escape room.

There was ample room for parallel puzzling.


Bane Escape committed to this quirky scenario and delivered. The set struck the right balance between naval vessel and museum. Its unified and polished aesthetic was both impressive and fun.

In-game: A glass display with an bronze octopus inside. Beyond the glass, a porthole is illuminated blue.

So much of this game was custom construction. It looked great and functioned well.

The information-meets-input design unfolded across the large gamespace. This facilitated teamwork well.


At times, the gamespace felt empty, despite ample puzzles. Large spaces held few interactions.

One area of the submarine remained poorly lit throughout the experience. We were expecting some dramatic lighting to turn on when the area became relevant, but it remained dimly lit.

There were a few instances where the removal of clue ambiguity could dramatically elevate the experience.

Should I play Bane Escape’s Maritime Grave?

Bane Escape is a spinoff of Bane Haunted House. Although the designers have a haunt background, Maritime Grave was not a frightening game. It is approachable for a general audience. Furthermore, Bane Escape’s experience building haunts shines in the artistic and durable set of Maritime Grave. 

This would be a fun, but challenging escape room for new players. There are a lot of dots to connect. Teamwork and parallel puzzling are crucial.

Experienced players will find this a worthy opponent and likely appreciate this unorthodox rendering of a sinking submarine scenario.

Book your hour with Bane Escape’s Maritime Grave, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Escape Room New Jersey – S.W.A.T. [Review]

There’s another mad bomber. Call the puzzle SWAT team!

Location: Hackensack, NJ

Date played: March 6, 2017

Team size: up to 18; we recommend 5-8

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25 per ticket for an open ticketed game, $22-45 per ticket for private game depending on team size

Story & setting

As the SWAT team assigned to the mission, we entered a terrorist’s apartment to determine the location of a series of bombs and disarm the bomb in the room with us.

S.W.A.T. took place in an apartment. Although furnished with typical desk and dresser pieces, it never felt like an apartment. The hacked-together aesthetic and odd assortment of props to puzzle through made it more a space for a puzzle adventure than a terrorist’s apartment.

In-game: A bomb incased in plastic.


The diverse puzzles relied on different intelligences, including keen observation. There were puzzles for nearly any type of puzzler.

Escape Room New Jersey combined traditional locks with tech-based mechanisms to drive the interactions.


S.W.A.T. began with an exciting physical challenge for a single player. Failure to complete this interaction would impede subsequent gameplay. We appreciated how Escape Room New Jersey designed immediate (but temporary) consequences into the interaction.

There was a lot of strong puzzling that kept our team of six engaged until the final seconds. We worked through many of the puzzles collaboratively. A few moments were particularly fun.

Escape Room New Jersey created an “apartment” escape room with intrigue. There was enough of the out of the ordinary to uncover that our team remained energized throughout the experience.


Although the set was fun to explore, it wasn’t really themed. More than anything else, it was a space for puzzling.

There were a number of game elements that triggered based on player behavior. The puzzles didn’t always give enough feedback to know who had triggered what, leaving us uncertain which elements had been completed.

S.W.A.T. suffered from double cluing. The multiple ways to uncover the same information made us doubt otherwise correct solutions. At one point in particular, when multiple solutions funneled into one complex input, the double cluing proved more challenging than helpful.

One crucial late-game puzzle truly lacked appropriate cluing. More often than not, teams will find themselves guessing at this point in the room escape.

There were a couple of moments that were painfully corny and out of place.

S.W.A.T. prominently featured a game timer. Its only function was as a timer, but it kept incorrect time. Our gamemaster notified us of this, so that we wouldn’t be relying on it, but it was frustrating to look at it and know it was wrong.

Should I play Escape Room New Jersey’s S.W.A.T.?

S.W.A.T.  was a lot of fun. In fact, similarly to Escape Room New Jersey’s first escape room, The Other Side, S.W.A.T. was more fun than the sum of its parts. They’re a bit of an enigma.

This was a largely un-themed puzzling adventure. If you seek immersive set design and storytelling, this won’t be your escape room. However, there was a lot to puzzle through, both in breadth and depth. Overall, these challenges were tangible, interactive, and entertaining.

This would be a challenging escape room for first-time players. The double cluing and lack of feedback made communication more challenging than it needed to be.

All other considerations aside, S.W.A.T. was a lot of fun. If you’re a puzzle lover in northern New Jersey, you’ll enjoy it.

Book your hour with Escape Room New Jersey’s S.W.A.T., and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape Room NJ provided media discounted tickets for this game.


Last Minute Escape – The Submarine [Review]

It might have been a bit of a dive, but much was hidden in its depths.

Location: Montclair, NJ

Date played: February 27, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $100 per team during the week with additional costs for larger teams & $30.50 per person on weekends

Story & setting

It was 194-blah in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Our submarine was under attack and all of the personnel who actually knew how to operate the critical systems were incapacitated. It was up to our ragtag group of know-nothings to figure out how to operate the boat, sink a Japanese ship, and save our crewmen. The story didn’t make a lot of sense, but Last Minute Escape didn’t take the story too seriously either.

In-game: A submarine door with a radiation warning. Through the porthole is a depth controller.

The set design had its up and downs. Everything was handmade and a little hacked together. Many individual interactions looked good, but the rooms themselves didn’t always feel cohesive or part of a submarine. A lot of it was clever… even when it wasn’t convincing.

The Submarine had a great logo.

The Submarine logo has the name in a heavy font with the silhouette of a submarine.


Last Minute Escape truly shined in the puzzling . They assembled a challenging collection of team-oriented escape room puzzles.

Some puzzles were analog while others were tech-driven. Nearly every puzzle demanded multiple people to solve. This is a difficult to achieve and too often overlooked facet of escape room design that Last Minute Escape nailed.


The Submarine was built for collaborative puzzling and it truly achieved that.

The puzzles were satisfying, challenging, and fun. Everyone on our team had at least one moment of triumph.

While the room escape didn’t always look amazing or make a ton of sense, Last Minute Escape used what they had to create some honestly triumphant moments.

In-game: The depth controller, a door, with a car steering wheel painted silver.

Epiphany in puzzle design is a tough thing to create, especially in the escape room format. However, I found that The Submarine repeatedly achieved it. Early in the room escape we found so many things that simply didn’t make sense that I actually started off a little frustrated. As the game progressed, however, we started to make the connections. It felt so rewarding to solve these little mysteries that had originally made no sense whatsoever and then in a flash became incredibly clear.


The Submarine’s soundtrack was loud enough that it interfered with the gameplay.

There were tons of details in The Submarine and managing them relied heavily on labeling, which wasn’t always clear; in one instance it simply wasn’t there.

We encountered a little bit of prop failure, which added a fair amount of confusion into the late-game experience.

In once section of the room escape, we needed to derive a series of answers and administer them all at once. Frequently, there was no way to verify them, short of the gamemaster hinting which one was incorrect. This didn’t present an issue for us, but I can easily imagine a number of scenarios where it could seriously hamper gameplay.

The story didn’t make much sense and there was no attempt to ground the game in any historical reality. The room escape was set on a nuclear sub (which didn’t exist in WWII) and the props were a hodgepodge of anachronistic naval/military items.

Should I play Last Minute Escape’s The Submarine?

The Submarine was fun, weird, and challenging. It was an energizing game for our experienced players. It offered a level of puzzling that we don’t often encounter and that puzzling was implemented with nuance and finesse.

For these same reasons, I do not recommend The Submarine for newbies. The emphasis on challenging puzzles that require careful observation and clever connections could lead to an especially frustrating experience for those who aren’t at least a little comfortable in an escape room environment. Additionally, the lack of focus on story and environmental design would make it more difficult for newbies to even see the brilliance of The Submarine, and there was a lot of brilliance.

Escape room enthusiasts: If you’re in it for the puzzling, I highly recommend you pay Last Minute Escape a visit and see how deep you can dive.

Book your hour with Last Minute Escape’s The Submarine, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Last Minute Escape provided media discounted tickets for this game.


Trap Door – Witch Hunt [Review]

“She’s a witch! Burn her!”

Location: Morristown, NJ

Date played: February 13, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $35 per ticket

Story & setting

With an accused witch waiting at the gallows, we had an hour to search her residence to find evidence of her guilt or innocence.

Set against a fictionalized 17th century witch hunt, the game was staged inside a dark and creepy home. Witch Hunt flirted with horror, but remained approachably intense for all but the most timid of players.

In-game: A close-up of a mantle with candles, a stone bust, and a a copper plate sitting atop it.

The home itself was dimly lit and fairly compelling. There were a few brilliant details, but also a few modern items that stood out a little too strongly. Post-game we learned that the local fire marshal was very assertive in Trap Door’s design process.

In-game: A fire burning in a small cauldron hung by chains.


Trap Door leaned heavily on narrative, but not at the expense of gameplay. The puzzling felt strong and kept our whole team involved.

We’ve knocked Trap Door for issues of gameflow and puzzle design in our previous visits to their Red Bank, NJ location. I am happy to say that those issues were not present in Witch Hunt.


Trap Door has always leaned into their exceptional video production skills. This was absolutely true of Witch Hunt. Their use of video was brilliant.

The puzzles largely felt born of the narrative. This was true of the hint system as well.

The set and props had some magnificent details that both brought the room escape to life and tied everything together.

In-game: A table with a cutting board, herbs, and other cooking utensils and ingredients lit by candle.

Witch Hunt instilled a sense of adventure in our team that lasted the entire experience, which ultimately escalated to a wonderful climax.


Lighting was our greatest foe in Witch Hunt. We were provided with one lantern for our team of 6; dim LED candles could be used for light in a pinch. Making light into a scarce resource slowed the gameplay and created situations where a player’s primary role became light holder… and in the words of Errol of REDivas, “No one wants to be lamp holder.” Witch Hunt could benefit from either more lamps or the addition of some built-in lighting in key locations.

While the hint system was excellent, most of our team had a hard time hearing the hints or even knowing that they were being delivered.

I would love to see Trap Door continue to level up their skills as immersive set designers by finding ways to create smoother physical puzzle interactions and hide their tech a little more. If the wires, magnets, and seams were to disappear, Witch Hunt would have felt considerably more magical.

Should I play Trap Door’s Witch Hunt?

Witch Hunt feels like the game that Trap Door has been trying to make for 2 years. Each time we’ve visited them, we’ve understood their desire to make us feel a story through their room escape, but it just didn’t come together. Until Witch Hunt.

Witch Hunt is a force to be reckoned with in the ever-strengthening northern New Jersey escape room scene. It’s a game that could be enjoyed by both newbies and experienced escape room players as long as everyone is comfortable with the darkness and the intense theme.

Regardless of your skill level, play hard. Witch Hunt is a trial by fire.

Book your hour with Trap Door’s Witch Hunt, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Trap Door comped our tickets for this game.

The Other Tales – The Forgotten Room [Review]

Ready your steamer trunk.

Location: Hawthorne, NJ

Date played: February 6, 2017

Team size: up to 8; we recommend 3-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29.95 per ticket

Story & setting

We entered the headquarters of the Amazing Adventure Society to find the treasured artifact hidden within.

The Amazing Adventure Society headquarters had a simple, warm, and cozy grandfather’s study aesthetic. The setting felt homemade yet adorably homey.

In-game: Amazing Adventure Society Departure Points of Expeditions Map


The puzzles in The Forgotten Room were beautiful. In a mix of tech and more traditional components, The Other Tales crafted their own puzzle elements with care and love.

Both tangible and paper-based, the puzzles varied in structure, skills, and difficulty.


As we approached the Amazing Adventure Society headquarters, our gamemaster established the story sincerely and reverently. He gave us reason for the adventure we were about to undertake, and even his own role in our experience. It worked.

The room was comfortable. Its atmosphere was heartwarming. It was a fun place to explore.

In-game: Two large trunks locked shut with many destination stickers attached to them.

The Other Tales designed and built the puzzle elements with clear attention to detail and beautiful craftsmanship. Where many companies would cut corners and telegraph their technology, The Other Tales put in the extra effort to hide seams and tech. These pieces, both large and small, were fun to explore.

We loved many little moments. One particular layered decipherment puzzle really caught our fancy.


We weren’t a loud group, but we found it hard to interact with our gamemaster during the room escape. It was hard to hear him over the PA system.

Some of the more paper-based puzzle components could have been worked into the set more thoroughly.

As much as we loved many of the unique puzzle elements, we worry about the durability of these game pieces. That said, The Other Tales has thus far done a spectacular job of maintaining their game.

Should I play The Other Tales’ The Forgotten Room?

The Forgotten Room was adorable and beautiful. The atmosphere, attention to details, and craftsmanship brought this adventure to life. It wasn’t a fancy game, but it was so cleanly executed.

I worry about the longevity of the props, but that might be the tradeoff for their charm.

This was a fun, exciting, family-friendly room escape that is perfect for its suburban location. It will be challenging, but approachable for newer players.

More experienced players will find some interesting puzzling in The Forgotten Room, much of it memorable.

If you’re in the area, visit The Other Tales and see an example of escape room design on a budget done right.

Book your hour with The Other Tales’ The Forgotten Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: The Other Tales comped our tickets for this game.

Puzzle Out – Architect’s Studio [Review]

Make it big. Bigger. Bigger still. Ok that will do.

Location: Jersey City, NJ

Date played: January 16, 2017

Team size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25-34 per ticket

Story & setting

We were hired by an architect attempting to build the largest skyscraper in the world. We were dispatched to sneak into a rival’s office and determine the height of the skyscraper he was creating. If we were successful, our client’s tower would surely be taller.

Points for originality.

The set was an architect’s studio. It looked like it was going for the minimalist Apple Store aesthetic, but didn’t quite get there.

In-game: A drafting table.

There were 5 building models set atop filing cabinets. Each model presented a unique set of puzzling challenges.

The setup, while relevant to completing the final puzzles, was ultimately more theme than story.


Most of the puzzling in the Architect’s Studio centered on the aforementioned building models. While none of them were simple, they ranged broadly in complexity, and each employed smart counter brute-force elements.

All puzzles ultimately led to a lock and key, but it didn’t matter because the building puzzles that led to the combinations were all compelling, tangible or mechanical interactions.

In-game: A series of filing cabinet pedestals, each with a different building model puzzle atop it.


The building puzzles felt heavily inspired by The Room video game series, and they pulled it off well. Everything had weight to it, and solving the individual puzzles felt immensely satisfying.

The puzzles fostered a ton of teamwork and collaboration. Every puzzle had at least two people work on it together.

The overall collection of puzzles was superb.


There were a few instances where the puzzle construction could have benefited from refinement. One of the buildings had some exposed screw tips that should be ground down, and generally didn’t function as smoothly as it could have. A different puzzle would have benefited from better magnets. Another puzzle had pieces that fit together a little too snugly. I shouldn’t have had to use as much force as I did to make it work.

The layout of the room led to some serious cramping. The puzzle stations all looked good in a row, but moving them around a little could open up the space and allow for more players to get involved with them.

Aesthetically, the space didn’t feel on par with the level of puzzle quality. While the filing cabinets thematically fit with the space, they didn’t add to the experience.

Should I play Puzzle Out’s Architect’s Studio?

Architect’s Studio was Puzzle Out’s sophomore game, and it has come a long way. They shed the throwaway puzzles, and presented an original, unified concept. The puzzles were great, and I had a smile on my face the whole time.

Architect’s Studio should be enjoyable for both experienced and novice players. It was both approachable and had depth to it.

Where Puzzle Out left room for improvement was in aesthetic execution and narrative. The gameplay and flow were excellent. Our team had a ton of fun while playing Architect’s Studio. When Puzzle Out nails the look and construction of their games, they will be one hell of a competitor.

Book your hour with Puzzle Out’s Architect’s Studio, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Puzzle Out comped our tickets for this game.