Clue Carré – The Voodoo Room [Review]

No players were cursed in making this review.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 8, 2017

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau left a trail of puzzles to her last bottle of love potion. Could we retrieve it before the curse she left upon her home took effect?

In-game: A livingroom space with two chairs, a small table with a light, and red walls with many pictures hung from it.

The Voodoo Room was aesthetically cohesive and minimally designed. It had a clear and coherent art direction with few set pieces, many wall hangings, and a lot of open space (relative to the game’s size).

The escape room began approachably and got a touch more grim in the second act. It was just barely spooky, so no need to worry about horror.

Puzzles

The puzzles in The Voodoo Room required meticulous observation and careful searching. We needed to notice oddities, patterns, and connections between various set decor and props.

Standouts

The puzzles in The Voodoo Room flowed one to the next. We connected elements, opened locks, and uncovered more intriguing props. The gameplay worked well and would be accessible and unintimidating to newer players.

In-game: A feathery tophat resting on a bookcase. A glowing red lamp in the background.

One set piece flipped the tone of the space midway though the escape room. It was detailed and just a bit eerie. It made the set that much more exciting.

The final puzzle sequence in The Voodoo Room was superb. It felt magical, as love potions generally do.

Shortcomings

The Voodoo Room was an older escape room and much of the gameplay reflected an older design style. This included some challenging search elements that eventually became tedious time wasters. It also meant that Clue Carré hadn’t built the strongest of connections between puzzles and locks.

There were far too many locks with identical digit structures. We were regularly inputting codes multiple times “just to be certain.”

There was a lot to read in The Voodoo Room. While we didn’t need to hang on every word, we did need to familiarize ourselves with the text. It would be easy to get too caught up in reading and miss all the fun.

The Voodoo Room struggled with lighting and ambiance. Clue Carré could develop a more magical and pointed lighting strategy to eliminate that dimness of voodoo-meets-puzzling environment. (Considering that Clue Carré will be replacing The Voodoo Room in a few months, we don’t recommend that they invest in this idea for this particular room escape, at this point.)

Should I play Clue Carré ‘s The Voodoo Room?

The Voodoo Room was a solid beginner-friendly experience with a few nuggets of unusual innovation that would appeal to experienced players.

The Voodoo Room was one of Clue Carré’s first escape rooms and it has been operating for about 3 years. If you played this a couple years back and feel like this review is more positive than what you saw, that’s because Clue Carré overhauled The Voodoo Room a while back and it plays a lot better than it once did. We had friends shadowing us who had played the original and they were pleasantly surprised with how far The Voodoo Room has come.

If you’re looking for something approachable and locally themed to get started with escape rooms, The Voodoo Room is a great choice. If you’re looking for something special, give Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities a shot. Regardless of your selection, there’s good puzzling to be had.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s The Voodoo Room, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

 

Escape My Room – Jazz Parlor [Review]

“It’s not the puzzles you play, it’s the puzzles you don’t play.”

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 7, 2017

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

The DeLaporte family hired a team of private investigators to aid in solving a murder that occurred within their estate. Could we wade through the evidence and unmask the criminal who committed this malevolent musical murder?

Escape My Room applied their trademark antique-estate-of-curiosities aesthetic to the Jazz Parlor. The set spanned a number of rooms within the sprawling DeLaporte home that houses all of Escape My Room’s experiences. It was decadent, highly detailed, and loaded with eccentricities of a bygone era.

In-game: An organ covered in blood with bloodied sheet music strewn about a ransacked parlor.

Puzzles

The Jazz Parlor’s puzzling focused on carefully searching, building an understanding of the area around us, and manipulating that environment. Escape My Room conveyed narrative through notes, evidence, and interactions scattered throughout the set.

Standouts

Escape My Room’s DeLaporte Mansion had a distinctive and beautiful aesthetic. The cluttered and quirky decor was intriguing, but not chaotic or distracting. Escape My Room struck a delicate balance between busy and calm. Jazz Parlor was a fun space to explore.

Jazz Parlor had one particularly inventive room transition. We took a strange action – that was clued just enough – and it created something so unexpected.

Throughout Jazz Parlor we gathered pieces of a mystery by way of puzzling. By the time we made our escape, we felt like we’d also unraveled the whodunit. We appreciated their interwoven design.

Escape My Room wants players to spend an hour within their escape rooms. Should you finish early enough, a series of bonus puzzles present themselves.

Shortcomings

While we did unravel the mystery through gameplay, the puzzle flow was sometimes clunky. It wasn’t always clear, at any given moment, what puzzles were relevant. This, combined with a linear game flow, meant occasional hangups in puzzling.

While the escape room was mostly well kept up, one puzzle sequence was thwarted by wear.

Should I play Escape My Room’s Jazz Parlor?

As we explored Jazz Parlor, we unraveled a mystery. It unfolded with each subsequent puzzle solve. When we escaped with a win, it felt that much more complete.

Because at the start you begin to uncover both puzzles and context, it can be challenging to get your bearings in Jazz Parlor. Newer players will likely find Jazz Parlor challenging, but not impenetrable. Be patient. Look for oddities. The connections will come.

In Jazz Parlor, we stepped back in time, into the beautiful and quirky style of Escape My Room’s DeLaporte Mansion and into a fun story that felt quintessentially New Orleans.

Book your hour with Escape My Room’s Jazz Parlor, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape My Room comped our tickets for this game.

Clue Carré – French Quarter House of Curiosities [Review]

Dat dollhouse.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 8, 2017

Team size: up to 7; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28 per ticket

Story & setting

After arriving in the French Quarter, we went to meet our friend Selma, the clerk at the local House of Curiosities shop. We found the door unlocked and our dear friend missing. Could we explore the odd store and solve the mystery of the missing Selma?

In-game: An assortment of globes, scientific diagrams, minerals, and tiny objects in the house of curiosities.

French Quarter House of Curiosities had an intricate set filled with little details and an eclectic assortment of objects, most of which factored into gameplay. Every shelf and display featured something new and different to look at. It was a charming, convincing, and entertaining environment.

Puzzles

French Quarter House of Curiosities included some phenomenal and amusing teamwork puzzles. It also included detail-orientated observational challenges and some good old-fashioned deduction.

The puzzles flowed well.

Standouts

We loved many of the puzzles in French Quarter House of Curiosities. These required teamwork and took place in large spaces, or across spaces, such that they were accessible to multiple players. It worked well.

In-game: the interior of an elaborate dollhouse.

The puzzles in French Quarter House of Curiosities were humorous. On multiple occasions, we found ourselves chuckling as we read clues, spotted Easter eggs, or solved puzzles.

Clue Carré added a lot of detail to the set. This made it all the more intriguing to explore. It was a random but beautiful aesthetic that worked.

So many of the puzzles felt especially satisfying to solve and they flowed well from one to the next.

Shortcomings

The gamespace felt uneven. While parts were meticulously designed, other areas felt much more plain. We would have loved to see the aesthetic permeate every corner and nook of the room escape.

While many of the props and set pieces helped tell a story, at times French Quarter House of Curiosities reverted to more random escape-roomy puzzles, where items connected for the sake of connection and didn’t really make sense in a larger narrative.

Should I play Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities?

French Quarter House of Curiosities was fun, locally-themed group entertainment.

With an interesting set and strong puzzle flow, it will be approachable and entertaining for newbies, but not boring or basic for more experienced players.

Clue Carré was one of the earliest escape room companies in the United States. As the industry grows and evolves, they are progressing with it. French Quarter House of Curiosities excels in places where their earlier escape rooms struggled. It’s exciting to see this early entrant continually adapt.

Bring your curiosity to New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Book your hour with Clue Carré’s French Quarter House of Curiosities, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Clue Carré comped our tickets for this game.

Escape My Room – Inventor’s Attic [Review]

Rube Goldberg’s bayou punk attic.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Date played: October 7, 2017

Team size: 2-7; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

With the DeLaporte annual ball scheduled to begin in an hour, and the estate’s electricity malfunctioning, it fell to us to explore the home and determine the cause of the outages. All wires led to eccentric Uncle Remy DeLaporte’s attic, where he claimed to have invented a perpetual motion machine.

In-game: an antique rolltop desk filled with books and trinkets next to a small bed.

Inventor’s Attic was gorgeous and unusual. This room escape took Escape My Room’s eclectic, antique-collection-of-curiosities aesthetic and bumped it up quite a few notches. Uncle Remy’s makeshift inventions were strewn about the space, each one strange and worthy of exploration.

Puzzles

Inventor’s Attic had a lot of nifty gadgets… and of course, these were puzzles. They were interactive and exciting. Inventor’s Attic also required observation and correlation.

Standouts

Escape My Room’s DeLaporte Mansion has an aesthetic like no other. Inventor’s Attic started off with a similar vibrant look similar to Escape My Room’s other escape rooms, but morphed into a more focused look that maintained the feel of the mansion while setting the attic apart. It was beautifully designed.

In-game: A Rube Goldberg machine with slanted shelves with a number of contraptions affixed to it.

We loved the Rube Goldberg-esque theme that ran through Inventor’s Attic. From the first moment of play, we were intrigued by the interconnected oddities.

With Inventor’s Attic, Escape My Room enhanced their spatial reveals. Two moments in particular stood out, where the space changed in surprising and exciting ways.

A lot of the gadgets within the Inventor’s Attic were, to the best of my knowledge, unique among escape rooms. We enjoyed so many of the puzzles that were the meat of this experience. One in particular was almost mesmerizing to work through and a lot of fun.

For one puzzle, Escape My Room included a player-friendly reset switch, something we’ve rarely seen with this type of challenge.

As a matter of philosophy, Escape My Room wants their players to spend as close to a full hour as possible in each escape room. They present bonus puzzles to speedy teams who win with time to spare. The way they introduced this puzzle was so smart.

Shortcomings

Inventor’s Attic didn’t always give us enough feedback when we’d solved puzzles. We sometimes couldn’t figure out what we’d earned. Additional springs or lighting or audio clues would enhance these little reveals.

One of the more involved puzzles didn’t have adequate cluing. We loved the concept, and how it pulled together the inventor’s aesthetic with that of the overall DeLaporte Mansion, but the puzzle within needed work.

The puzzling at the heart of Inventor’s Attic was largely non-linear. While some will absolutely see this as a boon, we were a little disappointed because many of the puzzles couldn’t really support more than 1-2 players at a time. This meant that each of us completely missed at least one of the amazing interactions in this room escape.

Should I play Escape My Room’s Inventor’s Attic?

I can’t think of a more cohesive escape room company than Escape My Room. Their entryway, lobby, series of lobby puzzles, hallways, and each of their escape rooms have all been crafted with the same aesthetic and story in mind. Even their gamemasters present themselves in character at all times. Everything they have to offer is built around the DeLaporte family, their estate, and their odd history.

It’s damn impressive… and Inventor’s Attic is a jewel in this beautifully strange collection.

Inventor’s Attic is a must-play for experienced room escapers. Its uniqueness, beautiful design, surprising reveals, and brilliant interactions all combined to make an unforgettable and challenging yet fair experience.

Beginners will certainly be impressed by what Inventor’s Attic has to offer, but they will likely be a bit bewildered by it. I would highly recommend playing at least one or two other escape rooms before attempting Inventor’s Attic. That will make this escape room more approachable and let you more fully appreciate how joyous Escape My Room’s latest creation is.

Book your hour with Escape My Room’s Inventor’s Attic, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

Full disclosure: Escape My Room comped our tickets for this game.

Escape My Room New Orleans – Mardi Gras Study [Review]

Escape My Room was as delightfully strange as New Orleans.

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana

Date played: May 11, 2016

Team size: 2-8; we recommend 4-6

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per ticket

Story & setting

As soon as we stepped through Escape My Room’s door, we were in their world. The game hadn’t yet begun, but their waiting room was as immersive as I’ve ever seen. It served as a teaser for things to come: a costume closet, and a sort of bizarre museum of strange antiques, and even stranger taxidermy.

We were met by a hostess who was in character. She introduced us to the story and our mission:

“The year is 1990, and Odette DeLaporte has invited you to her study. As the last remaining heir in New Orleans to the DeLaporte fortune, she needs your help locating a treasure which went missing a long time ago. The reclusive matriarch has not been seen in public for quite some time, yet she has agreed to meet with you with the hope that you can recover what’s been lost.”

The room was as lushly decorated with curios as the lobby.There were more than a few breakables, but the room did not seem broken at all. Escape My Room was not a new company; they were expertly maintaining their set.

Team photo
Costumes. So many costumes.

Puzzles

The puzzles were pretty standard escape room interactions. They kind of fit within the story, some a bit awkwardly, but everything worked.

There were two sets of puzzles in the room: one to lead the team out and the other to find what Odette DeLaporte had lost. Escaping was job one and finding what she lost was the secondary win condition. Unfortunately, with this structure there was no way to know which puzzles were tied to which task.

Standouts

The look and feel of the entire facility was bizarre and beautiful.

Everything about Escape My Room New Orleans tied back to the region’s unique history and eccentricities.

The lobby was a trip.

Shortcomings

The dual tracks of puzzles were impossible to tell apart. This was needlessly frustrating.

Some of the puzzles were very clunky and didn’t quite fit with what was going on within the game space.

The story was largely carried by long, cursive letters. They were perfectly in-theme and in-story, but they were hell to read. Note, our whole team was old enough to know cursive.

Should I play Escape My Room New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Study?

Escape My Room New Orleans is a quirky company that does its own thing.

The Mardi Gras Study’s mechanisms were a solid execution of a standard escape room, but everything surrounding the game was strange and fun.

We frequently preach that companies should lean into their strengths and give their games personality. I can’t think of many companies that have done that quite as profoundly as Escape My Room New Orleans.

Book your hour with Escape My Room New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Study, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.