Riddle Room – Murder Mystery [Review]

Quick! Throw the switch!

Location: East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Date played: July 15, 2017

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Story & setting

As investigators, we were reviving a cold murder case at a local asylum that had been decommissioned due to illegal experimentation on patients.

In-game: A chalk outline of a body in the middle of a lab-esque crime scene.

While the setup and subject matter were grim, the room was about as non-threatening as it could possibly be. At its most intense, there was a chalk outline on the ground and a few Halloween-y “danger” signs on the walls. Beyond that, the room had a vaguely lab/ office feel about it. There was not a lot of ambiance.

Puzzles

Murder Mystery included an assortment of lab-esque items turned puzzles. These ranged from more traditional paper-based puzzle types to a few more mechanical interactions.

Standouts

The most interesting parts of Murder Mystery were the few mechanisms to manipulate.

The gameplay in Murder Mystery flowed well.

Shortcomings

Murder Mystery lacked ambiance. It felt cobbled together.

There was a hodgepodge of vaguely themed items in Murder Mystery, but they didn’t add depth to the interactions. The escape room relied on paper-based puzzling and unlocking.

One of the more visually interestingly set pieces turned out to be practically irrelevant to the gameplay.

While it wasn’t a red herring, we waited a long time to open a lock on a hefty switch. When we flipped it we were expecting a significant reveal… and what we got was anything but significant.

Should I play Riddle Room’s Murder Mystery?

Murder Mystery was Riddle Room’s first escape room. It was an older style of room escape where the puzzling wasn’t particularly connected to environment. There was a bit to find, solve, and unlock, but there wasn’t a lot of depth to the experience. Murder Mystery was fine. Its flaws were born from a lack of polish and intrigue, not from outright bad design.

New players looking to explore a puzzle room will find some fun and challenge, but we preferred Captain’s Curse, which is no longer open. We are curious about what Riddle Room will develop in its place.

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

Riddle Room – Captain’s Curse [Review]

Pillaging, puzzling, and a puppy.

Location: East Greenwich, Rhode Island

Date played: July 15, 2017

Team size: up to 10; we recommend 3-4

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $29 per ticket

Story & setting

Captured by pirates who were in the midst of casting a curse upon humanity, we had to free ourselves and save the world.

In game: Behind a jail gate, a dog with keys in his mouth sits beside a cannon.
Points for the Pirates of the Caribbean (ride) reference.

Captain’s Curse was an office space filled with pirate-y props. The set was cute and hardly immersive.

Puzzles

Captain’s Curse was built around search and discovery. There were lots of little bits and pieces to collect. It heavily rewarded those with a keen eye.

Standouts

Throughout Captain’s Curse we uncovered historical information about various famed pirates. Most of this came in short bits and any instances of longer prose never became arduous. Captain’s Curse communicated a lot of information without slowing the pace of gameplay. In fact, two of our teammates left wanting to learn more about Ching Shih, a remarkably badass Chinese pirate queen.

We enjoyed the adorable staging depicted above. Who can say no to that cute cuddly face?

Riddle Room chose mostly old-timey boxes and locks that seemed to belong well enough on a pirate ship.

Shortcomings

Captain’s Curse contained a lot of itty bitty props and relied heavily on finding over solving. We were continually unlocking every little thing we uncovered.

The set design did not do a great job of conveying a plot or even a feeling. It was a vaguely pirate-esque office.

Riddle Room’s reliance on search collided with lighting issues and prop selection. Everything combined to deliver some tedious search work.

Much of the action in Captain’s Curse felt repetitive rather than layered. The repetition lead to an emotionally level game with few moments of intensity or deeper satisfaction.

Should I play Riddle Room’s Captain’s Curse?

Captain’s Curse was a solid execution of an older style of escape room: there was a lot to poke through and uncover, but it was not all scavenging… It ultimately led to some puzzles. Riddle Room had a few truly fun and interesting ideas here and then filled in the gaps with what have become escape room standards.

Newer players will likely enjoy Captain’s Curse. Much of what’s old hat to us will be new and fun. It would also be a great room for families, as an educational and not-at-all-scary pirate ship with plenty for children to uncover.

For more experienced players, if you find yourself in the area and want some light puzzling, step aboard, but don’t sail too far out of your way to plunder this game.

Book your hour with Riddle Room – Captain’s Curse, and tell them that the Room Escape Artist sent you.

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