60 to Escape – Merlin’s Legacy [Review]

The heat, the chill, the unknown

Location: Greendale, WI

Date Played: March 11, 2022

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

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $30 per player

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: At least one player must be able to fit in a tight passage. There are also strobe lights and fog.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

60 to Escape’s strong suit is capturing players in an engaging story from beginning to end, and they achieved this magically in Merlin’s Legacy. Filled to the brim with personality and charm, the game was truly an adventure concealed within a shopping mall.

Merlin’s Legacy was able to create memorable characters using sounds, lights, and effects. They have forever burned into our memories an incredible end game interaction, and continue to design larger-than-life props and interactions. We loved how tactile these interactions and the set felt; they had the right amount of heft to them without being cumbersome.

While the aesthetic fit in the time period and story, the first area of the game felt a little too loved, like it had been glued down one too many times. This never took away from the solid gameplay, puzzle flow, and seamless tech, but we wished it had been a bit more polished .

A wizard's library with a desk covered in books. In the middle of the desk is a very tall stack of books.

60 to Escape is designing such joyful rooms bursting with crazy stories, creative puzzles, and awesome scenery. If we had to choose one game to play, we’d recommend enthusiasts play INVASION! If time permits, be sure to check out all of their offerings at this location in Greendale, WI.

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PuzzlEscape Hudson – The Legend of Pepe [Review]

The Legend of Pepe is one of the best games in Massachusetts. Here are our other recommendations for great escape rooms in Massachusetts.

Houdini and Santa and Freddy Krueger, oh my!

Location: Hudson, MA

Date Played: April 2, 2022

Team Size: 2-6; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $28-38 per player, depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

PuzzlEscape recently opened a new location in Hudson, MA. There they opened The Legend of Pepe, a game that pays homage to the 12 games they’d created at their original venue. That said, although this game revolved around prior game narratives, it definitely did not require any knowledge of the previous legends of Pepe La Scuzz, our main villain.

The Legend of Pepe was a puzzler’s dream with a lot of content and fantastic puzzle flow. While not every puzzle was mind-blowing, the game offered a huge variety of puzzle types for every player, and most of the puzzles put a refreshing twist on our assumptions of how they would solve. This made what could have been boring interactions into something unique.

PuzzlEscape designed an interesting way to level the playing field for teams by incorporating a difficulty modifier at the midpoint of the game. Teams choose their difficulty and thus the ending to the story. However, this choice mechanic was under-clued in the gameplay itself.

We love what PuzzlEscape is doing, and cannot wait to see their absolutely insane themes (that we got a glimpse of!) come to life in the future.

Note: this review is for the more difficult path. After we played, our gamemaster gave us a walkthrough of the easier path for review purposes. Players can return for half price to play the path they did not take originally.

Closeup of an old, gold cash register with an infinity symbol, beside it is a computer monitor with the same symbol.
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CU Adventures in Time & Space – Revenge of the Cabin [Review]

Quaint abandoned property. Sold.

If you enjoy Revenge of the Cabin, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Anne & Chris Lukeman on The Reality Escape Pod.

Location: Urbana, IL

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team Size: 2-8; we recommend 3-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25-35 per player depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Accessibility Consideration: At least one player will have to climb a few stairs and crawl a short distance.

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

CU Adventure in Time & Space’s Revenge of the Cabin was a joyful – albeit creepy – experience filled to the brim with character. The game was oozing intricate details. It offered excellent flow, consistent fun, and well-designed puzzles. Our team never had a lack of tasks to do or objects to examine, keeping the game flow consistent and the energy high.

Revenge of the Cabin was flooded with personal touches for each of the players, which added a bit of customized flair to both the gameplay and the puzzles. CU Adventures did a fantastic job leaning into the horror genre without being overly scary. Their use of spooky elements without the cheap scares brought a creative and particularly fun take on a fairly common escape room theme. With the exception of one section requiring more light than was provided, the game otherwise kept our five-player team busy for the full hour.

A necronomicon sitting on a demonic alter.
via CU Adventures

CU Adventures has seriously stepped up the game for Illinois, and across the board, their games were works of art. These are worth the road trip to check out if you’re ever in Chicago, no question.

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Escape@home – Grandma Was A Spy [Hivemind Review]

Grandma Was A Spy is a tabletop escape game created by Escape@home from Bubblegum.games.

A collection of hexagonal coasters labeled, "NY World's Fair 1964-65, Carousel of Innovation," beside an assortment of index cards with recipes printed on them.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Tabletop escape game

Who is it For?

  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • Newbies

Required Equipment: computer with internet connection, pen and paper

It’s easier to use a computer rather than a mobile device because you are switching between tabs frequently.

Recommended Team Size: 2-3

Play Time: about 45 minutes, more for less experienced players

Price: $30 per box

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is an online experience with physical components that help you solve puzzles. Order one box per physical location. Once the box arrives, click on the link emailed to you after purchase to start the game. There is a timer, but you have unlimited time to complete the game. Hints are provided, but after the first one, time is added to the clock.

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CU Adventures in Time & Space – Game Night [Review]

Roll for initiative

If you enjoy Game Night, we hope you’ll check out our interview with creators Anne & Chris Lukeman on The Reality Escape Pod.

Location:  Urbana, IL

Date Played: March 12, 2022

Team Size: 4-8; we recommend 4-5

Duration: 60 minutes

Price: $25-35 per player depending on group size

Ticketing: Private

Emergency Exit Rating: [A+] No Lock

Physical Restraints: [A+] No Physical Restraints

REA Reaction

Game Night was a fantastically unique Dungeons & Dragons adventure lovingly brought to life, full of nostalgia and delightful moments. With the help of an energetic in-game “dungeon master” (gamemaster), our experience was hilarious and whimsical from before the game even began. 

Escape rooms usually stick to 1-2 styles of gameplay and ride that out for a full 60-minute experience. In Game Night, CU Adventures was able to incorporate an homage to unique and vastly different styles of escape room design, curating gameplay for all types of players. Each section of the game was a varied “type” of escape room, whether it be interactive and fast paced, split team, or inclusive of immersive character interactions. CU Adventures brilliantly designed each portion for the overall storyline to flow seamlessly while also tailoring to different player archetypes. They wrapped all this into one coherent experience. 

Closeup of a dragon's head.
via CU Adventures

Even without having a background knowledge of tabletop role-playing games (RPGs), this game can be an absolute blast for every adventurer. CU Adventures is spinning up some incredibly unique and exciting experiences, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for the future.

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