• Escape Rooms,  Horror Themed,  New York Escape Rooms

    Komnata Quest ‘Maze of Hakaina’ Review

    Game: Maze of Hakaina
    Company: Komnata Quest
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: June, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 5 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $40 per ticket
     
    Story
    Ancient samurai warriors would traverse the maze to prepare for battle. After losing his way, an ill-fated boy found himself trapped and mistakenly unlocked the dark forces within. You must navigate the passageways in order to find and rescue him. Act fast and complete your mission before the demons of the maze begin to hunt you.
     
    Puzzles
    Puzzles to complete were mainly task-based and heavily relied on our powers of observation. Komnata always does a good job of seamlessly interweaving clues and challenges into the theme of the game, giving to a true immersive experience.
     
    Highlights
    The theatrical lighting and set pieces coupled with the actual labyrinth design did a great job of really pulling us into the world of the maze. The high ceilings and layout of the space succeeded in warping our senses, leaving us to second guess our whereabouts within. The Game Master introduced the game with a dramatic storytelling and instructed us to wear masks as protection from evil spirits. This really set the stage for the game to follow.
     
    The maze felt excitingly ominous as we advanced deeper. Paths of the maze were not outwardly evident. This was a welcomed challenge as many other escape rooms fail to conceal seams and indications of doors or other mechanisms. The twists and corners of the maze built anticipation. Maze of Haikana was thrilling and even creepy at times to discover what might lie beyond the next turn.

     

    A particularly memorable element takes place towards the end of the game that was unlike anything we had seen before.
     
    Shortcomings
    The masks we were instructed to wear helped bring us into the world of the game, but they were less than ideal to keep on throughout game play. While thematic, they made it difficult to navigate the dark corridors while reading clues and solving puzzles. Dim lighting was certainly a theatrical highlight; but at times, text was difficult to read. Further illumination should be provided, so long as it is thematically incorporated through the set or props as everything else is.
     
    This Room is a Good Match for
    The Maze of Hakaina was one of our favorite rooms to date. The room is detailed enough for more experienced players to enjoy. Multiple win conditions enhance the gameplay experience and provide another dimension to the plot. At the same time, the room is linear enough for newer players to enjoy. Clues are intuitive but players may require additional guidance from the Game Master.
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Escape Games NYC ‘John Doe’ Review

    Game: John Doe
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: July, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 6 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $29 per ticket

     

    Story
    Investigate the home of your creepy neighbor before he comes home to catch you. Will you figure out why strange noises are coming from his lair? 
     
    Puzzles

    The room showcased an assortment of different types of puzzles. Most were multi-step and required a bit of extra thought to put together. Puzzles varied enough that each of us got to focus on different sections at different times, but we were also working together as a group to communicate our findings.  

    Highlights

    Things were not always as they appeared to be within the room, leading to a few exciting reveals. Escape Games NYC showcases the top ten times for room completion. We ended up finishing less than a minute outside of the 10th spot. We really liked the idea of racing against other teams to get ourselves up on the wall.  

    Shortcomings
    While the puzzles were solid, the production value of the set was nothing out of this world. As stated, there were a few surprises but beyond them, we just felt as though we were in a standard escape room. There was no level of immersion that made us any tension as if John Doe could arrive home any moment. 
     
    This Room is a Good Match for
    This room would be good for slightly more experienced players who are more interested in good puzzles than true immersion. 
    Book your John Doe experience here!
     
  • Escape Rooms,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    Trap Door Escape Room ‘F5: A Tornado Escape’ Review

     Game: F5: A Tornado Escape
    Location: Morristown, NJ
    Date Played: June, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 10 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $35 per ticket
     
    Story
    You must outrun the approaching tornado and make it to shelter before the tornado touches down. 
     
    Puzzles
    Actual puzzles to solve in this room were very limited. F5 was advertised as active game and it leans quite heavily on that. Puzzles were definitely more task-based and less about having to mentally work through riddles. There is one puzzle towards the end of the game that was a bit more hands on. It was a nice change of pace to have to physically work through it. 
     
    Highlights
    Much like an actual tornado, our experience with F5 was that it picked us up, and dropped us down. Initial immersion of the game was very enjoyable. Trap Door made great use of a large screen to help establish the atmosphere. Entering the room definitely had a bit of a wow factor. The game ends with an exciting and thematic climax. However, even this seemed to flat line as there was not much of a follow-through story wise. F5 seemed to abruptly end. 
     
    Shortcomings
    Two of the main shortcomings were our requirement to imagine more strict boundaries along the path and being hesitant to play the game as to not accidentally break one of the many rules. Despite the active element to the game, one of these rules was to not use too much force on any of the puzzles. A specific puzzle our group got stuck on the most was one that we could not solve because we were not using enough force. 

     

    There was also a lot of untapped story potential. We were originally very excited at the theme but the game did not really take advantage of further plot points beyond that there is a tornado approaching. There was one point where further information was provided to us but the game failed to ever really connect the dots into a cohesive story line. Our biggest frustration was a puzzle towards the end where we were told by an employee after that it was simply supposed to be guess work and brute force in order to solve. Provided with pages of material to work with, it was very confused that the game did not utilize any of that information to creatively help you solve the puzzle. 
     
    This Room is a Good Match for
    F5 by Trap Door Escape is a nice change of pace from standard escape rooms. We would recommend this room if you are looking for an interesting environment that is not puzzle heavy. You should not do this room if you have physical limitations as it requires you to climb and crawl. 

    Book your F5: Tornado Escape experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  Horror Themed,  New York Escape Rooms

    Mission Escape Games ‘Escape the Darkest Hour’ Review

    Game: Escape the Darkest Hour
    Location: New York, NY
    Date Played: June, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 6 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $180 per group
     
    Story
    A killer has kidnapped your group and will return in one hour once they are done making preparations. Can you escape alive?
     
    Puzzles
    Puzzles within the room were very clever. Although, some of them seemed to be a bit too involved. Mission Escape provided us with sheets of paper to track and work through some of the more complex riddles. Including one puzzle that was particularly creative but was so complex we ended up using both sheets to try to work through it. Many of the actual puzzles, once solved, were just numerical locks, and mainly on cabinets within the room. Leading to the room becoming a bit repetitive and run of the mill in this aspect.
     
    Highlights
    For a room with such intensive puzzles, it provided many surprises along the way. Mission Escape was creative with the environment and the tools given within the room. Automations that triggered throughout the room worked well and were timed great for good jump scares. 
     
    Shortcomings
    Escape the Darkest Hour was advertised as a horror theme but it did not really deliver on that. While some of the triggers provided jump scares but, overall, we always sort of felt like we were in an escape room, rather than immersed into the story of a psychopath’s lair. Most of the props felt a little too much like Halloween decor. 

    Mission Escape billed this room as pitch black but we ended up being equipped with so many flashlights, it was just sort of a darker room rather than typical dark escape room. 
     
    This Room is a Good Match for
    Escape the Darkest Hour would be a good room for more experienced players looking for a puzzle-heavy challenge. This is very much so a puzzle game with horror elements, not the other way around. 

    Book your Escape the Darkest Hour experience here!