• Immersive Experiences

    The Dream Machine – Immersive Review

    Experience: Dream Machine
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Visited: April  2018
    Price: $28-$38

    dream machine

     

    Any pop-up that we take part in that allows us to schedule a specific time for our visit is already off to a  good start! Specifying what slot we were to show up for minimized our line wait times and allowed us to better experience the flow of the event without fighting through crowds inside.

    After arriving, the event itself continued to move smoothly as it was well-run and organized. People working the event were friendly and dressed to theme in mute toned jumpsuits – seemingly the dream engineers. In addition to offering to take our photos, they were also patient with allowing us to hang back in order to get the perfect one. We never felt rushed.

    Content itself was also well-executed. Every room felt different – our transitions from scene to scene mimicked a movement from dream to dream. Each component was different, engaging, and interesting. On top of that, you couldn’t see behind the scenes unless you went behind the scenes. The rooms were sealed into their own sets keeping unneeded sights out of vision. We actually even witnessed guests taking Instagram photos in the bathrooms as there was a pretty pink hued lighting in there too.

    Each room was a separate entity from the next and the flow of the space was clearly purposefully laid out. Spaces that would require less crowding in order to get good photos were placed right after larger, more engaging rooms. As such, groups held back in the first room, giving the group ahead of them plenty of time in the more intimate space ahead.

     

    Verdict:

    Dream Machine achieved the perfect dream aesthetic of wandering from one scene to the next. It was well-organized, leading to low levels of stress and a smooth flow. It presented some high quality, good content and allowed us to get what we set out looking for – a good Instagram photo.

     

     

    dream machine clouds
    benji wall
    dream machine chair
    laundromat
    selfie service
    dream machine pit
    color corridor
    wilderness benji
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  • Escape Rooms,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    Solve It Sherlock ‘Pirates of the Golden Skull’ Review

    Game: Pirates of the Golden Skull
    Location: Neptune, NJ
    Date Played: May, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 8 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $30 per ticket
    Story

    After being locked away, you must escape your cell and locate the Golden Skull in order to take control of the pirate ship.

    Puzzles

    Most puzzles throughout the game had multiple steps to them as they were stretched throughout rooms and across lengths of time. They were less linear than more basic rooms. One puzzle in particular utilized an exciting functionality that we had not experienced before. However, there were a few red herrings built in. Sometimes we were given resources very early on that we would not use until much later. One of the later game puzzles directly contradicted and earlier discovery for seemingly no other reason than to trick players.

    Highlights

    The set was great – high levels of craftsmanship, very polished look and feel, and all items were properly and fully secured. Nothing showed signs of wear and no parts of any of the rooms felt as though we could accidentally break them or caused us to second guess whether or not we should be moving things. In addition to feeling like a movie set, there was a great use of sound and light.

    Shortcomings

    Although the room was enjoyable, many puzzles seemed limited. Much of them involved more searching than thinking so at times it felt like more of an easter egg hunt for pieces rather than us working through riddles. Some of items to interact with were also placed higher up, making it difficult for all players to reach them.

    In terms of immersion, we were told we could use our cell phones to do math at one point. It would have been more thematic to provide pencil and paper instead. There were also times where we needed to use the light on our phones in order to differentiate between very similar colors for a puzzle.

    Although the finale of the room looked great, the execution lacked a certain pizazz – we had not even known it had happened until instructed by the Game Master.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    The room is task-based enough for kids and beginners but is also enjoyable for intermediate players. There are many fun elements to keep experienced players engaged as well.

    solve it sherlock lockchix
    Book your Pirate experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  Family Friendly,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    Escape the Puzzle ‘Carnival’ Review

    Game: Carnival
    Location: Neptune, NJ
    Date Played: May, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 8 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $30 per ticket
    Story

    After finding yourself alone at a carnival, you are tasked to figure out just why it is empty.

    Puzzles

    There was a large range of type and difficulty as the room included both typical escape room puzzles as well as more hands-on task-based ones. Many puzzles required a fun and creative level of dexterity. All were perfectly incorporated into the theme. We felt as though we had stepped foot onto carnival grounds with the challenge to think through each component of the fairgrounds show.

    Highlights

    The layout of the space was not as cut and dry as it seemed. There were fun surprises leading up to a nice finale. Given the spacious areas and number of puzzles, even a larger group would have plenty to do without feeling on top of each other.

    Shortcomings

    While we did feel as though we were at a Carnival, the more specific details of the storyline and our true mission were not as pronounced and we felt a lack of overall narrative. While the props and surroundings were cleverly built, some showed small signs of wear and tear. Additionally, a puzzle including small marbles was not constructed in a way to keep the marbles secure and we had to pick up the ones that fell out.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Both kids and adults alike. The experience is family-friendly and has the ability to scale up to larger groups.

    escape the puzzle room
    Book your Carnival experience here!
  • Immersive Experiences

    The Egg House – Immersive Review

    Experience: The Egg House
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Visited: April 26, 2018
    Price: $18

     

    “We believe in the familiarity and universality that eggs bring to people, therefore we created an imaginary place where people can momentarily escape to and share the love of eggs.”

     

    Egg House turned out to be the adorable and quirky pop-up that it set out to be. The team behind the experience crafted an immersive, imaginary place where one can journey through the dreams of Ellis the egg in order to escape reality and enter a universe that is both comforting and interesting.

    Walking up to the exhibit, the sunny-side-up-yellow popped immediately, as the space they secured had streetfront floor to ceiling windows. It was enticing right from the start as we were given a taste of the colorful world, but were unable to see what lay ahead once we were inside.immersive banner

    The Egg House did a great job of providing tickets for entry times that were in half hour increments and releasing chunks of days’ worth of tickets over the course of several weeks. As in, we were unable to purchase our tickets for the 27th until the second or third week that the exhibit was open. Having sectioned off times and putting tickets out in waves is a great way to ensure that there is ample opportunity for many people to participate. Instead of having to wait in a never-ending line or worrying about the entire event selling out in minutes, we were able to pick the exact time we could enter the space.

    As we chose to attend on a Thursday, the space was pleasantly empty when we arrived except for a few other small groups. Not feeling rushed and really having the opportunity to take our time through the space – especially an exhibit where a big reason why we were there was to take instagram photos – was really such a treat.

    The aesthetic was on point. Everything was perfectly instagrammable and portioned into sections so we were not on top of other groups. Some parts of the exhibit, however were a bit toned down as compared to what was advertised. For example, the website notes a “pleasant surprise” if we were to interact with the entrance sign in the foyer, however part of the entrance seemed to be missing. Additionally, it was advertised that vendors such as Eggloo and Egg Shop would be there. When we were at the exhibit, there were tables set up for these vendors, but they were covered with storage and had no one working them, so we did not have the option of purchasing anything.  

    Egg House Spatulas Overall, the exhibit was fantastic. Each photo op was beautifully set up, was of good quality, and was delightfully adorable. The aesthetic was on-point and everything was perfectly instagrammable. We were even able to visit Ellis the egg, who was presented through a cool technical projection and outside of his window showcased an exhibit in which the group had brought the giant egg himself out to a park in New York. Looking out of the window showed a time lapse of his experience on a park bench. The only issue from a quality perspective would be that there were portions of the building itself that weren’t fully covered up. Seeing bits of open storage areas and having sections of the basement / garden area not fully decorated broke the immersion a bit.

    A finishing touch was that we were able to purchase some egg merch and were gifted with a small Egg House pin upon departing. The staff was very friendly and very helpful – offering to take our photos and ensuring that we had explored all parts of the space. The front door was also locked from the inside, which made us feel super secure within the space.

     

    Verdict:

    From start to finish, we had an eggcellent time. Egg House crafted an awesome aesthetic to escape to and wove it into an endearing story. The vibe was great – from staff to quality of exhibit items to level of experience. We’d love to go through it again.

     

  • Escape Rooms,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    Trap Door Escape Room ‘Witchhunt’ Review

     Game: Witchhunt
    Location: Morristown, NJ
    Date Played: July, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 10 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $35 per ticket
     
    Story

    The story set in Salem, your task is to find evidence against a woman accused of witchcraft. With her hanging set to take place in one hour, you must prove her guilt.

    Puzzles

    To fit the colonial environment, the rooms had sparse furniture, props, and lighting. Despite the minimal number of items to work with, we felt like we hit many roadblocks and built up tons of puzzles prior to being able to move forward.

    Highlights

    As much as we did not like the puzzles, nothing felt out of place. Trap Door did a good job of finding props and elements that truly fit the environment. The second half of the game was better than the first half. However, it all lead up to an awkward ending. 

    Shortcomings

    When we started the room, a video was playing, however, the audio was cut out. These technical difficulties were not caught by the Game Master. A party member had to venture out of the room to inform them, then the entire party was asked to leave the room entirely for the video to be reset. This caused a bit of a snag in the immersion right from the start.

    Another component that worked directly against the immersive ambiance was that we were given a dim candle to navigate through the rooms and instructed that we could use our cell phones. Given only one candle, we were forced to use our phones in order to see. Using cell phones at all is a detail that typically breaks the setting, but especially in this case when every other item is meant to be from colonel times. More candles or even a lantern could have achieved a practical effect while still keeping with the theme.

    This room relied on puzzles that relied on the Game Master’s attentiveness and response, rather than being automated. As such, there were a few times where we were told via the walkie talkie to repeat things. It felt forced and frustrating.

    This Room is a Good Match for
    History buffs and large groups with great communication skills.
    Book your Witchhunt experience here!