• Escape Rooms,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    East Coast Escape Room ‘Vampire’s Lair’ Review

    Game: Vampire’s Lair
    Location: Toms River, NJ
    Date Played: September, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 8 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    A team of vampire hunters have gone missing. Knowing their last location, your team must discover what happened to them as you enter the Vampire’s Lair.

    Puzzles

    Exploring this lair led our team to a wide variety of puzzles & tasks to complete. East Coast Escape Room incorporated puzzles that felt true to the setting. They also required us to work together to uncover the pieces in our journey to find out what happened to our predecessors.

    Vampire’s Lair crafted an excellent juxtaposition as it was filled with “ah-ha” moments that kept our team engaged, while the creepy setting kept us on edge.

    Production Value/Immersion

    True to the narrative, we felt as if our team was recounting the steps of the missing vampire hunters as we progressed through this escape room. Everything from the set design to the innovative clue system felt like our team was inside Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

    Highlights

    Through the duration of our creepy adventure searching through the Vampire’s Lair, our team was on edge. This room was uncomfortable for all the right reasons. We really appreciated how they incorporated a live actor into the game space & how hints were given without breaking immersion.

    We hope most teams make it to the grand finale of this room, because its climax was one we won’t soon forget.

    Shortcomings

    One late game puzzle left us confused until the debrief. The dark atmosphere hindered our team in deciphering what it meant.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Vampire’s Lair is a stand out room along the Jersey Shore. The level of immersion provided by the set & live actor in the room made this a truly memorable escape. It’s accessible for newer players, while offering a competitive mode with an active leaderboard for enthusiasts looking for a challenge.

    east coast escape room
    Book your Vampire experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Mission Escape Games ‘Escape the Hydeout’ Review

    Game: Escape the Hydeout
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: August, 2017
    Team Size: 1 – 8 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    Dr. Jekyll has disappeared, leaving clues behind hinting his whereabouts. You must uncover the mystery of where he is before evil doctor Hyde appears. 

    Puzzles

    Puzzles were spread across a good variety and ranged between task-based objectives to more detail-oriented logic activities. Many integrated cool features that were tricky to locate at first, but resulted in several wow-moments.

    Highlights

    While lacking one large remarkable moment, all puzzles to work through contributed to an overall solid experience. Everything made sense and operated well from a tech perspective.

    Shortcomings

    Despite being billed as a Jekyll and Hyde room, the theme and story never seemed to surface. With such a strong, familiar theme, it seemed like a missed opportunity artistically. Furthermore, it felt like we were in an escape room, rather than the office of a twisted doctor.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    This is a solid room for beginners and families. There are no elements that are too scary or challenging. It’s a great way to get your feet wet.

    Book your Hydeout experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  Immersive Experiences

    NYCC18: Cartman’s Escape Room

    Game: Cartman’s Escape Room
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: October, 2018
    Team Size: 10 players
    Duration: 10 minutes
    Price: Free with NYCC18 badge

     

    Comedy Central’s installation at this year’s Comic Con features a fully built-out escape room. Designed for 10 players, it runs at 10 minutes in length.

    The exhibit is free but prompts guests to come early in the day to secure their time slots. If you fail to snag your ticket before they fill up, you still have the opportunity to wait on the stand-by line to make it in.  

    Caught in yet another one of Cartman’s schemes, we found ourselves stuck in one of the most impossible places to escape: Schooooool.

    We were funneled into a prep area with lockers and a television that provided us with a brief run-down of our situation. The staff also chatted with our group as to whether or not any of us had done rooms before and continued to stress the importance of our communication and collaboration skills.

    At go time, we were lead into the classroom where each of us sat at our own classic desk. The room was built out to look exactly like we had stepped foot into the show. The colors, props, and décor all matched the geometric design of South Park. Our Game Master was an in-game “teacher” who gave us the final instructions and waited within the room to help guide the group throughout the experience.

    Most puzzles were standard escape room tasks that led to numerical or alphabetical locks. All of the puzzles made sense as they were ways to interact with the classroom objects. With a few nods to other characters in the show throughout and some funny and on-brand integrations, the experience was super enjoyable. We were able to track our time through sassy announcements that Cartman made as the game progressed, telling us things like, “uh you only have like five minutes left here”.

    The space was definitely big enough for 10 of us. We all sort of broke out into two or three groups but everything was near and simple enough to shout a suggestion to the rest of the team at any time.

    Overall, Comedy Central nailed it. Conventions present a few difficult tasks in terms of design. Not only does the room have to be approachable enough for any and all convention-goers to enjoy but it also has to be able to hold and captivate a larger party so you can maximize the number of guests who can participate. Logistically, everything was streamlined even down to what the reset would be. We were in and out but never felt like they sacrificed any quality or the basic structure of what an escape room is.

    Kudos to this exhibit. If you’ve got passes to New York Comic Con this weekend, definitely take the time to stop by!

     

  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Exit Escape Room ‘High Speed’ Review

    Game: High Speed
    Company: Exit Escape Room  
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: August, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 7 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    The conductor of the NYC Subway 1 Train has kicked the cars into full speed and cut the brakes. We had to save ourselves as well as our fellow passengers.

    Puzzles

    Each puzzle over the course of the game was expertly interwoven into the environment. Subtle clues were given to us through the décor in our surroundings. Our interactions with the puzzles matched actions that we would take on a real-life subway car.

    Production Value/Immersion

    It’s always so exciting to have the Game Master prep us for the room while we have already stepped into the world of the game – the main entrance to it all was a subway platform and an impressive rendering of the outside of a subway car itself. During the game, the set was a replica of a 1 Train with puzzles cleverly hidden throughout.

    As far as immersion is concerned, each puzzle was focused around an action that you would take while riding the subway or a prompt to interact with train controls. This made sense within the story, as we were tasked to regain control of the runaway train.

    Highlights

    The impressive set and the interesting ways in which we were prompted to interact with it was definitely the biggest takeaway. We were told that a couple constructed the entire set from their home which is awesome! The theme itself was also unique and different from your typical storyline.

    Shortcomings

    While the room was very immersive, other than the knowledge that the conductor had gone rogue, there was no imminent sense of danger throughout the game. Some of the mechanical portions of the game took several attempts to register our answer.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Players with a bit more experience who are looking for something a bit different from your standard room. For all the escape rooms we’ve taken on in New York City, High Speed felt the truest to its location.

    high speed escape room
    Book your High Speed experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Komnata Quest ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ Review

    Game: 7 Deadly Sins
    Company: Komnata Quest
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Played: September, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 8 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $30 per ticket
    Story

    Sent to locate a missing agent, your team must infiltrate one of the most perverse locations in the city.

    Puzzles

    Interactions over the course of this room were not your standard lock and key, but they definitely included handcuffs.

    Typical to Komnata rooms, puzzles relied more on searching and task-based solutions. These included some audio and tactile puzzles that added to the sensual theme of the room.  

    Production Value / Immersion

    Seven Deadly Sins’ production was sensory overload from the get go. As our team navigated sections of this exotic escape room, the immersion was magnified by its sights and sounds. Parts of the room felt cheap and seedy, which normally would be a negative, but honestly worked for this perverse escape.

    Highlights

    An adult change of pace from normal themes with an interesting room set-up. Komnata nails the horror genre so well, but it was great to experience their take on a rare theme in this medium.

    One of the more memorable moments from this room was how it incorporated a fun video game aspect to the experience.

    Shortcomings

    As original as this room was, it wasn’t without its faults. The narrative takes a backseat to the overall shock factor of the rest of the room. Our team seemed to forget about what we were doing until the very end of the experience.

    It’s also a noticeably older room. Some triggers took several attempts and there was noticeable wear and tear markings on key aspects of the room.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    This escape room is definitely not for the shy & conservative. Make sure to leave the children at home during this experience geared best towards couples.

     
    Komnata Quest Seven Sinful Pleasures
    Book your Sinful experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Unreal Escapes ‘Battleship’ Review

    Game: Battleship
    Company:  Unreal Escapes
    Location: Staten Island, NY
    Date Played: September, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 10 players.
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $30 per ticket
    Story

    A third World War has been launched. The US Naval fleet has been wiped out and the only remaining hope is the decommissioned USS Staten Island.

    Puzzles

    Battleship presented a very wide range of puzzles. Interactions ran the gamut from locks and hide & seek style searching to collaborative, multi-step tasks that had us spread out across several stations of the ship. In addition to variety, every puzzle was also thematic & practical. Our actions made sense with the goals of our narrative and puzzles were solved by thinking logically about what was going on in the ship.

    Production Value / Immersion

    The details of this set were second to none. It’s evident that Unreal Escapes values immersion in their escape rooms and it showed. Every key component felt at home within the setting. Additionally, there were no visible wires or backend equipment that stood out to our team. In every sense, Battleship felt like teams were on board a floating fortress.

    This room made excellent use of video screens, incorporating them in clever ways. And finally, we got to see a fun water feature, which we won’t spoil.

    Highlights

    For players that love a good narrative, the overall experience is incredible. Unlike some escape rooms we’ve done in the past, this experience gives you clear objectives that are engaging to complete. There’s a moment in the gameplay where everything within the story gets shaken up a bit. While this could be disorienting to some players, for us, this greatly enhanced the experience. Following instructions carefully, after a short time, we were able to get back on course.

    Holding true to the layout of a ship, areas of the room were a bit smaller size-wise, however we felt that there was plenty for teams to simultaneously work on. This lack of bottlenecking really added to our experience as well.

    Shortcomings

    Newer players might need some extra guidance in working through the non-linear style of gameplay. Otherwise, the only item that we were unsure about was one action which we were hesitant to commit to. However, in debriefing, it was noted that this item was to be adjusted to make this more clear.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    This naval thriller is a must play for the NYC area. Battleship is a great fit for any team looking for a real adventure.

     
    unreal escapes
    Book your Battleship experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Komnata Quest ‘The Robbery That Changed the World’ Review

    Game: The Robbery That Changed the World
    Company: Komnata Quest 
    Location: Brooklyn, NY
    Date Played: July, 2017
    Team Size: 2 – 6 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story
    Your team was hired to recover a very important package. You must figure out a way to successfully break in and avoid alarms in order to keep from getting caught. 
    Puzzles

    Similar to most Komnata rooms, Robbery is more task-based and light on puzzles. There were many props throughout that would have been great opportunities to force us to work through riddles to obtain codes, etc. Instead, the game almost seemed to do the work for us rather than give us the chance to solve things on our own. 

    Production Value/Immersion:

    Also typical to Komnata, production and set were well-executed. The room is very active, as advertised and we really felt as though we were immersed within the story of a heist. 

    Highlights

    The game begins in a van where your boss explains your objective and you are provided with the necessary tools to perform your task. This was exciting and did a good job of setting up the story. The room progression was fluid and logical, leading up to a solid climax at the end.

    It is also worth noting that the tech in the game functioned well. It was easy to work with and dummy-proof. All props were well-secured and wires were well-concealed. 

    Shortcomings

    While the game was exciting and active, from a puzzle-perspective, it left us wanting more. We seemed to move quickly through each room and would have liked to have had to work through a bit more riddles in order to recover answers. 

    The end game puzzle was good but was not really designed for all of us to work on. There was plenty of space and props within that section that could have been better utilized during that final puzzle.  

    This Room is a Good Match for
    This room would be good for smaller groups of players. We played with a group of five, but we believe that the room would be a good fit for two to four people. 
    Book your Robbery experience here!
  • Escape Rooms

    Escape Room Live ‘Titanic’ Review

    Game: Titanic
    Company: Escape Room Live 
    Location: Washington, DC
    Date Played: July, 2018
    Team Size: 2 – 10 players.
    Duration: 45 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    During our voyage on the Titanic, (surprise!) we hit an iceberg. Our group had to find a way to escape the lower floor before the water rose above the porthole and it was too late.

    Puzzles

    The layout of the room was not linear but it opened up more space for us to break into smaller groups and tackle different tasks. Many tech-driven components kept things entertaining and a few puzzles required us to pay close attention to our surroundings.

    One end-game puzzle would not work for us. Upon seeing that we were plugging in the correct code but it was not working, the Game Master had us answer a ‘titanic trivia question’ instead and then simply told us the puzzle’s reveal. In the debriefing, she explained that even she had issues getting the puzzle to work. It was a bit disappointing to find out that this component was known to be unreliable.

    Production Value/Immersion

    This room definitely had a bit of a wow-factor upon walking in. Escape Room Live did a good job fitting out the area to feel like an ornate space. Communication with the Game Master was provided by her making announcements to the ship over the intercom. We always appreciate an in-theme clue system.

    Highlights

    escape room live DCWith interesting puzzles that all made sense with the theme, working through this room felt like we were on a ship. A few puzzles that forced us to pay attention to subtle details really felt rewarding once we had worked through them. The final tech element was cool.

    The lobby of Escape Room Live was expansive and included a bar area. After filling out our waivers, we were able to hang out at a large table and were given an LED pager to let us know when our room was ready.

    Shortcomings

    Even though the room felt like we were on a ship, it did not generally feel like we were on a sinking ship. The only sense of urgency created was the subtlety rising water in the porthole window. A futher-developed story or other effects to establish the true terror of our capsizing boat would have added so much more.

    Our Game Master chatted with us briefly inside the room after it ended but was nowhere to be found once we had made it back upstairs for our photo. We had to wait for one of the bartenders to come over to take our picture and were sort of left hanging before we departed.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Players who are looking for some solid and thematic puzzles who aren’t mad about splitting up and not getting to be a part of every one.

     
    escape room live
    Book your Titanic experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  New York Escape Rooms

    Escape the Room NYC ‘The Clock Tower’ Review

    Game: The Clock Tower
    Location: Manhattan, NY
    Date Played: August, 2018
    Team Size: 1 – 8 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $28 per ticket
    Story

    With the professor is lost in time, it was up to us to fix his mistakes and find a way to get out.

    Puzzles

    The puzzles in this room really got our gears turning. Every puzzle made sense within the environment and spanned across an impressive range, covering everything from actions to logic tasks. We were either finding items and then trying to determine how they were to interact with the space itself or we were sitting and working through some sort of riddle. The room was large, but it was packed with just enough to keep even more experienced teams busy for the duration of the game.

    We were extremely impressed with how this room crafted puzzles that we had never seen before into the narrative and storyline.

    Production Value/Immersion:

    While not everything felt as thematic as we had hoped, this room included some larger than life set elements that we interacted with in very impressive ways. We’ve experienced our fair share of rooms that fail to incorporate video screens in useful or aesthetically-pleasing ways, however The Clock Tower really nailed this aspect.

    Highlights

    There’s a lot to like about this Escape the Room NYC experience. This room felt collaborative in ways that allowed teammates to seamlessly assist one another while also working on different elements of the room. Even better, this room was absolutely big enough for even the max size team to have plenty to do without being on top of each other.

    For an old rusty clock tower, this room incorporated tech as well as any room we’d seen previously and there were several moments in the room that had that true “wow” factor to them.

    Shortcomings

    While this room was certainly impressive, we felt that the narrative got a bit lost once the room truly got going. On top of that, the beginning and end of the room were uneven. We felt as though the beginning could have used a bit more prompting as to how to work through puzzles. Much of what we were doing felt a bit vague and that we were making assumptions in order to move forward.

    The end cap in particular of this great room provided a bit of frustration. A key element to a derivation in a puzzle was not made clear. Thus causing some errors in our calculations.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    The Clock Tower is a great for for larger groups (6-8), as there is plenty to work on during most of this game.

     

    escape the room nyc clock
    Book your Clock Tower experience here!
  • Escape Rooms,  Family Friendly,  New Jersey Escape Rooms

    Locks and Puzzles ‘Western Bank Heist’ Review

    Game: Western Bank Heist
    Location: Lakewood, NJ
    Date Played: July, 2018
    Team Size: 1 – 6 players
    Duration: 60 minutes
    Price: $22 per ticket
    Story

    As outlaws wandering the desert for basic supplies, we stumbled upon a small town. Our mission was to attempt to rob the locals – western style – and make a swift getaway.

    Puzzles

    Locks and Puzzles provided an escape room with approachable and collaborative puzzles that covered a wide range in style. Most felt on-theme with the rest of the room’s decor and tied together the storyline.

    Production Value/Immersion:

    This heist had a quaint, toy box feel to it. None of the set pieces felt over the top, nor totally immersed players. The western theme was approached in an intentionally abstract fashion, taking a simplistic road rather than overly complicating anything.

    Highlights

    The real value in this escape room comes from its charm & accessibility. The room seemed logical and organized. Western Heist nailed the minimalist approach that, if done incorrectly, sometimes leaves players feeling underwhelmed.

    Shortcomings

    While most of the room felt grounded to the theme, there was one late game puzzle that felt thematically out of place.

    This Room is a Good Match for

    Western Bank Heist is a perfect jumping off point for anyone looking to try out an escape room for the first time. This room is a perfect date idea but also a room that the whole family can contribute in.

    lakewood escape room
    Book your Heist experience here!