Hostage Rescue: Sent in to rescue a kidnapped friend, we quickly discovered that the kidnappers were demanding a steep ransom. Our goal was to locate a bank account number in order to successfully wire money to the kidnappers and successfully free our friend.
Mob Boss: There is a rat in the pack! The mob boss assigned us the job of identifying the informant and saving the mafia family before the police arrived on scene.
Crazy Professor: A mad scientist is working on a secret experiment. But what is it? We had to make our way through his lab before activating the self-destruction sequence.
Pros: We entered the building to find a very nice set-up and comfortable waiting room. We had some time in between each game but enjoyed hanging out in the waiting room. The game began with an introductory story which helped guide the direction of our game play. The goals for each game were clear and each room was appropriately decorated and set to the theme. Some of the puzzles directly tied to the storyline, others were more basic. The game master provided hints as necessary. We especially enjoyed some of the unique puzzles in the Mob Boss room. We successfully escaped each game and even broke a record for Mob Boss!
Cons: Some of the puzzles in Crazy Professor were very difficult and one required more luck than actual puzzle-solving skill. Some outside the box thinking helped at times, but sometimes outside the box thinking borderlines on breaking some of the conduct rules for a room. It is a fine line for escape room owners.
This brings up a point worth making here to escape room owners. Do you want players to move furniture, take down props from walls, or take apart items in order to solve a conundrum? If not, then do not require ANY puzzles that require such behavior. After encountering such puzzles at one establishment, we have noticed, in ourselves and in other players, a tendency to deconstruct the next room at the next establishment in a similar manner (much to the chagrin of very annoyed room escape owners). The industry would benefit if escape room owners could agree to certain universal rules that apply across the board.
We highly recommend checking out Lock Down. Great rooms, fun puzzles, and overall good time was had by all!
The Next Civilization: Disease and sickness have winnowed the world's population. A new civilization is recruiting a select few members worthy of creating a new world order. Our group had to prove our intelligence by escaping the room in order to be selected to be members of the elite new world.
Biohazard: Suspected of being infected by a zombie virus, our group was sent into quarantine. We had to bide our time and find a way to escape without being infected by the virus along the way.
Pros: This room escape has an AWESOME waiting room with a cool introductory video, a fog machine, props and the general ambience that the zombie apocalypse is in progress. The storyline was compelling and generated lots of enthusiasm preceding our game play. The owners were friendly and enthusiastic. We love the work they have put into creating the mood.
Cons: As much as we enjoyed the zombie theme and the spooky set-up of the place, we felt that the puzzles largely failed in design and function. The Next Civilization was set in a basic office that did not live up to the general ambience of the waiting room and the promotional material. The puzzles in this room were extremely complex and at times completely illogical. Hints were not allowed which essentially left us stuck for the majority of the game. Biohazard had a much better setup but since we spent over 30 minutes in complete darkness with one member of our team locked in a room incapable of assisting in any way, we quickly grew frustrated. Help from the game moderators came too little too late. We were able to move forward in the game but because of the delay we did not successfully escape. Part of the issue was mistakes we made in searching for clues, but mostly the general set-up of the room made locating items difficult. Oftentimes items were located in places that were less logical especially for frequent players of escape rooms. By the time we were able to reunite some of the missing members of our team, everyone was generally annoyed with the unnecessary complexity of the room.
We really wanted to love this place, but in the end we left disappointed. We failed to pass the test for the Next Civilization and died in Biohazard. Maybe The Zombie Virus is a better game, if we ever rise from the dead to play again, we will let you know.
Houdini's Hidden Workshop: Trapped inside Houdini's haunted workshop, our group had 60 minutes to attempt to free Houdini's soul.
Pros: The set design and special effects of this room were top-notch. The wow factor was truly WOW! Our game master appeared in costume and completely in character. She added to the immersive experience and enhanced the game play by providing hints and clues as necessary (maintaining her accent and role all along). The storyline was clear and consistent throughout the game. The puzzles were a mixture of mechanical and logic types.
Cons: The large group size annoyed us at first and proved distracting at times as communication was clearly an issue. However, the big group size soon emerged as a benefit since the number and complexity of puzzles proved the greater challenge. We did not escape the room and honestly did not even come close to escaping. After reflecting on the experience, we decided that the puzzles were much too complex and detracted from our overall experience. With a little tweaking of the puzzles, this could be a "best of the best" room escape.
We wish we were able to play the other rooms at Great Room Escape. The introduction videos looked amazing. Unfortunately, they were completely booked the weekend we were there. Next time, San Diego!
Escape Gallery 3919: Our friends invited us to a lovely art gallery for a private party. When we get there, things were not what they seemed in this odd place.
Escape the Attic: The strange neighbor asked us to housesit for him. A weird noise in the attic prompted us to investigate. It turned out our neighbor had some very dark secrets.
Pros: We loved the waiting room which was big and well-decorated. In addition to plenty of seating, it also had props and a great wall for taking photographs. We played Gallery 3919 first and found it particularly challenging at times but awesome fun for our group of about 8 people. The extra people helped locate all the clues in this room. We played the attic game easily with two people. The puzzles in both rooms were logical and we were able to solve them with limited help. Many of the puzzles in the gallery were unique and specific to the story and set. The set-design in both rooms was well-thought out and clearly tied to the storyline. We especially enjoyed the added creepiness of the attic which gave us that whole "should we even be in here" feeling. Creepy props constantly surprised us as well. The game master was friendly and we appreciated the hints as needed.
Cons: None that we could think of. These were good solid room escape experiences. The rooms are good for beginners and advanced players alike. Professional and courteous employees! Looking forward to checking out their next room when it opens.
The Disappearance at Fogmore Manor: Trapped in an apparently haunted room, our group determined to locate a missing business partner before the spirits of the manor stopped us dead in our tracks.
Pros: This room was not only meticulously decorated, but the attention to detail in the props and the puzzles added to the overarching storyline. We loved many of the high-tech, mechanical puzzles. These were top-notch and demonstrate excellence in set and puzzle design. We played alongside a friend and veteran escape room player. We all agreed that we had never seen anything like these puzzles before. The puzzles were complicated but perfectly logical and solvable. We barely escaped but progressed at a good pace through each challenge. The game master was on hand to provide assistance with some mechanical difficulties.
Cons: None. We really enjoyed our experience at Fogmore Manor and look forward to seeing more rooms like this one. Bravo!
Sitting Duck: This mission was designed to test our collaboration skills and prove our ability to work together as a team. Successfully completing the mission would allow us to become bonafide Divergent Realities Bureau Agents.
Pros: Loved the website layout and the unique theme of this room escape company. The puzzles were easy to solve and we set a record in making our escape. The props for the final photo were fun and engaging.
Cons: The room was tiny. Two people were crowded and four would be too many. They recommend 1-3 players in this room which makes sense given the size of the room. The set was non-existent since it was just a tiny room with some furniture and props. There was not a lot of creativity in the overall set-design. The puzzles were not very logical at times and similarly lacking in creativity. The room and puzzles did not fit with the overarching theme. Not our favorite escape room. Not even close.
Unfortunately, they were not able to schedule us for any of the other games. We are hoping to be able to try out their other games at some future point to see if the premise improves from there.
The Study: Trapped in the mysterious room of the deceased J. D. Howell, we had to navigate our way through the puzzles to solve the mystery.
Pros: The game master's costume and dramatic entrance helped generate enthusiasm and establish a sense of ambience for the game. Upon entering the room we found a very small game play area with plenty of puzzles to confound us. A mixture of puzzle types from symbolic to mechanical allowed us to exercise various parts of our brain throughout the hour. The set-design was basic but fit well with the theme.
Cons: Despite the enthusiasm of the staff and the game master, we did not really understand the storyline and were therefore less invested in the outcome of the game perhaps than we should have been. The puzzles were logical, but flimsy construction and design made solving some of them near impossible. Although we made it out successfully, we were more confounded by the shoddiness of some of the props and pieces than the challenge of the puzzles themselves.
Recommended for pairs or groups of four or less.
The Spy Room: Our mysterious neighbor had been acting very odd lately. Naturally, we assumed he must be a spy. After sneaking into his room, we were trapped and had to find a way out while discovering his dark secret along the way.
The Attic: Granny has hidden the secret to her fortune somewhere in the attic. We had to find it if we hoped to inherit her fortune.
Pros: The owner/game moderator was very friendly, clarified the rules, and provided timely assistance when we were stuck (Which was unfortunately quite often in this room). The set was neat and tidy. The puzzles were solvable with hints and there were some nice surprises along the way.
Cons: Multiple puzzles at once confounded us at times. The puzzles themselves had some logical fallacies that required us to ask for clarification. We needed a lot more help due to some complex clues. The storylines were simple and common for the escape room industry. The set-designs were basic and nothing to write home about.
Cover photo taken at Countdown Live .
We are escape room fanatics who have played over 300 games in the U.S. and Europe. We love the art of escapology and we wanted to share our adventures in playing room escapes with you!
Rooms Played: 360