Escape from the Madhatter: We found ourselves caught in the Madhatter's twisted game to keep us trapped in Wonderland.
Pros: Escape from the Madhatter introduced us to a whole new approach to the escape room concept. Our team could compete against up to three other teams in this intense intellectual exercise that had us scurrying from one room to the next every five minutes. Our goal was essentially to successfully solve four individual puzzles in each of the four rooms before the other teams completed the same four puzzles. The trick was that we had to rotate from one puzzle to the next every five minutes and avoid leaving hints for other teams to pick up on. Sounded like a great idea in theory, right?
Cons: The problem was with the reality. We loved the concept, but found the process extremely frustrating. Essentially it was like working on a multilinear room with multiple puzzles at once but being interrupted and forced to move to another puzzle and then back again every few minutes. This was challenging for the brain and frankly mostly ridiculous at times. The process was even further complicated by the game master who interrupted frequently to give us answers and hurry us along. We found ourselves rushed, distracted, confused, and angry especially by the end of the game. We "successfully" escaped but felt it was more a result of the free answers provided by the game master than by any success on our part. As the primary puzzle solver in each of the four rooms, I left feeling like my brain was in complete meltdown mode as a result of overuse. This was one of those rooms that had us shouting to escape room owners again: "Enough with the gimmicks already! Just focus on creating good, logical puzzles and we promise we will have a great time!" Time to take the madness out of this Madhatter game.
The Dig: Tasked with unraveling an ancient mystery, we channeled the spirt of Indiana Jones to make our escape.
Pros: The set design in this room was beyond excellent creating a fun, immersive escape room experience. The game master was enthusiastic and went above and beyond in her quest to make our experience a memorable one. The storyline was simple but sufficient. We struggled with some of the puzzles but found them generally logical and solvable.
Cons: A few of the puzzles had some issues in design that created difficulties at time. Using bolder colors and visual markers to help players make links between puzzle elements could help clarify the process. A few overly convoluted puzzles also slowed our progress and required game-master intervention.
We applaud Escape the Room NYC for setting a high standard and going above and beyond in set design. Nice work!
The Initiation: We had one hour to solve the puzzles and pass the test in order to earn admission into a secret society.
Pros: The puzzles were simple and mostly fun and easy to solve. We played as two people and finished in record time with lots of time to spare.
Cons: Simplistic, minimalistic set design. Basic storyline. Generally easy puzzles. Nothing to rave about. Nothing to complain about. Recommended for first-timers.
Pros: The room was decorated to theme and had some generally clever and mostly logical puzzles. The game master did their job and assisted as needed. We would have said this was a solid escape room experience had it not been for the company's unfortunate policy of grouping strangers together and most specifically adult players with random groups of children. See further gripes below.
Cons: We were once again in what is becoming a disturbing trend, placed, without our prior knowledge or consent, with a group of children. This was my face: :-(
The children ranged in age from 8 to 12. The point is that most of the time was spent trying to ignore their high-pitched, excited screaming followed quickly and repeatedly by their plaintive wailing about being bored or confused. When they weren't generally breaking things or moving essential clues and tools, they were simply: there, quite literally standing in the way, impeding all progress. So again we ask escape room owners: Why? Seriously, why? We know, we know it's about money. But seriously create a separate, kid-friendly escape room experience for these birthday parties and allow child-less adults to play separately. Otherwise, you will essentially drive adults away from escape rooms and end up moderating children's birthday parties FOREVER. Think about this: FOREVER. Oh and don't forget to childproof your new kid-friendly rooms, we noticed that they tend to break everything.
Cover photo taken at Countdown Live .
We are escape room fanatics who have played over 370 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: 370