This escape room game is not for the weak. Escapade Games Zoe is both a haunted house and an escape room game. The story is interesting. The set and props are well done. The puzzles are good and the flow works. There is also a good amount of high-tech puzzles in this game. Basically it encompasses the escape room that so many future escape room players picture in their heads when they ask,”Is it scary?” and the answer is yes.
Be prepared for an immersive experience that includes strong creep factor as well as jump scares. There are spirits in this game (in the form of live actors) that will attempt to distract you in the most haunting ways. This is a perfect event for those looking for a more immersive haunted experience any time of year, not just October when the general public is looking for a fright.
Below is a list of the Escape Rooms I’ve played roughly in order of MY favorite to least favorite. Note: I prefer strong storytelling and immersion, especially in horror, paranormal & magic themed escape rooms, so my preferences may be different than yours. Feel free to write to me Twitter @christinebarger or Instagram @TheHauntGirl
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – SASQUATCH
ULTIMATE ESCAPE GAME ATLANTA – SUBMERGED
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – HAUNTED
MISSION ESCAPE ATLANTA – THE HOTEL
TIME TO ESCAPE ATLANTA – AL CAPONE’S SPEAKEASY 1929
MASTERMIND ESCAPE GAMES – SUPERHERO TRAINING FACILITY
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD – NOSFERATU
MISSION ESCAPE ATLANTA – THE STUDY
ESCAPE THE NETHERWORLD
I have never been so impressed with storytelling from beginning to end as I was in Sasquatch. This escape game is one of the best examples of storytelling through immersion that I have seen nationwide. I felt a true sense of urgency throughout the game. The effects through use of set design, lighting, sound and other special effects was exactly what you could expect from the company that brings you one of the most impressive haunts in the nation. The puzzles were fairly first generation, but were tied in enough throughout the story that it worked well. The payoff at the end of the game is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in an escape room. Overall I was incredibly impressed with this game. I highly recommend making the trip to play it if you love immersive games.
Ghost themes are always a favorite with me. I thought the story of the captured ghost and paranormal entities was a very fun setting. The room looked great. The props and effects were unique and fun. I adored the hint system in this game. I also loved our amazing gamemaster. The puzzles in this game are designed for a large group in a way that feels a little like busy work. Several of them are tedious physical puzzles. Again they are fairly first generation puzzles, however the props are beyond what I’ve seen in most other escape games. The finale of the game is incredible IF you win. Unfortunately you will not experience it if you lose. Overall this is a fun and unique escape game.
Vampires are another favorite theme of mine, unfortunately I’ve yet to find a vampire themed room that really knocks my socks off. Nosferatu had a clever hint system and fun theme, but the game left a lot to be desired. I should mention that we were partnered up with a rather large group that didn’t really seem to want my husband and I to play (even though they joined our booking knowing we had already signed up). Also the gamemaster for this experience was a bit of a jerk, which also may skew my opinion of the game. We were given envelopes with information about our individual characters, a task and information to memorize. In order for a player to win the group must stab the vampire’s heart and escape PLUS each person must complete their task. It’s a lot of instructions and things to remember for something that doesn’t really add to the game in my personal opinion. It just made the game start off feeling complicated. The room itself wasn’t impressive in set design. There were A LOT of locks and keys in the game. The puzzles were tedious and uninteresting including very time consuming physical puzzles, deciphering and reading. It was definitely not my style of game, even though I was incredibly excited for the theme. My husband and I both accomplished our personal goals, but somehow a decision was made on the final puzzle that did not include us and it was incorrect. If you choose incorrectly at the final puzzle, you lose. The answer is simple if you look at all of the puzzles in the game you will clearly see it. Nothing in the game is too complicated, it’s just all time consuming and there is a lot to do. I imagine this could be a fun game for a large group of beginners, but it was certainly not my kind of game.
Escape the Netherworld is an incredible escape room company with impressive games. They are perfect for large groups of all levels. Experienced players should also enjoy these games whether they have a team of two or group. (I would caution players from doing all three games back to back like we did though. The puzzles started to blend into each other because the puzzle styles are quite similar in all of the games.) My main frustration is that they have created the most outstanding payoffs for winning the games and you only get three hints during gameplay. I strongly feel that the experience of winning these games is as fun as the gameplay and everyone should really be encouraged to complete it within the allotted time. Therefore I wish they allowed for unlimited hints and would try to encourage everyone to get through. I know there will still be people that do not take the hints, but at least they’d have the option. If not then maybe consider making an equally impressive losing payoff.
THE ELEVATOR SHAFT
The Basement has always been ahead of the competition when it comes to immersion and storytelling in their incredibly fun horror escape games, but they’ve really outdone themselves with their latest game: The Elevator Shaft.
The Elevator Shaft is the new Chapter 2 in the 3 part story of The Basement escape games. It is in the space that the Boiler Room once occupied, but don’t be fooled by that because even though it replaced Boiler Room it is a completely different game. The technology is new and advanced compared to anything I have yet to see in an escape room. It features a hydraulic descending elevator hanging overhead, exciting audio effects, fog, water, and lighting effects. The set design is gorgeous, like something out of a movie. The tension that is created in the room is incredible. I’m fascinated by how the room breathes life into the story without using live actors inside the room.
Up to 6 guests are trapped inside this elevator shaft with only 45 minutes to escape. I personally think 3 players is the perfect number for this game, but everyone knows I always prefer to play alone or with only my hubby since we don’t have an established team with which we regularly play. However, I believe you need at least two people to complete the game due to certain puzzles. In my opinion, communication is much more essential in this particular game than the typical escape room. This is the perfect game for a group of friends, especially if they love the horror genre. I imagine it could be a nightmare for someone that is claustrophobic, though. Afterall it’s a fairly small space since it is the size of an elevator shaft with an elevator falling on you.
Here is the story of The Elevator Shaft taken directly from the press release:
About 3 months ago, cannibalistic serial killer, Edward Tandy hired an engineer named John to help him make some “engineering” changes to an antique service elevator on his property. After working on the elevator shaft for a day or two, it became clear to John that Edward’s use for this machine seemed sinister in nature. He confronted Edward and refused to help any longer. Edward told him that not only would he continue to work on the project, but that he would not be allowed to leave the compound until the project was complete, and if he did so, John’s wife and daughter would be killed. Now the project is done and John is long dead, his life taken inside the death trap he helped to build. You wake up and find yourself in the bottom of the shaft, with a video recorded by John himself. Unbeknownst to Edward, the engineer has hidden a series of steps within the inner workings of the elevator, that if you’re able to figure out, you can blow open the emergency access to the shaft and make a run for it. Can you decipher John’s notes, and find the secret sequence of steps in order to escape? Or will you be crushed by the 10-ton antique steel monster that hangs above?
The Elevator Shaft is one of the most immersive and unique escape rooms I’ve played and I highly recommend it.
THE LABORATORY ESCAPE ROOM
If you are looking for an interesting puzzle game with a lot to accomplish, this is your game. The Laboratory in DTLA has a unique style. It is especially good for large groups because of the amount of things to do throughout the game. I really enjoyed the way the game designers split the puzzles into smaller groupings allowing small groups within the large group to break off an work together in an organized and effective manner. It wasn’t the chaos I’ve come to expect from large games with so many puzzles. There is very little searching involved. The puzzles themselves are creative, but fairly simple. I believe this game is perfect for beginner and intermediate players because of the difficulty level of the individual puzzles, however I think most enthusiasts would also enjoy themselves and appreciate the experience.
My husband and I played the game alone, so the gamemaster removed a couple of the puzzle groupings to allow us to have a chance to beat the game. The way they accommodate smaller groups is to remove certain puzzles. I like the idea in theory, but we discovered that we’d prefer to play a complete game and possibly lose, than win at a game that isn’t complete. We beat the game and then asked if we could do more of the puzzles since we had extra time. We just didn’t feel that sense of accomplishment that we normally feel after beating an escape room. I don’t know if it would be the same for beginners.
The story is basic…solve puzzles in a lab to prove your intelligence or the bomb goes off. The puzzles aren’t especially connected to the theme, but they fit the world because the story sets up that it’s a challenge. The location is nice. There is no parking, so bring cash for nearby parking lots during the day. They have great customer service.
Overall, it’s a clever and unique game that will definitely keep the players busy.
UNITY ESCAPE ROOMS
We played both games at Unity Escape Rooms. I enjoyed the Cabin a bit more. They are a throwback to what escape rooms were like when we started playing. Watch the video below for more.