Fun Time Game Show Challenge at Escape Factor is one of my favorite Escape Rooms in the Midwest. I happen to be slightly obsessed with escape rooms and being a game show contestant, so two of my worlds collided in this experience. I was lucky enough to be able to book a last minute game with three strangers and fit this in my Chicago weekend trip. They were a great team of experienced players. We were able to work together to escape in time. I love the set design and props. The bright colors and familiar themes made it even more like a real game show set. The puzzles were fun and creative. I especially enjoyed the word puzzles and physical challenges. There are a few activities that are especially good for new players such as doing simple tasks repeatedly, but nothing that I found annoying or frustrating as an experienced player (like excessive amounts of math or searching). The flow of the game was spot on. The game master is in the room with you as a character. Most importantly the game was very fun! I highly recommend this escape room for all experience levels.
I also played the 30 minute doctor’s office game alone. It’s a fun, logical, clever escape room. The theme is doctors waiting room, so the set isn’t anything especially spectacular compared to their hour games. I enjoyed the interaction of the game master in character. I would recommend the game be played with two people, but doable with one. Overall I had a fun time playing the game and thought the puzzles were enjoyable.
Before leaving for the day I played the 15 minute challenge in the lobby. It’s a fun little challenge game. They also take it to fairs and festivals if I understood correctly. It’s a quick, standard escape puzzle game. It’s fun.
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
Mind Trap – Storm Surge
I had the pleasure of checking out Vault Escape while in Chicago for the weekend. I didn’t plan ahead, so I was happy to book the small one player game in the front window of the location. It was a really clever idea and use of space. I like circuses so I quite enjoyed the theme. There aren’t as many puzzles as the hour long games and you don’t get hints on this one. I had a bit of trouble with some of the tech malfunctioning. Luckily one of the game masters realized it and stepped in to help. It’s a fun little game in the storefront. I had the opportunity to peak into one of the other games and that looked well done. Unfortunately I didn’t have time in my schedule to play any of the full length games at the location.
I love Six Flags Fright Fest in my home park of Magic Mountain, so I figured I’d attend Fright Fest at Great America while visiting the Chicago-land area. I was sorely disappointed. It’s nearly impossible not to try and compare the two parks, but they are so drastically different that they can’t really be compared. I came to Great America with the expectation of seeing professional haunted attractions like their sister park and what I found were teenagers running around in plywood mazes decorated with cheap props and hardly any set pieces. The Hell Fest maze was one of the best overall, it had a few visually impressive scenes. All of the mazed lacked scares. The actors didn’t seem to grasp the concept of setups for scares. The cast also seemed to lack motivation to remain actively in character. Almost all of the characters seemed to specifically avoid my camera while trying to catch them in action in the scare zones for social media and my youtube channel. The one stand-out exception is the Ring Master. The Ring Master seemed like a very well trained, talented performer among a cast that overall appeared like they didn’t even want to be there. I also noticed one female chainsaw actor that was working very hard in a scare zone while everyone else trudged along looking like overworked lumberjacks. I honestly can’t remember most of the mazes now as I write this only a few days later because they were that forgettable. I do remember the price tag…$50 for front of the line fright fest pass on top of park admission. I have an annual pass that allows me access to the park, but even so this event isn’t worth the general line cost of $35 unless you are a local that plans to attend multiple nights and just wants something to do in the evenings that’s Halloween related for the month of October. I made it through all of the mazes, but didn’t have the opportunity to see any of the shows. It does appear that there are some fun live performances on the schedule. Thank you to the Ring Master that turned around my night right at the end as I was leaving.
I also want to take a moment to point out that the guests at this Six Flags theme park seemed much less respectful than all other Six Flags parks I’ve visited. I saw kids in the mazes playing on a set piece, kicking walls, grabbing props and all around being jerks whether they were in groups with friends or with their parents. I imagine being part of the cast at this park can be especially difficult at times.
Overall I can’t really recommend Great America Fright Fest 2018, but want to reiterate that every Six Flags Fright Fest is unique so this doesn’t reflect my opinion of Fright Fests across the country.