Review: Escape Game Night
Escape Adventure, Mesa, AZ
#31, Lost, $28/person
Looking at my game room, it’s probably not difficult to guess that I love to play board games.
So when I heard that one of my favorite escape companies in Arizona had a “game night” themed escape room, I was frothing at the mouth to have a go at it.
There isn’t really a story to this escape experience, but the care that the owners have put into developing each room in the experience means that you don’t really need a story. The players start in the Monopoly room, and I don’t exaggerate at all when I say that it feels like you’ve stepped into the game. After running through some puzzles that feel like they’d be right at home in Monopoly, the players make their way into a Scrabble-themed room. We hope you like letter tiles, because we feel like this is probably where you’re going to spend the bulk of your time. If you make it through the Scrabble area, you’ll enter a parlor, with— you guessed it— a variety of different parlor games (think chess, pool, cards, etc.).
Wow… just giving that quick description makes me want to go through this room again, right now! We had an amazing time going through this experience. There are SO many aspects of each room and there’s nothing out of place. We were warned before going through “Escape Game Night” that this was probably the most challenging room to escape at this location, and we were not disappointed. We made it into the parlor, but we were a few minutes short of actually escaping. Alas.
Escape Adventures has some amazingly well-crafted rooms and the love of the hobby is evident in their games and their treatment of customers. We think that you should absolutely stop by here and play. That said, for a couple of reasons, “Escape Game Night” is not for everyone. I think that escape room veterans will adore this room, but if you’re new, or some of the below caveats don’t sound great, you might want to start with their “Escape Wonderland” or “Patriot Path” rooms, both of which are also brilliant, and both of which we’ll be reviewing here eventually.
Calculator required The first room is going to reward people who can do simple math. I believe that they gave us a calculator, but Team Bluefish laughs in the face of calculators, so we did the math in our head. When we got it wrong, it was nice to be able to fall back to the calculator. My only point here is that some people are not going to be satisfied with the puzzles in this room. It absolutely fits the aesthetic, but rote addition can feel like work after a while, instead of an escape room.
Lock-city The Scrabble room has more locks per square foot of space than any other escape room that we’ve been in. EVER! At this writing, we’ve gone through nearly 100 games, so we’re talking about a lot of locks. It looks kind of cool (or maybe intimidating) to newer players, but when we see those locks, our reaction is “….Ughhh….I’m gonna have to spin all of those locks, aren’t I?” We believe that solving a puzzle is fun… spinning a lock, not so much.
Multiple encodings If you remember Scrabble, you’ll remember that each letter has two numbers associated with it: the number of tiles of that letter in the game, and the number of points that each one of those tiles is worth. You’ll PROBABLY wink, wink want to turn some letters into some numbers, but we felt like there wasn’t really a clear direction as to which encoding method we should use.
I want to make it clear one final time that these few things are nitpicks that we felt ought to be mentioned after really putting this room under a microscope. The experience is brilliant, and if you think you’re up for a bit of a challenge you should head to Escape Adventures and take a run at this room… and then the others! This room is definitely one of my favorites and the whole location is brilliant.
Final rating for Escape Game Night
Puzzles: Very good in general, but a few of them involved too much rote math. Theme: Loved the theme, but the rooms didn't feel like they were tied together by any story. Game Master: Excellent. No problems at all. Upkeep: Excellent. For so many props to interact with, it's amazing how good the condition of this room is. Customer Service: Excellent as always. It's a pleasure to be around all of the Escape Adventures staff. Extras: +2 for a brave, well-executed attempt at a unique theme.