• Anna

Review: Last Wish

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

Puzzessed Escape Games, Albuquerque, New Mexico

#108, Won, $22/person

Puzzessed was our 3rd room of the day and I was raring to go. Fight. Fight fight fight.

Our escape average hovers around 80% (it would probably be a little higher but we regularly beg to be allowed to play games that require more than 2 players) and the more rooms we do the harder it is to make that average budge, so any time we lose a game I’m enraged enough to bring out my inner Meg Ryan and fight. Fight fight fight. Though we hadn’t lost the room before this one, I felt we had been “hinted” out of it, which is almost as bad.

The first impression of Puzzessed as a business is: invested and caring. The owners are knowledgeable to talk to and told us the places to hit and avoid for food while we were in town, even the best routes to take to drive there. I love the non-corporate feel of this place and that the walls are adorned by local art.

In Last Wish, your father sent you a letter that you receive after his funeral leading you to an elaborate puzzle in a secret office that no one knew about. The plot carries throughout the game by a series of cassette tapes being uncovered that he left for you. Yep, you read me right, cassette tapes.

Using an everyday item that is past its prime is an interesting element in an escape room. It creates a “puzzle” where there is no real puzzle and can allow the older crowd, who might be hesitant about the unknown prospects of an escape room, to feel instantly valuable because of the knowledge they bring to the table. It’s important to make whatever this artifact is fit into the game and not stick out like a sore gimmicky thumb. Puzzessed did a great job making their room immersive with both decor and props.

There were a few puzzles in Last Wish where the creators added extra clues after the fact to try to help the puzzler get to the right track. We’ve run into this in a few games. In an effort to guide players, what actually ends up happening is that there are too many clues and sometimes this throws players off track instead of clarifying as is the intent.

This is an easy trap to fall into. The puzzle makes sense to the creator but they see a trend of a sticky spot in their escape room and go for the quick fix. By quick fix, I don’t mean the lazy fix, but the fix that does not affect other puzzles, props, or flow of the rest of the game. Most of the time a “broken” puzzle cannot be fixed that easily.

Enough about that, as it was only a small portion of the room, though important to point out. Other puzzles in the room were innovative and there are a few really fun surprises waiting for players. Last Wish utilizes the space of the room very well incorporating elements and pieces that extend the game past just what you see when you enter. A few of the puzzles stand out in my mind as being either something I haven’t seen in an escape room before or the first time I had seen it.

My favorite thing about the experience at Puzzessed was the obvious effort they are putting into continually tweaking and refining the game. Overall a really solid room and a business I’d love to play another room at once they open another up.

Puzzles: A few standouts and a few been-there-done-thats. Theme: I frequently lose sight of the theme in escape rooms but Last Wist keeps you in the whole time. Game Master: Attentive, no issues. Upkeep: Continual maintenance obviously done. Customer Service: Outstanding. Extras: Minus 1 for extra clues that ended up convoluting instead of helping.

MORE Puzzles, Please

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