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Month: May 2017

Lockout Austin – The Cursed Ship

Lockout Austin – The Cursed Ship

Room Name: The Cursed Ship

Business: Lockout Austin

Location: 1700 South Lamar Suite #330, Austin, TX 78704

Date of Visit: May 28th, 2017

Number of Players: 2-6 Players

Our Group Size: 6

Official Description: Stranded on a desert island, you find an old ship. On board, you discover a captive who gives you harrowing news: You have 1 hour to escape, or the island is coming for you. What exactly is happening? Can you escape?

Watch the room’s trailer here.

Difficulty (official): This room boasts a success rate of only 22%. Our room guide stated afterwards that this is the hardest room available at this location.

Difficulty (experience): Medium-High. We were able to figure out what we needed to do for different puzzles, but there was trial and error involved as we tried to figure out the correct answers.

Time to Escape:  50:18

Review: Lockout Austin is situated in a nondescript building in a strip mall. We had no problems finding the location. When we entered, we noticed two lobby areas (a pre-holding/check-in room and the actual lobby). The staff greeted us cheerfully and check-in was very smooth; we were then allowed into the lobby. The lobby itself has a variety of puzzle warmups (metal detach puzzles, brain teasers, and a few more that were being used while we were there.) Another staff member then demonstrated two of the more unusual locks that we would encounter in the room (very helpful!) and also went over basic rules. After the briefing and setting the scene, we were allowed into our cursed ship.

This was the first room that we’ve done that had a live actor involved, and he was invested in setting the scene without giving any of the room’s secrets away. We were then free to explore and solve puzzles. The room’s decor is very thematic–a lot of love and care was put into making us feel like we were on a deserted island–even the locked boxes and chests kept up with the theme. We kept noticing little touches and nods to pop culture in the puzzles, which made it even more fun to solve. The room has several puzzles, and all of them required good teamwork–within our group, no one solved a puzzle alone. We cheered our escape, groaned when we were just two minutes away from making the leaderboard, and had a great time from start to finish.

While this is a small room, the amount and complexity of puzzles requires a moderate to large sized group. We recommend a group of at least four attempt this room.

Hints Used: We asked for a nudge when we felt stuck at one point and we were given four unprompted clues, three of which we had not yet figured out.

Clue Quality: Clues ranged from simple and outright to clever, but nothing was vague or without a logical answer.

Puzzle Creativity: High. A number of riddles and interesting interactive features, along with a mixture of unique combination locks and custom mechanisms made the room much more than searching for the key to the next Master Lock.

Rating: 5 out of 5. This was an awesome room and we all thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Fear Factor: There are some moments of intensity especially at the start of the game and when certain items are revealed, but nothing is frightening. The room is quite narrow which may induce some feelings of claustrophobia, but I (as the lone claustrophobe in our group), felt all right as the room has a high ceiling.

Things to Note: As Lockout Austin is in a strip mall, there is plenty of free parking available. The Cursed Ship room may frighten young children due to thematic elements and mildly intense moments.

Lockout Austin offers Groupon deals Sunday through Friday.

Outer Rim Escape San Marcos – Silicon Valley

Outer Rim Escape San Marcos – Silicon Valley

Room Name: Silicon Valley

Business: Outer Rim Escape San Marcos

Location: 700 N LBJ Dr. Suite 112, San Marcos, TX 78666

Date of Visit: May 20th, 2017

Number of Players: 2 (the website lists two, the leaderboard shows larger groups may be allowed, up to 4)

Our Group Size: 2

Official Description: You’ve received a disturbing video message from your friend David Chen asking you to come by his workplace. David works for a leading tech company in the valley and his video leaves you worrying his life might be at stake if you don’t come down there immediately. Upon arriving at David’s office his door slam shuts and a video on his computer starts… Your life, his life, and the lives of millions of people hang in the balance of what happens in the next hour. Can you and your team figure out what David left for you?

Difficulty (official): The owner has stated on social media that Silicon Valley is the easiest of their three rooms.

Difficulty (experience): Medium, mostly due to the time used to decode items.

Time to Escape:  45:00

Review: We arrived at Outer Rim Escape and were promptly greeted by a staff member, who both did a great job explaining the room and helping us through a payment problem. She confirmed that we understood how to use certain items within the room before leaving us to solve and explore. Some technical issues early on hindered our puzzle experience, but they were quickly solved and we got right down to solving.

The room itself has visibility issues (no overhead lighting, light is provided by standing lamps), as well as visibility issues concerning one of the puzzles that we found more frustrating than the puzzle itself. The puzzles are quite linear and there are very few, but the room gets creative with its technology theme, and we enjoyed having to use electronics to figure out puzzles versus pen and paper. Having an available whiteboard was a great touch, though.

What we found disappointing was how the room itself is styled. We both work in technology environments, and found the room to be lacking in decoration (no posters or toys, not even a coffee mug or general office accoutrements.)  Our excitement over the puzzles wasn’t enough to mitigate the lack of theme in the room.

We enjoyed escaping this room (and will be back to try out the other rooms). The staff is invested in providing a fun, quality experience in San Marcos, and they are reaching their goal.

Hints Used: One prompted hint that we had not fully explored an unlocked item.

Clue Quality: Clues are very linear and all lead to the end puzzle. We were a bit disappointed that unlocking one puzzle gave us all the clues to the next puzzle versus having to unlock several things to piece it all together.

Puzzle Creativity: Medium. Some fun surprises, but there weren’t very many puzzles to judge on.

Rating: 3.5/5

Fear Factor: None. The room is large and easy to move around in. The door in this room is locked but the players can unlock the door from their side at any time (e.g. emergencies).

Things to note: Outer Rim has several Groupon promotions. It is situated in a shopping center with plenty of available parking. This room may pose difficulties for people who have poor low-light vision.