Room Name: Houston, We’ve Had a Problem
Business: Escape Hunt Houston
Date of Visit: October 20th, 2017
Number of Players: 6-12 (hard minimum)
Our Group Size: 9, we recommend as many as you can get.
Official Description: The most realistic Escape room in the U.S. patterned after the Apollo 13 Lunar Mission that has been called ‘the successful failure’. You and your team will be awed by the realism and fun of this escape room. Working under pressure, your team will need to help your astronauts return home safely from space. You have 60 minutes to save the crew.
Difficulty (official): We were informed that this is their hardest room.
Difficulty (experience): They weren’t lying.
Time to Escape: Failed with thirty seconds left in the final puzzle 🙁
Review: We were in Houston for the Houston Arcade Expo, so of course we had to experience an escape that the city had to offer. After a long day of driving and pinball madness, we headed to Escape Hunt. We’re not that familiar with the city but were able to find the building easily.
Escape Hunt’s lobby is reminiscent of your grandmother’s parlor, the one that you weren’t allowed to sit in unless it was a special occasion. We were greeted almost immediately and found the staff members to be extremely polite and friendly.
Prior to entering the room, we were told the story of how the room was built to mirror exactly how Mission Control looked during the Apollo 13 mission, with the puzzles mimicking the challenges that the astronauts faced. We had read the incredible Ars Technica article about the authenticity of the room and were even more excited to experience an escape that wasn’t quite an escape (and while we both survived, our friends weren’t so lucky).
The room’s set design is incredible, and the use of vintage electronics and early 70s touches (such as cigarette props and a chalkboard instead of a whiteboard for puzzles) showed its commitment to providing an authentic atmosphere. Escape Hunt took great care in this room to conceal more modern wiring, and necessary items such as the countdown clock were built into the consoles. We kept discovering little touches in the room that made it all the more fun to experience.
The room is divided into Mission Control and the space shuttle, and once the astronauts enter the shuttle, communication can only be done by one person from MC. The rest of us were tasked with solving various puzzles and tasks to try and get our astronauts back on Earth.
Seeing as the room is more of a simulation than an escape, this is definitely a room for the more math and science-inclined as the puzzling leaned more towards analyzing and logic than codes or wordplay. I still had a great time in the room—the puzzles were linear but there was enough of them that we could all work on something except for one bottleneck.
Communication is absolutely key in this room – potential players should make sure that they are with an experienced group who clearly and concisely communicate their actions during the game. The game is less about puzzles and more about time management.
Hints Used: Two – one for a puzzle, one for what we thought was technical failure.
Clue Quality : Clues were easily present, there was little searching needed. They were presented in a manner that explained the next steps in the puzzles, but were vague enough that they required critical thinking to understand.
Puzzle Creativity: Most of the objectives weren’t necessarily puzzles – a step-by-step plan is presented immediately upon room entrance. The objectives fit incredibly well into the room; there were no anachronisms that pulled us out of the room for the sake of adding puzzles to the escape.
Rating: 5 / 5. – Aside from some frustrations with certain puzzles, we all enjoyed the experience and recommend it to Houston players. The frustrations don’t outweigh the excellent design and unique experience created here.
Fear Factor: None outside of the horrible dread of reaching the hour mark and realizing you just killed all your friends.
Things to note: There is no parking lot at Escape Hunt, street parking is available. We would not recommend this room for children under 13 due to the difficulty of the puzzles. Certain areas of the room required physical agility (such as crawling). As of this writing, Escape Hunt does not have a Groupon available.