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Month: June 2019

The Exit Game Escape Room – Sherlock Holmes: Parliament Games

The Exit Game Escape Room – Sherlock Holmes: Parliament Games

The Exit Game

Room Name: Sherlock Holmes: Parliament Games

Business: The Exit Game Escape Room

Location: 5720 Bandera Rd STE 23, San Antonio, TX 78238

Date of Visit: May 19, 2019

Number of Players: 4-8

Our Group Size: 4, we recommend no more than 6

Official Description: Sherlock Holmes is on the trail of a member of Parliament determined to continue the work of Guy Fawkes. You are now Sherlock’s only hope to stop England from falling and save the queen. Sherlock has left you to finish his investigation and stop destruction of Parliament. Are you ready? Do you have what it takes? What’s the point in being clever if you can’t prove it? -SH

Difficulty (official): The Exit Game’s difficulty scale rated this game as a 4 out of 5.

Difficulty (experience): Medium

Time to Escape: About 43 minutes.

Review: We had plenty of time to spare after finishing Trapped Below, and our group decided to try out a different room at the nearby Exit Game Escape Room in San Antonio. The staff was very accommodating to our last minute booking, and we quickly found the business on the second floor of a nearby shopping center. Our gamemaster escorted us to the room almost immediately after we arrived, and, after a brief overview, began the game.

We were really excited to give a Sherlock Holmes themed room another go, especially after our experience at Escape Haus left us wanting. Unfortunately for our group, the decor was quite lacking. This was another room where removing the UK flag and a painting would render its design into a generic ‘escape the home office.’ Nothing in the room really screamed ‘Parliament’ to us. But to its credit, most of the furniture was integrated into the room design and puzzles, which we appreciated.  The space did do a good job of eliminating red herrings, but then suffers from being a little empty.

This room had a really fun reveal with a delivery we hadn’t seen before, and we enjoyed the creativity. This is also the first room we’ve been in that had a locker combination lock, but this addition broke the theme a bit. It didn’t really feel like it fit into the space properly. In my opinion, this kind of lock doesn’t really work well in an escape room unless it’s school-themed—and it felt very out of place in a Sherlock room.

The puzzles themselves were fairly standard for an escape room; there were a couple that we thought had a unique solution and kept us puzzling for a bit. However, we skipped one lock designed to open up fairly early into our experience and we didn’t figure out the solution for it until much later. This unfortunately rendered the clues provided behind the lock useless. This was the one puzzle for which we required a hint. Our group searched for some indication for a clue to the lock’s solution but none existed. As a result, we spent too much time trying to figure it out.

The answer to the aforementioned puzzle also required outside information; our group saw no reference material that another party could use to solve this puzzle without possessing this outside knowledge. However trivial this information may seem to a game designer, it should never be assumed that everyone will carry this knowledge into the room with them. This just leads to lots of frustration.

Our group discussed the room’s plotline after the game, and we all agreed the dissonance between the trailer and the actual room was a let-down. We just played yet another room where our resolution came sooner than we expected. Again, after solving the final puzzle we had another ‘that’s it?’ moment. We’re seeing this a lot in rooms in Texas, and I’m hoping that as these businesses grow, they give a more satisfying end to the experience. These rooms often feel more like scavenger hunts and less like puzzle or escape rooms. We enjoyed our time in the room, but felt this was on the easier end of experiences and not as challenging as we had hoped.

The Exit Game

Hints Used: Exit Game only allows a limited number of hints. We asked for one and also received an unprompted hint.

Clue Quality : Some of the clues bordered on the vague side, but overall they were easy to understand in the end.

Puzzle Creativity: We enjoyed the endgame puzzle, but the rest of the puzzles were pretty standard for an escape.

Rating: 3 / 5.

Fear Factor:  None

Things to note: The Exit Game Escape Rooms is located in a shopping center with plenty of available parking. The room is on the second floor with available elevator access near the stairs. They offer discounts if at least four people book at the same time on certain days of the week. This room requires at least one person to be able to crawl a short distance.

Extreme Escape Colonnade – Trapped Below

Extreme Escape Colonnade – Trapped Below

Extreme Escape Logo

Room Name: Trapped Below

Business: Extreme Escape – Colonnade

Location: 9995 I-10, San Antonio, TX 78230

Date of Visit: May 19, 2019

Number of Players: 1-8

Our Group Size: 4, we recommend no more than 4 or 5

Official Description: 

San Antonio’s newest and most interactive Escape Room is here! Trapped Below will push all boundaries as you venture deep below the Earth’s surface in a dilapidated elevator lift where teamwork and use of your senses is needed to try and capture a legendary treasure and escape!

Trapped Below Escape Game can accommodate up to 8 challengers at once. Each team will be given 1 hour to unfold the story and escape in time!

Difficulty (official): Extreme Escape uses several scales to give an official difficulty, including puzzle savvy and intellect. This rated on the medium-high side.

Difficulty (experience): Easy

Time to Escape: 33:02

Extreme Escape Colonnade

Review: While we weren’t terribly impressed with our journey to The Other Side, we decided to give Extreme Escape another chance at their second location in San Antonio and see what would happen while we were Trapped Below. We had seen this room advertised before, and the teaser video made it look intriguing. Our group of four put on our miner’s hats (not really) and began the descent to our newest adventure.

The room begins in the mine elevator for a brief amount of puzzling before moving onto the mine shaft. This time we were more impressed with Extreme Escape’s decorating skills. The dim lighting was immersive and the mine appeared worn and distressed.  To aid in our escape, our party received mechanically powered flashlights. Considering the lack of light in the entire room, however, this wasn’t a great choice. I spent more time powering up my flashlight than I did really exploring and solving puzzles. A lantern or at least one battery-powered flashlight would have been much more useful.

Extreme Escape Colonnade

While the room isn’t devoid of combination and traditional keylocks, there were a few interesting mechs in the room that were welcome. Nothing stood out as out of place or without reason in the room and we appreciated the variety of tasks to accomplish during the escape. Like The Other Side the gameplay is very linear, but we had a few mid-game points where our group worked on separate parts of the room simultaneously.  The puzzles incorporated into the room fit the theme extremely well, but we found they didn’t pose much of a challenge to our group of mostly veterans.

There were a couple of creative clue deliveries, and the beginning of the endgame excited us all. But when we finished the game, there was a ‘that’s it?’ feeling. We escaped the mine and ended up back in the room’s waiting area. Nothing really indicated that we won until we opened the door to the lobby and asked. The members of our group felt disappointed at how anticlimactic the room ended, however, we recommend this one over The Other Side due to the slightly branching gameplay.

Extreme Escape Colonnade

Hints Used: None

Clue Quality : The clues in the room were a lot more like what we have come to expect from the Escape Rooms we’ve completed (including one very clever delivery method). Extreme Escape managed to refrain from using vague clues but also avoided overly specific suggestions. This required our group to expend some effort of creative thought into our escape which we appreciated.

Puzzle Creativity: We don’t really remember any major standout puzzles here (although we did notice a couple of reused elements from our Other Side jaunt). Some puzzles are fun, but they still felt very standard. This room again feels tailored toward beginners or younger players.

Rating: 3 / 5.

Fear Factor: The opening act of this puzzle is in a slightly enclosed area with some surprising physical action, but nothing openly designed to be frightening.

Things to note: Extreme Escape has multiple methods to obtain discounted games including Groupon. Extreme Escape also offers free tickets to first responders and military personnel along with discounted tickets to their family members. Extreme Escape Colonnade is on the second floor of a strip shopping center with elevator access.

Extreme Escape Colonnade

Extreme Escape Stone Oak – The Other Side

Extreme Escape Stone Oak – The Other Side

Extreme Escape Logo

Room Name: The Other Side

Business: Extreme Escape – Stone Oak

Location: 434 N Loop 1604 West ste 1204 San Antonio, TX 78232

Date of Visit: April 7, 2019

Number of Players: 2-8

Our Group Size: 4, we recommend keeping groups under 6

Official Description: Supernatural forces have taken over a small town and you’re their only hope. Venture into a dark dimension in hopes of finding the lost boy, but tread carefully as creatures await your arrival…. will you survive The Other Side?

Difficulty (official): Extreme Escape uses several scales to give an official difficulty, including puzzle savvy and intellect. This rated on the medium to high side on all scales.

Difficulty (experience): Easy

Time to Escape: 50:00

Extreme Escape - The Other Side

Review: Our group was full of 80s babies and Stranger Things fans, so when we saw this one listed on Extreme Escape we were ready! “This is going to be fantastic,” we squealed all the way from breakfast to the room. We were looking forward to something special.

Luckily, the room was close to our breakfast spot. It was easy to find the shopping center but the Extreme Escape sign blended in with the building and it took us a bit to find its location. We were greeted promptly and ushered to our room. The first thing that we noticed was knotty pine and a CRT television for hints. That was all we needed to get into the 80s mood. It wasn’t until the introductory videos ended and the timer started that we noticed how bare the space really was. While I’m not huge on having a space full of red herrings, this room required more decoration to really make it feel lived in.

Extreme Escape - The Other Side

We solved the first couple of puzzles fairly quickly, and soon came to a conclusion: this room was both entirely linear (with only one puzzle to work on at a time) and presented as a task list. As soon as we finished one puzzle we were immediately directed to the next one. We’ve done task-list-type rooms before (Houston, We’ve Had a Problem) but the latter had more puzzling and critical thought required to complete the required actions. Here, however, the room spoon-fed answers to us. One puzzle and clue stood out as incredibly creative, and we just wished that same creativity extended throughout the rest of the game.

Extreme Escape - The Other Side

When we made it into the second act of the escape, we again faced ideas that needed better execution. The puzzles were extremely hand-holdy with not enough to work on simultaneously as a group of four. This room could have benefited from more than just dim light and a couple of “spooky” props to provide an immersive experience. One puzzle could have provided a good fright, but it was quickly resolved. We just didn’t feel much of the urgency that the second act was desperately trying to provide.

This is a good room for beginners and families. This isn’t a room in San Antonio that must be done by enthusiasts, but it is something to check out if you have some free time or are huge Stranger Things fans.

Extreme Escape - The Other Side

Hints Used: Our game master gave us a couple of unprompted hints. These were due to technical failures and a reminder about a missed lock.

Clue Quality : The clues were overly generous. There was really nothing that we had to puzzle over. I was annoyed with one lock because of a spelling error in the solution.

Puzzle Creativity: There was one standout puzzle with a satisfying conclusion, but the rest of the puzzles were standard for escape rooms.

Rating: 2.25 / 5

Fear Factor:  A very mild scare in the second half of the room may frighten younger children.

Things to note: This location is located on the second floor of a shopping center. Elevators are clearly marked if needed and located on the other end of the building from the stairs nearest the escape room. Parking is ample and free. Extreme Escape offers frequent Groupons for both of its San Antonio locations.