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Author: katamari

Project Panic – End of the Line

Project Panic – End of the Line

Room Name:  End of the Line

Business: Project Panic

Location: 4403 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX 78751

Date of Visit: June 30th, 2018

Number of Players: 4-8

Our Group Size: 8, we recommend 6-8

Official Description: For years there have been rumors that the city’s trusty and seemingly innocent subway system has a darker underbelly – it is home to a number of notorious crime gangs. It’s now time to put these rumors to rest! Acting off a tip that a now closed subway line could lead to a coveted hideout, you and your highly trained team decide to take matters into your own hands and begin an investigation of an abandoned station. Will you take the fast track to deliver justice or take an unexpected detour on the way?

Difficulty (official):  Our host stated that this is the harder of their two rooms. The website lists its official difficulty as 7.5/10.

Difficulty (experience): Medium

Time to Escape: 39:00

Review: 

We finally had the time and money to do a new room, and our Escape Room RNG pointed to Project Panic, an offshoot of Austin Panic Room and one of the newest escape experiences in Austin. The location was easy to find (signage for the location is on the glass, not the building itself) and had a small parking lot attached behind the building. We were very thankful for this; parking in Austin on the weekends can be difficult, and pricey, in some locations.

The new location is brightly lit and welcoming, however there were AC issues on our visit which made us somewhat uncomfortable. Our game master greeted us immediately and gave a simple but funny explanation of basic game rules before leading us into the game space.

We’ve played a game from this same company (last year’s Cabin Fever), and like Cabin Fever, this space outdid themselves in decoration. The room is divided into station and subway, and they did a great job creating a derelict station with a cleaner subway car. We really appreciated that the decorative touches all fit seamlessly into puzzles, nothing seemed forced or out of place.

End of the Line is notable for its use of technology; all wires were hidden and puzzles that dealt with technology use were integrated extremely well into the room. This was particularly noticeable with one late-game puzzle on which we all enjoyed working.

While the room was very linear, which can cause problems with a large group, there were enough puzzles that needed to be worked on simultaneously that everyone was always busy. The room was very teamwork oriented; each puzzle had at least two people attempting to solve it.  We were happy that while the room had several escape room staples, they included clever twists. This is one of the few rooms where I’ve had to wait to find all the clues before finding answers.

The biggest drawback we felt was the theme implementation. Without giving too much away, we felt that the premise of the room really wasn’t executed well and the experience ended abruptly without really addressing the scenario again —changing the premise to an urbex adventure or a secret subway could add more to the theme.

Hints Used: Three unprompted (one due to a slight technical failure) and one verification of a “Do Not Touch” sticker. Our host was excellent in his hints; he managed to keep us on track without giving us answers.

Clue Quality : Clues within the game were worked extremely well into the room, only one screamed out as an obvious clue.

Puzzle Creativity: Puzzles were very clever, and while we recognized a couple of pathways from having done several rooms and being puzzle hounds in general, there was enough different about them to keep them interesting.

Rating: 4.75/5

Fear Factor:  None, a few moments of very mild intensity.

Things to note: There are several light and color puzzles, colorblind players should probably avoid this experience.

Escape The Room San Antonio – Western Bank Heist

Escape The Room San Antonio – Western Bank Heist

Room Name: Western Bank Heist

Business: Escape the Room San Antonio

Location: 315 E Commerce St #100, San Antonio, TX 78205

Date of Visit: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

Number of Players: Up to 10

Our Group Size: 9, we recommend 4-6

Official Description: Black Bart, the Dalton Gang and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all were famous for their daring robberies. Now you and your accomplices have 60 minutes to make the biggest score in history. Do you have what it takes to join the notorious?

Difficulty (official): The staff stated this is their easiest room.

Difficulty (experience): Easy-Medium

Time to Escape: 58:00

 

This black and white theme spans all of Escape The Room’s Locations

Review: We had been excited to do this room after a friend recommended trying Escape the Room, as the photographs on the website showed that the room was richly detailed. As we knew we would have a large group, we chose this room in particular due to the space we saw in the aforementioned photographs.

The place was easy to find as downtown San Antonio isn’t too difficult to navigate. We arrived fifteen minutes early and were greeted by…

…well, no one, actually. We assumed that the staff was busy setting up the room as it was the first of the day, so we tried to amuse ourselves with the available time-wasters (which consisted of board games) in the lobby. As our group trickled in, the front desk staff finally appeared, but didn’t greet us or seem to acknowledge our presence until immediately prior to the game starting. She was quite friendly and helpful, however that first interaction soured us a bit on their customer service.

 

Jenga! Jenga! Jenga!

The room matched the website photos perfectly; there was a lot of care and thought put into it to make it feel like a bank in the Wild West. We appreciated all of the decorative touches, such as the antique safe and the wanted posters on the wall. These and other fun surprises in the room contributed to a full immersion in the room’s theme.

Unfortunately, we can’t quite say the same about the puzzles. The room is very linear, and we kept running into bottlenecks with such a large group as there was only one puzzle to really work on at a time. The inputs really didn’t follow any logical thread, and we wasted a lot of time trying to find inputs for codes and where each code went. We’re not fans of just guessing at the answers to puzzles, and we felt this was more of a brute forcing game than a puzzler’s game.

We would still like to go back and see what other rooms are on offer, as we were told that the other rooms at this location are more puzzle-based and not as linear.

 

Escape The Room

Hints Used: We asked for two or three, but were given several unprompted as is the room’s policy to keep players on task.

Clue Quality: Clues were delivered via video, monitor, and microphone. We received the same hint several times, which caused frustration. The clues felt muddy and hard to follow at times.

Puzzle Creativity: Most of our praise for the room comes from the visual aspects and small surprises that came when solving a puzzle, but the puzzles themselves weren’t incredibly memorable.

Rating: 3.25/5

Fear Factor: None

Things to note: Escape the Room San Antonio does not have a dedicated lot, but there is a paid public lot behind the building and some street parking, though the road is busy. Western Bank Heist is family-friendly. As of this writing we did not see any advertisements on Groupon.