Browsed by
Category: Failed!

Escape Space Games San Marcos – The Play House

Escape Space Games San Marcos – The Play House

Escape Space

Room Name: The Play House

Business: Escape Space Games San Marcos

Location: 1508 Aquarena Springs Dr, San Marcos, TX 78666

Date of Visit: April 8, 2018

Number of Players: 2

Our Group Size: 2

Official Description: The Play House takes place after hours at your friendly neighborhood daycare… but once the lights go out, things may not appear as they seem… Dolls, toys, and puzzles are fun to play with, but what if they decide to play with you… You and your team will have 60 mins to solve the puzzles and escape before you become just another toy in… The Play House!

Difficulty (official): Not stated. We were told that it was not their most difficult room.

Difficulty (experience): It is definitely the most frustrating room we’ve played.

Time to Escape:  Did not escape.

Review: “A room done in the dark with flashlights!” we cried. “How cool is that?”

Answer: Incredibly hot.

We were excited to try Escape Space’s newest offering, especially after thoroughly enjoying The Endorsement. Instead of the decent quality of our previous escapes here, we were led into a tiny, haphazardly-slapped together room that resembled less of a ‘daycare after dark’ and more of ‘child’s bedroom after playing because he’s too young to know how to put away his toys.’ There was very little airflow in the room, and despite Texas being in a cold snap, we were sweating buckets after an hour in there. Escape Space has had problems with airflow in rooms, but this was the most noticeable.

The room was very tiny (smaller than my shoebox apartment in Tokyo), which made it difficult for two adults to maneuver around the furniture and solve puzzles at the same time. We had two already-opened locks, a lock so old and used that the letters were unreadable, and technical issues that, combined with the vague and sometimes misleading nature of the clues, led to an unpleasant experience.

(Note: This isn’t just us whining about losing – see our review of Houston, We’ve Had a Problem for our spectacular experience.)

The main puzzle was creative in its execution, as was one of the early puzzles.  However, we spent most of the time sorting through the props in the room to find clues and puzzles than we did actually solving. When we asked for clarification on a puzzle that we were unable to solve at the end of our game, our operator gave off the impression that they did not seem to understand the solution either.

Hints Used: Too many. Our operator was also pretty clearly reading from a walkthrough -we’d ask for help on one puzzle, she’d direct us to something else that needed solving instead of what we were doing.

Clue Quality : Low. Some clues were clever, however one in particular cost us quite a bit of time due to its misleading nature.

Puzzle Creativity: A couple of standout moments, but mostly run of the mill. The unreadable lock was a huge stumbling block – it’s hard to put in a word when the letters are almost all completely worn off.

Rating: 2/5. Come on Escape Space, we know you can make some really fantastic rooms!

Fear Factor:  None.

Things to note: This room takes place entirely in the dark and provides little room to maneuver – this is not a room for someone with mobility concerns. Escape Space San Marcos is currently running a Groupon for reduced price games.

Escape Hunt Houston – Houston We’ve Had A Problem

Escape Hunt Houston – Houston We’ve Had A Problem

Room Name: Houston, We’ve Had a Problem

Business: Escape Hunt Houston

Location: 125 W Gray St Suite 100, Houston, TX 77019

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.

The well-decorated and inviting lobby at Escape Hunt Houston

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 🙁

Something tells me their murder mystery room is as well-decorated

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.

You failed to save the astronauts. Wouldn’t you prefer a nice game of chess?

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: 4.75 – Aside from some frustrations with certain puzzles, we all enjoyed the experience and recommend it to Houston players.

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.