RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 13:55
We found ourselves in another Egyptian Tomb. Doomed to be locked in for eternity (or worse!) Perhaps we should stop adventuring into cursed tombs, but they always look so appealing!
But hurry, time is short; you may be locked in forever, or worse!
We follow the footsteps of a world-traveling adventurer into a tomb from which he never returned. His disappearance becomes even more mysterious when we find he’s left clues to document his futile journey to escape. While we do find evidence of the clues he left behind, they seem scattered and we find no sign of the adventurer himself. We must follow the clues he left behind to solve the tomb’s puzzles and get out or be trapped forever.
It’s a thin story, but it actually plays a role in the room, with a few pieces of it being given by the adventurer himself in the form of some of his last words. Employing audio cues and featuring various elements of the puzzles themselves, the story developed during our time in the room as we advanced.
The additional narrative was delivered in a direct, but appropriate way which also conveyed clues to solutions to puzzles previously unknown.
Everything was not only theme-appropriate, but also high quality. There was zero sign of yard sale finds here. The hand-painted art and decor set the perfect mood and were incorporated into the puzzles themselves. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all used to enhance the atmosphere as well. All helped along by an ambient rumble throughout the game with light effects and sound cues for correct solutions and additional atmosphere for certain puzzles.
There was a small portion of the game that was very dark. While I understand why it wasn’t lit, I felt a little light would have improved the experience, especially for one of our group who left the room with a few scratches as a result of running directly into an ancient Egyptian wall.
The overall size of the room is good, enough to fit our large group of eight easily, but some areas were a bit cramped. Groups of six or fewer would certainly be fine.
The majority of the puzzles in the games at Escape Room Mystery are designed to keep the experience moving at a fast pace. Often, you’ll get to the end of the game exhausted (in the best way possible) at the shear amount of effort you put into solving them as the pace builds and the pressure mounts the closer you get to a conclusion. The Egyptian Tomb’s puzzles achieve this exceptionally well compared to other rooms I’ve done. They flow well into one-another, with very clear minor and major goals. They are each distinct and all appropriately themed – using hieroglyphics, Egyptian astronomy, audio recordings from the lost adventurer, and other story appropriate elements.
The puzzles are also structured like a pyramid, with many branching at the beginning leading to fewer and fewer as you progress, finally culminating in a thrilling finale challenge that requires teamwork and a frantic hunt with great environmental lighting that changes contextually to really get your heart racing and your mind clamoring to escape.
What really stood out was the use of environmental elements in puzzles incorporated onto the walls and even the ceiling of the game. While not everything was useful, there were no “out of place symbols on the wall”. The game was very good at hiding some puzzle features in plain sight until you needed them. At the same time, I always felt the game provided enough context for the elements when needed.
It’s not all roses, however. There was a 4 by 4 sliding tile puzzle that, while not a stand-alone puzzle, (it’s solution was used in a larger puzzle sequence) seemed distinctly out of place among the rest of the room. Another issue was the physical distance and barriers between puzzles and solutions combined with a lack of lighting in one small area that made it slightly frustrating (and at times harrowing) to traverse the dark and maze-like hallway close to the climax of the game.
The Egyptian Tomb was a quintessential Egyptian themed escape game that blended the best of room design, puzzle design, structure, and story (albeit thin to start) together into one of the most enjoyable games we’ve done to date. Yes, “Tombs” are overdone, but the greatness of the experience is only amplified by the themes prevalence and established mediocrity.
The Egyptian Tomb was excellent and exhilarating. Yes, the game does have a few minor problems, but those don’t detract at all from the tour de force that was this experience. Being Escape Room Mystery’s best game is impressive given the high bar set by the others, and we left feeling accomplished and thrilled to have experienced it.
Venue: Escape Room Mystery
Location: King of Prussia, PA
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers
Cost: $28 per person