RATING: 2 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 15:42
Come in Star Command. I seem to have crashed in a world completely devoid of intelligent life. To infringe-ity … and beyond!
Ah vacation time is in the air! The bags are packed, the car is gassed up, and your parents are finishing up everything to leave. There’s only one problem, you can’t find your favorite toys Woody and Buzz! With your parents trying to hit the road in one hour, you only have one goal in mind. Find your toys before the car ride becomes your worst, most boring nightmare!
I’m going to point out the obvious here, right off the bat. Yes, this is a game at least “based on” or “inspired by” by an existing intellectual property. I can’t ignore this fact when considering the effectiveness of the concepts put forth in the game.
The story here is essentially “find Woody and Buzz in an hour” – but perhaps it would be better suited to be “Find the IP Licence before Disney/Pixar arrives. While we obviously are not in a position to say for certain that this – or any other game isn’t licensed, we can say this: The Walt Disney Company is just not in the business of licencing their characters for use in another company’s attraction. So there’s that.
As we enter, we are hit with cardboard boxes scattered all over the floor. This is part of a puzzle, of course, and does tie-in to the room’s theme and story. The boxes, however, are pretty off-putting. They looked crinkled and poorly taped. The room is a pretty good representation of a children’s room otherwise. There was a bed in a corner and a locked nightstand next to it. Against a wall near the bed was a dresser with a series of drawers. Along the wall with the door there were a number of shelves with toys. There were toys strewn throughout the room, many of which were theme-appropriate. There was also a locked toy box, a few other locked boxes, and a crib.
The furniture was white and pretty minimalist. The white walls matched the furniture on their bottom half, and the top half has the iconic sky motif from the movies – a sky blue background with the same cloud pattern evenly spaced throughout. Music from the movie also plays in the background.
Again though, the room is hurt by its attachment to Toy Story. The environment must match the room from the movie to be effective, and in doing so immediately eliminates any possibility for uniqueness. Sure, a game based on a Disney movie might be intriguing in itself, but the world created from that in this game, if you strip away all the licensed property, is just a generic looking kid’s room – a completely uninteresting place.
The room existed purely as a vehicle to display the various toys and characters seen in the titular Andy’s Room, many of which were used in puzzles.
There’s really not too much to say about the puzzles. They were adequate. They used toys from the movie effectively but somewhat lacked in variety. We did have trouble with a few of the puzzles as some of the solutions seemed tenuous to us after they were solved, including a puzzle that involved assembling toy car track in the correct order.
On their own merits, the puzzles were just okay but once again, the tie-in to the movies did nothing to enhance the puzzles in any unique way that couldn’t generally have been done without any reference to the movies at all. In fact, I would argue the game is hurt by limiting itself to puzzles that can only be constructed from elements that exist in the world of Toy Story, and not just that, but things that specifically existed in Andy’s Room. That’s simply too limiting to construct puzzles that standout on their own without the crutch of being tied to a popular movie franchise.
I believe that escape rooms have the ability to deliver something that few other entertainment experiences can. No other medium can throw you into a world that allows you to interact with an environment that responds to your actions and stories that unfold in a unique, organic way often shaped by your actions. These experiences are best designed from conception to final product to be an escape room. With the exception of some licensed rooms, trying to adapt an idea from a different medium, especially one that likely isn’t even licensed in the first place, is something the industry should avoid.
The bottom line is, this game is hurt by its misuse of the Toy Story IP. Rather than enhancing the experience, Andy’s Room is held back by its very premise.
The idea that a venue can take an existing and popular IP and turn it into an escape room is already dubious – made worse when the conversation of licensing rights is raised, but this venue has done it in a way that not only makes for a worse escape room, but arguably hurts the original property as well.
Venue: Elite Escape
Location: Exton, PA
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $26.50 per person