RATING: 2 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: 4:38
Apocalypse was It’s A Trap!’s best (terrible) game – so it should come as no surprise that it was also the first one they closed.
It’s A Trap! isn’t successful at many things – but they prove they’re great with clichés – finding a way to marry both the “mad scientist” trope with the over-done “zombie outbreak” theme in yet another terrible attempt at an escape game.
“Ten years after the outbreak, you are survivors who are scavenging for resources when you stumble upon a seemingly abandoned medical facility. You find a member of the Rebels,”
Hold on – the Rebels? So the zombies are…. the good guys?
It continues, “…fighters of the global zombie incursion, who can take you to a safe haven where the last of humanity is stationed. Unfortunately she’s trapped in a jail cell,”
More unfortunately, she marks the return of The Cosplayer.
“and it’s only a matter of time before the nearby horde finds you.”
Except the “nearby horde” are UV paint on the wall. So there’s that.
At first glance, Apocalypse occurs in an empty white room.
Attempting to play off the “laboratory” theme – there are a handful of cabinets, a filing cabinet, a single table and a desk, plus some “science props” like a microscope and a non-functioning centrifuge.
There’s not enough in here to constitute an actual laboratory, nor a compelling environment to house an escape room.
As we’ve seen in other venues, the “mad scientist” theme leads to an easier build – due in large part to their ability to get away with buying the bare minimum of props, on a low budget, under the guise of “science minimalistic.” The problem is- though it’s cheaper to build, it also feels cheap to play.
Worse over, to someone like myself who has a science background, it doesn’t at all feel believable to a person who knows what a lab would look like in real life.
To be fair, Apocalypse does utilize a very clever blacklight technique, moving away from the cliché of finding hidden codes and using it solely for the purposes of furthering story. That said, we’re still not sure how we are to be threatened by the UV ink 2D zombies.
Since this game is closed forever, we have the luxury of speaking in spoilers about the puzzles. Two come to mind that we actually appreciated – a first for It’s A Trap!.
One more activity-based step than puzzle involved a drawer full of slimy green goo we were forced to dig our hands through to retrieve a submerged object vital for the next step. This type of physical interaction with the environment – while certainly disgusting – can create a memorable moment in even the worst of games. Like this one.
Another step involved a seemingly blank computer monitor, achieved removing the polarized filter that covers the screen – and replacing it on a pair of safety goggles. Without the filter, the light from the monitor shines around the LCD crystals, making it impossible for the human eye to detect the image. The filtered safety goggles bring the image back into clear focus, seemingly by magic.
Though not a unique trick in the world of escape games, giving credit where credit is due, it was the first time we’d encountered it (of many others that would follow.) Make no mistake – that is not to say It’s A Trap! innovated this technique – but rather it just happened to be the first place of many we’d find it, making it novel to us.
The remainder of this game required all the awkward and forced interactions with The Cosplayer that makes It’s A Trap! (in)famous.
Though I feel bad for hitting the dead horse over and over again after he’s already suffered enough, It’s A Trap! is just bad.
The Cosplayer talks incessantly – even when not prompted – making it clear that she matters more to this story’s experience than we do as the people who should be in the most active role. In the process, she also essentially forces uninvited hints upon the players, making for an experience far to hand-holdy to be enjoyed or appreciated.
Worse yet, when we actually did request hints, she “pretended to not know the answer” in a story crutch that neither furthers said story while simultaneously hindering the service aspect of real life hospitality-based job.
Would It’s A Trap! be better without The Cosplayer? Maybe. Would It’s A Trap! be better if it closed completely? Absolutely.
Please enjoy this photo of The Cosplayer, who is clearly a far more vital part of our team than we are, apparently.
Venue: It’s A Trap!
Location: Winter Park, Florida
Number of Games: 0
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: This venue has permanently closed.