RATING: 2 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 3:11
What do you get when you cross an huge room with a outdated escape game? Unfortunately, a lot of wasted space.
A famed explorer and collector of ancient artifacts has gone missing. Was it something from his latest expedition that made him the target of a kidnapping?
We haven’t been given many details about the disappearance of a famous artifact collector and world explorer, but right away we must assume the worst – otherwise we have no mission. Presuming a kidnapping has taken place despite no signs of a struggle, we join forces to forage through his personal collection to see if we can find any clues that will help shed light on the circumstances behind his vanishing.
Over the past few years, escape rooms have been popping up all over by venues who fall into one of several categories – not all of them good. One of the more positive categories is having a passion for what the escape game itself means to the players and the community: pure enjoyment and satisfaction of working together, solving puzzles, and achieving missions, all with a constant level of unadulterated fun and seamless immersion into the story. Project: Escape has always seemingly loved what they do, but at the time had not developed a deeper understanding of what makes a successful and immersive experience throughout the gameplay. Artifact was their very first room, and its simple story sadly left us feeling nothing really notable to share in regards to the story leading the players along any kind of compelling journey along the way.
In 2016, one of the main bragging points touted on the Project: Escape website was their over-sized rooms. Upon entering Artifact, we definitely found this to be true: it was certainly a giant space. But, unfortunately, there wasn’t much to it beyond the size. With all its grand size, it sure seemed like a huge waste of potential with all that unused square footage.
The scenery itself met the theme, sure – but it was a simple theme. The setting looked like a library or museum with giant bookshelves and a blank canvas of walls displaying famous art and collected historic treasures, arranged and cataloged about the space. There were various sculptures and items plus a plethora of books arranged on the shelves. While nothing was off-topic, there wasn’t anything scenic-wise that was over the top.
Apparently, the summation of the famed explorer’s life’s work didn’t really amount to much, or in all his travels, he didn’t really manage to collect that much overall. Perhaps it truly is quality – not quantity – that matters. In addition, most of the pieces looked just like the ones we’ve seen in other explorer’s collections we’ve had to raid or escape from before. This can only mean that these explorers are all traveling to the farthest corners of HobbyLoblandia collecting their artifacts, or there are a high number of fakes out there! But that is another mission for another day … or two or three.
Given we were pretty much only surrounded by a library and various collectibles, it probably comes as no surprise that we had to search through many titles and employ standard discovery techniques for the clues and codes needed to advance in the game.
One challenge involved counting instances of a certain item in the room, which led to confusion on our part, because there were literal instances of the item as well as pictures of the item. We eventually figured it out, though, and continued our adventure, using maps and other objects on display.
There were no instances of technology or mechanical cause and effect that we can recall, but again this being an earlier game for the Project: Escape team, it is not something we were expecting to see anyway.
Artifact, although now closed, still holds high sentimental value for the venue because it was their first offering. They’ve even added a cute “RIP” label for it on their website. It should come as no surprise that this dearly departed room is awarded 2 Keys. Overall, it was fun, and we didn’t have a lot to complain about. However, nothing knocked our socks off as far as scenery and gameplay went, so it is a fair assessment to say that this experience was average. We were mainly pretty disappointed to see that so much of the room wasn’t used. We really would have liked to see more of the available space used, especially on a three-dimensional level like we’ve seen at other venues that do this very well.
Every escape venue has to start somewhere, of course, and Project: Escape readily recognizes that Artifact was not a groundbreaking room. That said, they seemingly have worked very hard since then and learned everything they can in order to move their offerings to the next level of full immersion and higher quality experiences. Judging from their website, their new games look very promising, and we are definitely planning to head back to Marietta to try them out.
Venue: Project: Escape
Location: Marietta, GA
Number of Games: 6
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: This room has since been retired.