RATING: 4 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: 8:14
Where am I? Who am I? How did I get here and who can I trust?!?
Who can you trust? You wake up inside a strange apartment. Who are you though? Who are these strangers you’re with. You’re wearing a CIA badge and so are the other people just waking up. You remember it’s a year in the 1970’s and that’s all you know.
A video of a crazy looking man comes on.
He tells you that his name is Clarence Whimby and that you’re locked inside his apartment He apologizes for the gas he used on you but he had to get away. Clarence informs you that he’s regarded as a Conspiracy Theorist and the gas will cause memory loss for about an hour. He also let’s you know that you are all members of the CIA and you’ve come to investigate him because it turns out his crazy conspiracy theories are turning out to be true. Next he informs you that there are secret Soviet spies among you working as double agents in the CIA.
Are you a real CIA agent or a secret Soviet Spy?
You must search for clues, solve puzzles, figure out who you are and who you can trust in the room in 60 minutes before Clarence blows up his apartment, destroying all evidence of his conspiracy theories including you!
IF YOU CAN ESCAPE, you better be the first to figure out who you are and who you can trust because if you’re a real CIA agent you need to arrest the Soviets, if you’re a secret Soviet Spy you need to keep your cover and keep trading government secrets in order to avoid arrest.
I can honestly say that for the first time in a long time, this story excited me and the concept of the game was unique and I was thrilled to get a chance to play.
Conspiracy Theory is set in the 1970’s and more specifically in the apartment of crazy old man who is obsessed with the government and CIA. When you first walk into the room every thing fits pretty well to the theme. The apartment itself isn’t too big and has a few touches of what would be in a studio apartment – a fridge, a fireplace, a couch, a desk and classic recliner straight from the 70’s.
You aren’t going to believe that you have suddenly time warped back to yesteryear but the entire thing felt “real enough” to be a fun nod to a decade past.
There were other parts of the scenic that gave a nod to the game to come, strange colored locks, pictures that didn’t feel like they were placed by the owner just for visual aesthetic. Everything was in a place for a certain reason, not just because it was an escape room but because it fit inside the storyworld as well.
As you progress through this room things appear to be simple but there is a couple of “Oh Wow!” moments that really make the game play fun. While everything appears prim and proper in this apartment I assure you it isn’t. As you dive deeper into the mystery, the feeling of the room changes along with the your feelings of distrust among your teammates, and it’s all by design!
Mix that with the unique style and puzzles and you get an immersive experience you almost certainly will not have played at another venue!
As mentioned in the story you begin this game not remembering who you are or who anyone in the room is. Now you have just been informed that the gas will slowly wear off and your memory will return as you continue over the course of the next 60 minutes.
But how can a venue give “memories” to certain players over the course of game that only they know?
That’s where the colored locks, briefcases and safes come into play. When you enter the storyworld you are given your CIA badge each with a color on it. You use the keys and codes on your badge to open your specific colored items when they are presented to you throughout the game.
Each item reveals a small tidbit about your past and who among you peers may or may not be trustworthy for your cause.
What starts as a group of friends playing together to escape a room suddenly morphs into 2 teams racing to finish the last puzzle first so their team can be declared the winners.
That’s not to say the entire game is based on the idea of a race. It begins with normal escape room puzzles, using small amounts of tech to create a realistic storyworld. Once your identity is finally revealed it becomes a bit more frenzied, but in a way that you see small children excited about trying to be the first to finish something new, and that’s something I haven’t felt as a player in quite some time.
Overall Conspiracy Theory delivered a fantastic 4 Key experience. The use of tech was minimal but that made it a little more real given the story. I thoroughly enjoyed the unique game style and have told most of my friends who play rooms that they should definitely make the trip down to Elk Grove, CA to check this game out.
The individual customization’s to the game tailored for each group make for fun plot twists as you work your way through this real life whodunit. The puzzles are satisfying and the scenic was done well enough to create a fun game. This room was designed to be played with a group that you already know in order to maximize on the role playing capabilities. That being said it was one of the first rooms in the Sacramento area to embrace the private room policy since it was essentially designed for a game like this.
As the escape room industry continues to evolve it will take more than great special effects, tough puzzles and cutting edge technology to thrive and the team over at Exit Strategy Games seems poised to continue to evolve with unique games that focus on game play twists to refresh an industry that at times can feel a bit stale.
Venue: Exit Strategy Games
Location: Elk Grove, California
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 12 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $27+ per person (Price Varies by group size, minimum 4)
We thank Exit Strategy Games for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.