RATING: 3 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 4:30
Join us on the most awkward ménage à trois date night Paris has ever seen, as we use the power of love to escape a quaint corner café.
Ah, France! The romance capital of the world!
The food, the wine, the berets. What a beautiful country!
You always dreamed of visiting Paris, at least just for an evening, to have one meal with the person you love at one of those quaint, charming sidewalk bistros.
This boutique experience meant just for two is intended to turn an escape room into the perfect private date night, tied under the bow of an instantly romantic theme.
What’s better – you even receive a small themed gift along the way that is yours to keep!
The room for this game is incredibly small; almost a narrow hallway creating a compact, intimate experience. Needless to say, Escape Countdown makes the most of this space.
The scenic element of this game is really its strong point. It’s an ambitious choice to go for an outdoor theme with an attraction set in such a tiny room – but they pull it off in such a way that the room is simultaneously visually impressive and feels fairly open for its compact size.
One wall features a vinyl graphic of a Parisian streetscape. The opposite side is clearly meant to be the exterior of the café you’ll be dining at this evening, complete with an awning above your romantic table set for two out on the brick sidewalk.
A small window into the café’s interior grants a peek at…. wait a minute – why does a window look to the outside if we ourselves are on the outside looking in? You know what – we’re in Paris. We can’t stress little things tonight.
Amorous French background music or even street sounds would have helped set the mood even better, but our date night was meant to be a silent one.
It’s no secret that crafting a small capacity game in an equally small capacity room is quite the challenge. Surprisingly, the puzzles in this game fit the storyworld well.
Though there’s no surprise reveals or tech-driven gags, this game delivers a satisfyingly intimate experience that definitely caters to its intended audience. The puzzles center around two main subjects: love and Paris.
A lot of the game is spent in the discovery phase, which is surprising for being in such a tiny space. Escape Countdown makes the most of every square inch to find some pretty clever hiding spots.
Each step along the way is intuitive, and importantly – able to engage a party of two to work together simultaneously to create a memorable date night moment.
Escape Countdown has made some changes since our visit – all of them positive – that no doubt further improve on a gameplay experience which we already enjoyed. For starters – An Evening in Paris is now a 60 minute game (though as listed below, when we played, it had just a 30 minute time limit).
Most impressively, while Escape Countdown has doubled the time and added 50% more puzzles, they left the price point exactly the same – just $32.99 for a party of two – that’s total cost! We applaud them for their clear “guests first” attitude.
As a 30 minute game (which, again, it was at the time we played it) we really did have fun. I appreciate finding these shorter games from time to time, as I feel they offer a great “dip your toes in the water” type situation to help the uninitiated become more familiar with what the escape room genre actually is. Though shorter games do not mean the game is any easier, per say, sometimes it’s easier in a sense to make a commitment to the unknown and try something new. A person who has never heard of an escape game before, and isn’t sure if it’s the kind of thing they’d enjoy might be much quicker to agree to giving one a shot if it was just a half hour in duration.
That being said, I don’t think there’s any negative to An Evening in Paris shifting to a 60 minute experience. As a private game (something rare here in Central Florida) catering to a maximum party size of two people (the venue was kind enough to make an exception for our group to allow three) – An Evening in Paris offers a very unique, charming experience which allows couples to enjoy a date night in a whole new way.
We may even journey back to Paris again just to see to see how the expanded experience measures up. Until then, bon voyage!
Venue: Escape Countdown
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 30 minutes
Capacity: 2 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $32.99 per group (2 people maximum)