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Review: John Doe

2 Keys

RATING: 2 Keys         RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 6:31

You think your new neighbor is strange, so you make the rational choice to break into his home and rifle through his belongings while you think he’s not home. That’ll show that creeper!


Strange noises, suspicious activity in the night and antisocial behavior from your neighbor have piqued your curiosity. Who is John Doe? What is he hiding? Step into his lair and reveal his secrets, but beware: he’s coming home soon.

Don’t let him catch you!

Escape Games NYC pens an almost Hitchcock-esque scenario in John Doe. Unfortunately they’re unable to deliver even a splinter of his caliber of suspense.

Just the same, John Doe tells that timeless cautionary tale of how if you think your new neighbor might be straight, then only logical, rational, civil thing for you to do is to wait until he leaves, break into his home and go through all his stuff. Because you know, he’s a creeper!


The problem with “apartment games” is that scenically they are often code for “we picked a theme we could shop for at Target with a small budget.” John Doe fits that description.

So many places miss the fact that you can’t just put a bed or a few chairs into a space and call it a home. Homes feel lived in. John Doe, like so many other apartment games before it, and no doubt many that will come after it – feels like it has the bare minimum it needs to be sold as a game. The space – this apartment of John Doe – at the end of the day comes across feeling themed as an apartment more than it feels like it is an apartment.

What’s left is a fairly forgettable setting for a fairly forgettable game, which, in itself, I suppose is fitting enough.


John Doe’s puzzles were rather mundane. Nothing really stood out to carry that “ah ha!” reaction. The game unquestionably lacked a wow moment.

The puzzles – as basic as they were – became a veritable mixed bag of some logical and others not so much. One thing is for certain though – playing a game should be a fun and memorable experience, and we walked away from John Doe – victorious, mind you – feeling neither.


John Doe is the very definition of a 2 key game by our score. It’s “just ok.” There’s certainly worse games out there – among them the venue’s much-hyped-for-no-good-reason Outer Space just down the hall, but there are a hell of a lot more games even in NYC itself that are of a much higher quality of experience.

Between our two experiences it becomes clear to us that Escape Games NYC embraces their own mediocrity and strives for “ok at best.” And simply put, it’s difficult for us to endorse that our readers spend $100+ for just ok – especially when we’ve seen some pretty spectacular games right around the corner in the very same market.

Escape Games NYC seems to carry some very unworthy hype on other reviewing sites we will not mention – but we caution you that based on our significant amount of experience in this genre and even more as designers in the broader amusement industry, the hype does not at all match the quality of the product you will receive. Spend your money elsewhere.

Venue Details

Venue:  Escape Games NYC

Location: New York, New York

Number of Games: 4


Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 6 people

Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.

Cost: $100+ per group of 2 (price varies for additional players)


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