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Review: Library of Secrets

RATING: 1 Key          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 8:15

What do you get when you mix a library with a laboratory? We will let you guess the (underwhelming) answer.

Story

A famous English detective wishes to retire and is trying to find someone his equal to succeed him. He has placed the best candidates in his Library of Secrets where not everything is as it seems. You must use your powers of observation and deductive reasoning to unlock the door and show that you have what it takes to be the next great detective.

The narrative is as vague as they come. A Sherlock type character has placed us in a generic setting in order to take his place as the best detective the world has seen. If we do not succeed, not only do we not get the job, but we are blown up by the bomb he has set to go off in sixty minutes… because escape room.

Escape Xperience has failed to create a compelling xperience. The narrative is a weak knockoff of Sherlock Holmes, and it does not even deliver a game that makes us feel like detectives.

Scenic

There is nothing too exciting or special about the room’s atmosphere. In fact, the carpet looks dirty and stained and the bookshelves are dusty. One bookshelf has visible hinges attached to it – so much for being a Library of “Secrets”. There are several other doors in the room that open up to shallow closets that look like they were once used for janitorial supplies.

While the first room looks like a library, the not so secret second room has a generic lab feel to it. There are test tubes filled with various colored chemicals and a microscope connected to a laptop. The walls have various chemical signs on them and a bomb can be seen counting down through a locked glass container.

Puzzles

The game is mostly linear, so the maximum group size of ten people is way too large. The first steps of the room are search heavy, from flipping through books to finding things in random parts of the space.

Instead of cleverly embedding RFID tags into props, we find generic white RFID cards that are used to trigger various things in the room. Also, we waste several minutes placing the cards just right. It is a situation where we know how to solve the puzzle, but the technology is finicky to a point of being overly frustrating.

There is one technology based prop that is used in a clever way, and it works as intended unlike most of the other technology in the game. However, this comes late in the experience when we are already frustrated beyond repair.

Most of the tasks in Library of Secrets seem random and do not relate to any kind of narrative. The first half contains library/study type challenges, and the second part involves laboratory style puzzles. It feels as if two designers independently created the game. While there are not any leaps in logic, nothing is particularity exciting to solve.

Overall

Escape Xperience fails to create anything unique or exciting in Library of Secrets. The room feels worn and dirty to the point of being unsanitary, and most of the technology barely works. Also, the narrative is so generic that it comes as no surprise that the room itself feels random.

Library of Secrets would need a complete overhaul in order to increase its rating. Compared to other venues in the Dallas market, this library’s secrets (or lack there of) are not worth the price of entry.


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Venue Details

Venue: Escape Xperience

Location: Euless, Texas

Number of Games: 3

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 10 people

Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.

Cost: $25 per person

 

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Escape Xperience - Library of Secrets
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