RATING: 0 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX*
Riddle me this! What do you get when you cross poor puzzle design with questionable scenic and blatant IP infringement? Well, we’ve fired up our Bat Signal in hopes that the answer is life in Arkham for this industry ne’er-do-well!
The city’s most wanted criminal, an evil trickster and sinister mastermind with comic book villain flair and an affinity for tormenting the good people of our fair city, has now spun you into his evil web of deceit! Only you and your team are far enough inside the sociopath’s realm to foil his dastardly plan to bring down the entire city. You and your team solve the riddles and puzzles he’s laid out to taunt and antagonize you before it’s too late. You have one hour to stop him and save us all before his evil plans succeeds and your efforts are in vain!
Isn’t it interesting how vaguely phrased things are on the venue’s website? He’s just “a trickster,” “with comic book villain flair.” So maybe he sounds a bit like another green-suited criminal icon. Just a coincidence, right? Or would it be more likely plausible deniability?
From the moment you step into Escape Quest’s lobby – the first thing you see on a stand by the door are brochures for their first game – the Riddle Room. Those brochures, physically printed (and the cover of which is pictured to the right) remove all speculation that the venue is willingly and knowingly infringing on DC Comics intellectual property, namely, The Riddler.
I quickly find myself torn between being a lifelong fan of Gotham’s underworld – especially the villains therein, with one of my honest favorites always having been The Riddler, and my current persona which has been on more than one occasion described as “Escape Game Batman,” where I have zero tolerance for under-handed, dishonest tactics that could tarnish our industry.
I wonder which side will win today?
First up, we encounter Riddle Room’s masterfully produced pre-show video, where in a talking green bowler hat “evokes the spirit” of The Ridder. It’s “heavily implied” that Batman might be coming to stop him. The real crime here is the embarrassing over-acting (or lack there of) and terrible “menacing accent” used by our Completely-Not-Infringed Trickster.
Once in the room, unwitting players find out that the real joke is on them – because the “room” isn’t really a room at all, but rather a series of pre-printed panels sporting a question mark pattern. Those of you who may be claustrophobic can rest easy knowing these flat panels do not reach nearly close to the ceiling – allowing for enhanced airflow, and, you know, the ability to hear every time the front door to the venue opens, or any conversations in the nearby lobby.
The “room” absolutely screams “generic comic book super villain,” thanks to two nefarious writing desks and a menacing assortment of small locked boxes. Clearly, this is the lair of a madman.
Spoiler alert – the maddest man was me when I realized I still had an hour to go locked inside.
But worry not, good citizens of notGotham, there is another “room” made of identical wall panels to look forward to.
Image if you were dropped right into an epic, cinematic Batman adventure, full of outlandish comic book style traps, hiding behind every corner, waiting to catch us once and for all. Each subsequent trap could only be defused by solving complex riddles designed to mock us and prove our inferiority to the genius who created them – the legendary Riddler himself!
Well, none of that will be found within the Riddle Room, but it’s a nice thought, no?
In fact, that very mental image was how I somehow willed myself to endure an hour in the Riddle Room – full of its nonsensical, generic riddles and very few actual escape game puzzles to speak of. Many of these “riddles” were very much of the variety where you either know the answer or you do not. There’s no “solving them.” Essentially, it’s the riddle version of prior knowledge.
Oh, and let’s not forget the greatest weapon any self-respecting infringed comic book super villain could be armed with: lots and lots of math.
And yes, the photo to the right – clearly and blatantly depicting the Batman Arkham video game version of The Riddler is absolutely hanging in the first room. Perhaps our “Trickster” just likes video games?
Riddle me this: What has to be broken before you can use it? No, it’s not an egg. The answer here is clearly my dignity.
It is clear after just one visit that Escape Quest simply doesn’t think very highly of its guests. If they did, there is no way they would produce such an embarrassing product – one devoid of both logic and quality – and worse, one that completely lacks any semblance of fun. Riddle Room simply had no redeeming qualities.
Riddle me this: What goes up and never comes down? Nope, not my age. It’s my intolerance for terrible games that give this industry a bad name.
Escape Quest was generous enough to invite us to play all the way through – meaning we were welcomed to go past our allotted sixty minutes in the event that we didn’t win in a “traditional” sense, in order to fully complete the game. Essentially, we were guaranteed to win our challenge in the Riddle Room thanks to our unlimited time budget.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that our game was marked as a loss. So how can that be, if we were given all the time we needed to finish? We didn’t want to finish. We asked to leave. It just wasn’t fun, and we couldn’t envision a scenario where we would dedicate any additional time to it.
Riddle me this: What belongs to you but is used more by others? I know what you’re thinking – and no, it isn’t your name. Clearly, the answer is The Riddler IP.
Venue: Escape Quest
Location: Tampa, Florida
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $30 per person
We thank Escape Quest for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.