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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: Sherlock Holmes’ Library

RATING: 0 Keys         RESULT: Loss       REMAINING: X:XX

Unfortunately, I have been forced to review this game, despite the fact that I’ve pretended it doesn’t exist for the last two years.

Story

Put your skills of deductive reasoning to the test and see if you can be selected as an apprentice for the legendary Sherlock Holmes. It is your task to unravel the mystery set before you and join The League of the Masters of Elementary Deduction.

When you walk into this room, you’re lead to believe that there is some semblance of a story going on: find your way out of the library and you’ll become Sherlock Holmes’ newest apprentice!

It’s strange, though… When they play the recording Sherlock has left for you, he sounds eerily similar to that robotic man’s voice who reads for you in text to speech on Microsoft Word. Hmm.

The one thing I did enjoy about the room was the background music. Sherlock must be a big fan of video games, since all of it comes from them. Not that they have the license for any of it, I’m sure.

Honestly, at least they tried to have a story. Tried being the keyword. Literally nothing in the room correlates to a story of any kind, but hey, there’s a story in the blurb before you enter the room, so that kind of counts, right? Right? Riiiiiiiight.

Scenic

Sherlock’s Library looks more like a rummage sale, and by the time you finish with the room, it will look like a rummage sale hit by a cyclone.

Scenic value is simply something The Great Escape Room does not strive for. Then again, they don’t really strive to do anything well, I suppose.

The room is one gigantic box, filled to the brim with random items that will have you asking yourself over and over again, “Am I supposed to move this? Am I supposed to open this?” Let me spoil a little bit of the room for you: yes, you will need to move heavy objects. Yes, you will need to open things that you would think you’d not be allowed to open.

This is, by far, the most overwhelming room I have ever walked into. There’s just so much crap everywhere that you have absolutely no idea what has already been searched, and what hasn’t. It doesn’t look like a Library. It doesn’t look like it belongs to the most famous detective of all time. It doesn’t look like any work was put into it. Sherlock’s Library is the literal definition of “because escape room.”

Puzzles

There are, in total, four puzzles in the entirety of this room. Roughly 80% of your hour will be spent throwing things off shelves to find garage sale stickers that denote “clues” to solving those four puzzles.

Three of the four are fairly simple, straightforward, and make sense. The fourth, however, kept my team of eight stumped for over twenty minutes. That’s right, folks. We spent over twenty minutes staring at a wall, unable to continue the game. What’s even worse is that we had already used our three clues to find garage sale stickers that were hidden in completely unfair places, and our Game Master simply smiled at us and shrugged as we repeatedly begged for assistance. The worst part, however, was that even after an explanation once our time expired, the puzzle still did not make sense.

If you’re looking for thought-provoking activities, this simply is not a room designed for you. If your idea of a good time is a mindless scavenger hunt, though, then you’re in in luck. Even The Great Escape Room’s website shows this room as an “8/10” for the scavenger hunt category. In other words, they agree with my estimate from the first paragraph of this section: 80% of your time in this room will be spent looking for clues. Fun, right?

Overall

The Great Escape Room is, unfortunately, up there as one of the worst escape rooms I have ever played. Part of that I attribute to the lack of story, scenery or puzzles in the room, but part of it was that their system of having a Game Master in the room who cannot even provide clues is simply a horrible business philosophy. People come to play escape rooms to have fun. If I am stuck on the same puzzle for over a third of my time in the room, obviously I’m not having fun. So why am I not allowed to ask for a clue?

The Great Escape Room is one of those examples of minimum effort, maximum return. And, unfortunately, it’s working for them. Being one of the original escape room companies, The Great Escape Room has a lot of undeserved prestige under their belts. As escape rooms have changed and evolved, however, they have been utterly left in the dirt and have made no effort to update their product to reflect what an escape room can–and should–be. I can only hope that people are not disheartened by what this venue passes as escape rooms, as they truly are a detriment to the genre as a whole.

Until they decide to update their games, I will never make a return trip to The Great Escape Room, and I urge anyone that’s thinking of playing a game here to pass it up for one of the other truly great escape rooms Orlando has to offer.

#DylanRefusedToTakeAPic

Venue Details

Venue:  The Great Escape Room

Location: Orlando, Florida

Number of Games: 3

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 10 people

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

Cost: $23+ per person (prices vary between weekdays and weekends)

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The Great Escape Room - Sherlock Holmes' Library
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