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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: The Apartment

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

I left my apartment to escape… an apartment. If only I had the prior knowledge needed to prevent this.

Story

After stopping for a social call at The Apartment, you may never look at any apartment the same way again. You and seven other “guests” will have to look past the escape room’s intimate and cozy setting to uncover clues to earn your freedom in under 60 minutes.

In typical “Escape The Room” fashion, the story is vague.  Why must you escape this ordinary looking apartment? There’s no mention of the cliché serial killer coming back or bomb about to destroy mankind.

There’s simply no urgency or reason to escape. And who put those locks on the door, again?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Scenic

The Apartment looks like… an apartment.  Whoever lives here does so rather modestly and makes frequent trips to Ikea.

The common area has a fabric couch with a few pillows that need fluffing, and there’s a coffee table with an unfinished game of Scrabble on it.  There’s a small television resting on a wooden entertainment console and a chessboard in the corner.  It should come as no surprise that the walls are sparsely decorated.

The kitchen is just as unimpressive as the living room.  There are a few simple appliances resting on the counter such as a coffee maker and microwave, and there are many cabinets to search through.  The stove and oven looked like they had never been used.

The second room will be no surprise, even to newer players, because the hinges on the bookcase expose the room before it is ever actually revealed. 

The tenant is obviously a sports fan because this new space is filled with all types of memorabilia.  There are posters plastered on the walls, footballs in cases, and sports-themed floor mats.  There is no explanation as to why this “trophy room” is hidden.  Puzzles

Since The Apartment does not have much of a story, all of the tasks feel like puzzles for puzzles’ sake.  There is no clear reason why we are solving them other than finding the keys that unlock the several colored locks on the front door.

Some of the puzzles are technology driven, but it’s often difficult to tell if they are solved correctly.  Instead of being obvious that a drawer or cabinet opened from an action, the game master had to tell us when we correctly solved a puzzle.

The Apartment has a couple of stretches in logic, but those are actually not its most problematic puzzle.  If you plan to visit, understand that prior knowledge of chess pieces is required – and should you not have that knowledge, there is nothing present in the game itself that will allow you to gain such information. For this reason, The Apartment lost what would have been a 2 Key score and was instead essentially disqualified from our ratings.

Like several games at Escape The Room, a mobile phone is required for one of the puzzles which is never a good idea. And while some might argue this point counter-balances the prior knowledge of chess, in a sense, requiring a phone is in itself a sort of “prior knowledge,” especially if a group somehow lacks a smart phone. Simply put, a game must provide all the tools needed to solve its puzzles, and can never, ever expect players to simply come equipped with a vital component. To make matters worse, there is a phone obtained in The Apartment’s kitchen, which most people will most likely try use to solve that misguided puzzle.

The Apartment has a lackluster flow to it. None of the actions connect to one another, but instead feel like isolated activities. We are by no means against scavenging puzzles, but there is also such a thing as “invisible hiding spots.”

Overall

The Apartment has similar design problems that plague Escape The Room. The story is vague, and there is not a defined reason why it is necessary to escape.  It felt like solving several unrelated mini-puzzles mixed with finding hidden keys. There are several colored locks on the exit door with matching colored keys for no reason other than because escape (the) room.

Escape The Room not only allows you to use your phone in the room, but it is actually required. It’s unacceptable to require anything that has not been placed in the room, with the simple assumption that every single guest will have one, no matter how likely that may be in our digital world. The only saving grace is that it actually looks like an apartment… which also happens to be the least interesting part of this game.


Venue Details

Venue: Escape The Room

Location: Dallas, Texas

Number of Games: 4

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 12 people

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

Cost: $28 per person

 

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