RATING: 1 Key RESULT: Win REMAINING: 8:52
Stealing a diamond sounds fun in theory, but if it means enduring a mediocre heist, I’d rather just sit this one out.
The Venetia Diamond is one of the rarest and most valuable gems in the world. It is going up on display in your city’s museum. Through a source you have heard that the museum curator has plans of his own for the diamond. You and your team of thieves can’t bear to stand someone else cashing in on a diamond as precious as this. Can you and your covert team of thieves escape with the Venetia Diamond before the curator can put his own plan into action?
While I can appreciate some subtle attempts to make this feel unique, overall this theme is one that has been done many times in other rooms, and sadly, to much better effect. The biggest problem I have with this story is that it sets up a false expectation. My mind was preparing for a room that looked like a museum exhibit with a diamond on display, and we needed to figure out how to steal it. And while I’ve seen that in rooms before too, that is at least what the story led me to believe. As you will see in the next section, that is far from the reality.
I know that rooms have the standard 60 minute time limit, but I would appreciate giving me some sense as to why I only have that allotted amount of time. I guess in an hour the curator is going to return to the office? But that’s not what the story says, which already gave me a red flag that this room didn’t have a clear vision of what it was hoping to achieve.
The entirety of your mission takes place in a relatively small white-walled office of the museum curator. When you walk into the room you are hit with two distinct thoughts:
1. Hello white walls. Apparently, the museum curator doesn’t believe in decoration besides hanging a few things up.
2. For as boring as the walls are, there are a lot of other things in the room.
These two thoughts left me with a mixed bag of emotions. I hated how boring the walls were, so that was a big strike, but I did appreciate that the rest of the room felt full of things that I could believe were museum-ish. I say ish because in reality it all looked like things you would buy from an international store like Cost Plus, but, I give them points for what they were going for.
The biggest problem I had, was that even though there was a lot to look at, once we were maxed out with 8 people, it got pretty crowded in there. Maybe the curator could stand to have a slightly smaller collection in his office.
While there were one or two moments that stood out slightly, overall the puzzles found consisted mostly of picking up every single item in the room to find either small clues, or worse, key chains. Let me tell you why these were the bane of my existence: Every key chain had a number on it. Sure, that idea alone is not cause for concern, but when you see the numbers getting high, you start to worry that you are going to be collecting a lot of key chains, and you would be correct.
The gathering of these key chains, and the subsequent way you use them were one of my least favorite puzzles I’ve ever done in any room. It felt like I was literally wasting my time, as if they didn’t have enough ideas to fill up an entire hour so instead they made you go on a search that lasted way too long. Has the curator really not learned about a key ring by this point? I couldn’t fathom why he would scatter these clues all around his own office. And being forced to pick up every single item in the room really makes you wish that again, the curator had a smaller collection.
I hated the key chain bit so much that it made the rest of the puzzles so forgettable, including the finale, which really just made me excited that the game was over.
It pains me to bash on this room so much because the family that runs this operation were really nice and enthusiastic and proud of what they created. Afterwards, I explained my concerns to them after the game, and I got the impression that while they appreciated my feedback, they had no intentions on changing anything. I hope I’m wrong, and that they changed the things that desperately needed fixing, I don’t want anyone to have to endure the tediousness of what I experienced in that room.
Based on their website one of their newer rooms looks much better in the scenic department, but sadly, I will most likely never experience it because I have no interest in playing another potentially mediocre game. I imagine if this was your first experience, it wouldn’t turn you off to escape games as a concept, but I don’t know if it would motivate you to seek out other rooms to keep playing because this one just wasn’t that fun.
Venue: Element of Escape
Location: Bradenton, FL
Number of Games: 4
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 2-8 people
Group Type: Public / You will be paired with strangers.
Cost: $25 per person