RATING: 6 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 3:23
The masterful third game in The Basement saga pushes the boundaries of courage and skill in an experience quite unlike any other – and one that just might be the greatest escape room ever created.
This is not a game anymore… this is something different.
You’ve somehow foiled Edward Tandy and escaped The Basement in Chapter 1. You’ve managed to make it out once again after Edward and his assistant placed your sleeping body in The Boiler Room in Chapter 2. In Chapter 3, things have changed and you’re treading on turf that Edward never expected you to gain access to. You’ve made it into his Study.
In The Study, you and your team have made your way into the upper quarter’s of the Tandy family home. He Is VERY unhappy that you have encroached on his personal space and he plans to make you pay dearly for this mistake. In Chapter 3, you will find out more than you ever hoped about our matriarch obsessed serial killer. With event and theatrical puzzles, your level of interaction will need to take a step up in order to see the light of day ever again.
True to the promise of the story, The Study delivers a theatrical experience far more “real” than any other escape game we’ve seen. It’s a immersive world like none other, and every action you take impacts your progress. This is how an escape room story should feel.
With the premiere of the original ‘The Basement’ game, a new gold standard was set against which all other Escape Rooms, including their own, would be compared. In this way, The Study truly stands on its own. Somehow even more richly-detailed than The Basement, sepia dinginess of The Study is theme-appropriate and services the experience.
As the game unfolds and new environments are revealed, one of the creative team’s core strengths shines through- their ability to create intricate and often-unpredictable environments that always keep you guessing.
That said, as good as the environments may be, the factor of unpredictability is taken to new heights when it comes to the puzzles.
“They’d stop us if I was going to kill myself. Right?”
This was not a question posed to my inner dialogue, but rather one I asked aloud to the group of friends and strangers huddled around me as I wavered on an urgent task I had been unilaterally volunteered for (with no consent of my own, I should add). Could this actually be the key to unlocking the next step of our hopeful escape? Or was I about to make a move that I might never physically recover from? Surely the omnipotent game masters monitoring our group would intervene if I were about to make a catastrophic mistake. Wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they?!
The ability to make even the most seasoned players – neigh, a group of experienced designers at that – second guess themselves and their own safety in a completely controlled environment can be defined by only one word: Magical.
Escape Authority has explored at length exactly what distinguishes a good game from a bad game, and on the joyous rare occasion, what makes a great game. As rare as they are, the DNA of a great game is fairly consistent, with two key components being the originality of the puzzles, and their relationship to the overarching story. In this way, the puzzles of The Study are generally exceptional. The approach of “less is more” pays off in dividends, as your group aims to decipher tasks and activities that require levels of interaction and engagement we haven’t experienced before or since. No matter how many escape rooms you’ve done, The Study will surprise you.
The Basement (the venue’s original game) set the bar for what an escape room should be. No matter how good a game was elsewhere, there was always one constant: we compared it to The Basement. But The Study… this is a whole new beast. The actor interaction is on par with that of an immersive theater experience, and without question the undisputed benchmark for actors in escape rooms, period. The scenic detailing could be a movie set. But it’s the puzzles that shatter the conception of what an escape room is, should be or even could be.
The Study moves away from the concept of “solving puzzles in a game” and forces its captives to solve real world scenarios in real world ways as if their lives depended on it – because they do. Think outside the box; you’ll absolutely have to, because The Study just pulled that box out from under you and crushed it.
While The Study may not be one of the best Escape Rooms for beginners (The Boiler Room fills that gap), it is unquestionably one of the best Escape Rooms you’re likely to find anywhere. It may even be the best. The creative forces behind it clearly understand the medium so inherently that they’re able to manipulate it and take it in weird and exciting new directions you didn’t know you craved until you’ve experienced them, and once you have experienced them, nothing else will ever compare.
Ultimately, that’s what makes the team at The Basement the greatest creators of escape games in America, and perhaps the world.
Venue: The Basement
Location: Sylmar, California
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 55 minutes
Capacity: 10 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $34-38 per person (prices vary between weekdays and weekends)
Escape Authority readers save 15% in both Sylmar, CA and Las Vegas, NV using code eatandy18
We thank The Basement for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.