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In-Depth Escape Room Reviews

Review: The Vanishing Act

RATING: 5 Keys          RESULT: Win          REMAINING: 0:32

When magicians are involved, you must always expect the unexpected.

Story

The Great Noximillian, world-renowned magician, is hiding more than just tricks up his sleeve. His past five assistants have mysteriously gone missing, each after their 13th performance with Noximillian. Now his latest assistant, Casey, has contacted you for help in uncovering the truth behind these disturbing disappearances.

On the night of Casey’s 13th show, you are tasked with investigating The Great Noximillian’s private dressing room while the magician is busy on stage.  You have 70 minutes to find what Noximillian has been hiding and solve the mystery before the show is over and Casey’s time is up!

Casey nervously tells the players that tonight is his 13th show.  He’s able to send texts to the cellphone he hands you – but do not text him back. You will interrupt the performance!  Will his fate be the same as the assistant’s before him? Are the disappearances a coincidence, or is The Great Noximillian up to something far more sinister than anyone has ever imagined?  There are many unanswered questions, but the show must go on!

Before The Vanishing Act even begins, the players are introduced to Noximillian’s assistant, Casey.  He explains why he is nervous about tonight’s performance and why it is imperative for you to solve the mystery in seventy minutes.  The Vanishing Act immerses the player in a believable world with a sense of urgency to save Casey from vanishing … forever.

Scenic

We start in Noximillian’s dressing room.  It looks the way you would expect. There are several posters advertising tonight’s performance covering the dark yellow walls.  There’s also a bookshelf full of magic books, a dimly lit floor lamp, a few chairs and a couch all congruent with the time period.

In another corner of the room is where Noximillian gets prepared for his performances.  There’s a small wooden dresser decorated with a small lamp and fan, and a mirror hangs from the wall.  A tuxedo is neatly buttoned onto a mannequin.  Next to the dresser, there is a rabbit’s cage on the floor – every magician needs a rabbit!

The most noticeable prop in the room is the box with several different kinds of locks on it.  In most instances, it would be considered a lazy design to have more than one lock on a single box.  However, it works here.  It looks like something a magician would have – especially if they’re hiding something.   

In the second room, The Vanishing Act takes a twisted and unexpected turn, leaving some to most likely become a little uneasy.  It has a dim and demonic tone to it.  There are animal bones and blood on the walls, and the whispers of spirits can be heard – if you listen closely.  There are several foreign looking symbols written around the room, and there is a large cube centerpiece with strange words written on it.  It’s certainly not English.

Puzzles

The puzzles in The Vanishing Act remain non-linear throughout with few bottlenecks.  The first room has a good variety of puzzles that all point to opening another lock on “the vanishing box”.

All of the activities in the first part of the game relate to magic and make sense in the context of a magician’s dressing room. There are linking rings, handcuffs, tarot cards, and one of those never-ending magician handkerchiefs.  Of course, no story about magic would be complete without a wand.

All of the steps in the second half of The Vanishing Act lead us to unraveling the secrets of Noximillian and casting the correct spell in order to stop the magician’s devilish plot.  There are several different puzzle paths that give us part of the final solution, and it is clear once you have everything you need. The last meta-puzzle is a little bit tedious to complete, but it makes sense to the story, and it frees Casey from having the same destiny as the assistants before him.

Overall

The Vanishing Act accomplishes what few escape rooms do; it immerses you into a story that has a defined beginning, middle, and end.  The story takes an unexpected turn as soon as one breaks through the chains of the vanishing box in the dressing area.  That’s part of the magic of The Vanishing Act.

As a clever hint system, Casey is able to help us along by secretly sending text messages – hopefully Notximillian doesn’t notice.  

There is a real sense of urgency to perform the ritual and unleash the spirits that The Great Noximillian has trapped for all of these years.  If the performance on stage ends, then Casey’s fate will be sealed like the rest of them.  From start to finish The Vanishing Act never ceases to amaze.


Venue Details

Venue: Locurio

Location: Seattle, Washington

Number of Games: 2

GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

Duration: 70 minutes

Capacity: 8 people

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

Cost: $35 per person

 

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