RATING: 2 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
It is up to us to stop WW3, and we’re prepared with all the necessary tools: a puzzle box and black light. Wait – that can’t be right!
One CIA agent’s descent into madness puts the world on the brink. The clock is ticking… Can you stop her evil plan or will she escape from your grasp?
The story is vague, and we have already saved the world so many times at other escape rooms. How could one rouge agent start World War III? What are my qualifications to stop her? What is the supposed conspiracy theory? There are many questions, and the answer to all is: because escape room.
WW3: The Conspiracy Theory starts off with a preshow video full of some bad acting in a nondescript location. Most of the steps taken to catch the rouge agent never quite fit the theme and always have you scratching your head wondering “What does this have to do with an impending war?”
The walls are colored green with various equations and waves drawn on with black marker, and the floor is a hard black surface with no attempt to make it more interesting. A world map poster is thumb-tacked to one wall next to a marker board to write notes, again, just like a classroom. The furnishings are sparse and have a cheap, flimsy feeling to them. There’s a strange looking display of stuffed animals in jars, and there’s even a chessboard, again, because escape room.
As we head into the second room, it’s still hard to tell exactly what the environment is supposed to represent. My best guess is that we’ve entered a study because there is a desk and a couple of suitcases. Why are bombs always stuffed into suitcases? There is minimal other set decoration in the second part of the game.
Most of the puzzles use common tropes that we all dislike. There is a black light, puzzle boxes, a decipher wheel, and a cryptex box – the cheap plastic kind of course. There are numerous observation and counting puzzles as well. Lockout Austin conveniently includes a picture on their website to show us the types of puzzles we will encounter.
Most of the puzzles were not inherently bad puzzles if viewed individually. However, we have seen ones like them a million times before, so there were not any true aha! moments. Also, the steps taken never furthered a story – because there isn’t really much of a story in the first place.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of logic leaps, and the hints from our game master often caused more confusion than clarity. I am all for subtle hints, but the hints were basically useless.
WW3: The Conspiracy Theory had several escape room tropes wrapped into a weak narrative. Neither the story nor the scenic told us where we were or what role we were playing in stopping the war.
All we knew is that there was a rouge agent on the loose, and we had to solve a series of puzzles to foil their evil plans. None of those puzzles were something we hadn’t seen before. And worse a lot of them felt like homework, so maybe we were in a poorly decorated classroom after all.
Venue: Lockout Austin
Location: Austin, Texas
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $27.50 per person