Bull City Escapes – A Study in Murder (Review)

Location: Durham, NC

Players:  4-8 (We Recommend 4-6)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Murder most foul!

Theme:

There’s been a murder in Durham! An eccentric old scholar was found dead in his home and as the Police Department’s top detectives, you’ve been assigned the case. Entering the victims study to search for clues, you shut the door behind you and lock yourself in! Try to put together the pieces to the mystery before the killer comes back to tie up loose ends!

First Impressions:

Our GM was very enthusiastic and introduced us to our teammates and the room in an exciting way, while giving us our rules briefing quickly and efficiently. He gave us our mission inside the room, which had an academic and stuffy feel to it, fitting the theme well. After that, we were locked inside and our timer began.

High Points:

Puzzles were overall interesting, and connected together well. The room on the whole felt sort of like a “greatest hits” of escape room solving, so enthusiasts can have a lot fun introducing new players to the hobby here. Your initial starting point with the room does feel like an old study, and had numerous interesting props to play with, and several puzzles build upon themselves, giving great a-ha moments. The hint system is well integrated and adds to the experience as needed, allowing the GM to adjust group by group. Each solve presented us with new pieces to build toward the next puzzles with, and the progression was well implemented.

Low Points:

Study in Murder feels more like a puzzle room than a storyline based escape experience, which seems to be the case for most rooms we’ve done that are touted as high difficulty. There were a lot of puzzles to solve, but the gating was uneven, which sometimes led to multiple unintentional red herrings. The story that was present in the room did not tie up in a satisfying way, and although we solved the mystery, we still had many unanswered questions the room was unable to give us answers for. The how of puzzles was usually present, but the why felt tenuous.

Verdict:

A Study in Murder was a competently built and solid puzzle room, even if it did not deliver the investigation and story that we had expected based on the description. We enjoyed the puzzles, however, and had a great time introducing new players to the hobby in this room, as it had many of the usual escape room themes, and demanded a fair amount of teamwork to solve. Overall, it is a solid Generation 1 experience. Book your time in the Study here!

7/10 (Good)

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