Today’s review comes from friend of the site, once and future teammate, and progenitor of the Keyed Up team name, Cathy Nanni! We’re sad she moved to Dallas, depriving us of her excellent escape skills, but are happy she’s been busting out of rooms recently, and hope to team up with her again real soon! Thank you to Cathy for writing this review for us, and we look forward to hosting more of her reviews in the future!
Location: Grapevine, TX
Players: Up to 8 (We recommend 4-6)
Price: $31.99 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
AU, find the gold before the mob arrives!
Clyde Hamilton was a prospector in Northern California, and a pretty successful one to boot! Rumors stated that he had stashed his treasure somewhere in his cabin, but for obvious reasons, no one has verified this claim. Unfortunately, Clyde’s love of gambling has gotten him tangled up with the wrong people, and he has gone missing. Fortunately for you, this gives you a shot at finding his gold! Unfortunately, the people that disappeared Clyde are members of the mob, and they’re looking for his gold as well! You’ve only got a small window of opportunity before they arrive, so you’ll need to be in and out with the gold before then!
The Escape Game Dallas is located inside the Grapevine Mills Mall. It took us a few minutes to find it; some signage outside the mall would have been helpful. The lobby is small but they make great use of the space by having a counter on wheels that can be moved for group pictures at the end of your escape.
The Game Master took us into the room right away and we immediately felt like we’d been transported to a forest in Northern California. The lighting was set to feel like twilight and the air smelled of trees. We stood outside a cabin that had been built with wood imported from Northern California! That’s the kind of attention to detail that was apparent throughout our experience in Gold Rush. Before we began, we were shown two briefing videos, one regarding the rules and regulations of The Escape Game and the other an intro to the story behind the room. I’m not a big fan of when venues show their intro videos while you’re in the room because I find it hard to focus and not begin solving puzzles, but these videos were well done and entertaining.
The set was fantastic! It really transported us to a rustic cabin in the middle of the forest. The puzzles flowed nicely and even though there were seven people in our party, none of us felt as though we were just standing around with nothing to do. The room was really interactive with some creative and fun puzzles that fit the theme. All of the puzzles used props or activities that you would expect to encounter in an old prospector’s cabin including an interaction that involves firing a rifle! As you progress through the room the type of puzzles evolve via the storyline you’re following. For the most part the puzzles were nonlinear so multiple people could be working on the room at once. It was impressively thought out!
You were allowed three clues and any additional clues would cause your time to be penalized. I’d never played with a clue system like that before so I was curious how I’d like it, however, we fortunately only needed the three allotted clues. To receive a clue you pressed a button and the Game Master responded on conveniently placed tv monitors. The button was the most modern looking piece in the room aside from the monitors used to communicate with the Game Master, which made it easy to find.
It was Mother’s Day when we visited The Escape Game and when we were finished they presented myself and the other mom in our group with flowers and a card. It was a nice personal touch.
There was one puzzle that was particularly difficult to see and would benefit from some more lighting. It’s also quite a bit pricier than other rooms in the area. This was my first room in the Dallas metroplex and I had heard that The Escape Game had some of the best sets around. I think I may be spoiled because the rooms I had been to in Charlotte, NC had sets that also felt Hollywood-level and didn’t come with an extra cost.
There was one puzzle where the game master had to step in and warn us not to use a prop too soon. I find this frustrating in rooms because there’s always the chance the GM doesn’t catch it and you’re left with a puzzle you can’t complete.
Gold Rush was a great immersive room. If you truly want to feel like you’re on the hunt for hidden gold in the mountains of Northern California, you will enjoy this room. The group we went with was a mix of ages from 7 years old up to early 50’s and our experience varied from first timers to enthusiasts. Everyone seemed to enjoy the room and especially the fun surprises some of the puzzles offered, especially my seven year old son who said he felt like he was in a movie. There were enough interactions that nobody in our group became bored and what I really liked was that there was a good variety in the skill sets needed for the puzzles so everyone had a moment to shine. It wasn’t just about always finding keys or codes. Overall, we all left smiling and it was a great way to spend Mother’s Day. You can book your search for gold here!