Xscape Factor – Al Capone’s Revenge (Review)

Location: Fayetteville, NC

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2-4)

Price: $26.50 per person

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

The hunt for Tax Evasion documents!

Theme:

It’s 1930 and Al Capone is on trial in one hour! Unfortunately, Eliot Ness has left his files locked away in his office, and needs that evidence to put the infamous Mob Boss away for good. He’s sent you to retrieve the files, but trusting no one, has set up a series of puzzles in order to keep the files safe. Get those files to the courthouse asap, or risk the newly freed Capone coming for you next!

First Impressions:

Xscape Factor was two for three at this point, with the excellent Haunted and Circus of the Damned blowing us away, but the less than thrilling Abduction tempering our expectations. Our GM was excited for us to play Al Capone’s Revenge, however, stating that it was their most difficult room, but that he was sure we’d absolutely kill it. (Spoiler alert: whenever a GM is sure we’ll set a record, that always means we won’t. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though!)

High Points:

Xscape Factor does a good job with their sets with limited space, which is commendable. The props and room feels convincing and belong within the 1930s. Even the materials used to keep notes during the game are updated to match the theme, which is an excellent touch! A historically minded game always works best when dressed appropriately, and it really helps the immersion immensely. A lot of hard work was obviously put in to make the room look great, and match with the storyline, which is why I feel bad that I’m about to rake the rest of the experience over the coals for a little while.

Low Points:

It is not clever to hide clues in hidden drawers or compartments without having a clue or some part of game flow to direct you to them. It’s probably one of the most frustrating things I’ve seen in any escape room, akin to being asked to shine a black light everywhere because we have a black light. We started this room spinning our wheels because of this, and unfortunately, the game didn’t really improve from there. The difficulty of this game does not stem from clever puzzling or really great and devious design, but rather from randomly hidden clues, a lack of connective tissue, and leaps of threadbare logic. In fact, one particular puzzle had us poring over a map, using imprecise clues to find a tiny word that barely made sense as the solution. These problems were further exacerbated by a strictly linear game design that did not accommodate our group of four well, much less the maximum of eight players. Too often did I or one of my teammates seem to be standing around waiting for something to do since there either wasn’t enough space for all of us to work on a puzzle, or it was just an uninteresting one-person puzzle to begin with. The room is fairly forgettable on the whole, and it’s unfortunate that the interactions I remember the most are those that we despised. Of the rest, I only thought they were run of the mill at best.

Verdict:

It’s unfortunate that Al Capone’s Revenge isn’t a better game. It’s serviceable, but it seems to be one of those games that was was designed for “difficulty” rather than a well designed game flow. As I’ve told many owners, never design for difficulty, as too often doing so results in artificial difficulty. This room is much too arbitrary to be much fun, but I know that Xscape Factor is definitely capable of better, and hope that this room is given a much needed facelift during the next update! For now however, I recommend checking out the much superior Haunted and Circus of the Damned. You can do that here!

4.5/10 (Subpar)

Full Disclosure: Xscape Factor provided Media Discounted tickets for our team.

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