Location: Charlotte, NC
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-4)
Price: $28 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
In space, no one can hear you scream
From the Codescape website:
Is humanity truly alone? Radio signals have been received from a distant part of the known universe, suggesting the existence of intelligent life. As a team of exobiologists, you have been sent on a mission to deep space, in hopes of making first contact. But somewhere along the way, a breach has compromised the spacecraft’s security… Will you discover alien life, or will it discover you first?
After a tangle with the ghosts in The Residents, it was time to shoot into space to deal with some aliens! This was our final room to play at Codescape, so we were interested to see how it played. It certainly looked interesting, and we’ve been looking for a great outer space themed game, so we were excited to get started!
To start the game, there was a really fun technical interaction that encouraged teamwork from the start, and was a simple, yet fun start to the room with a fun payoff. Most puzzles and props were really cool, with some interesting designs throughout the game, most notably after solving the penultimate puzzle. The payoff to this is one of the most fun engagements I’ve seen in an escape room recently, and the unexpected nature of it just added to the experience. The set design was colorful and the soundtrack and lighting matched the theme well. Game-flow also worked, but with the caveat that it begins to break down after you have more than three or four players present within the room.
Unfortunately, the entire room began to feel rather same-y, as the mostly linear experience tended to boil down to the same type of interaction. While varied enough to veil this, a lot of the game can be seen as a “simon says” type room. Further, because of the mostly linear design and lower amount of puzzles, a maximum of eight players will definitely see a lot of the players facing large amounts of downtime with little to do. The biggest puzzles require a maximum of three people to comfortably complete before becoming an issue of too many cooks, and unfortunately, without buying out the rest of the tickets, there’s not much you can do to prevent overbooking. One particular puzzle presents a color based conundrum, but the lighting and solution choices tend to make several spots look overly similar, causing difficulty in solving not due to the challenge, but because the parameters of the interaction are not clear. During the final puzzle, the soundtrack is amped up with techno music that not only feels out of place, but is far too loud, adding artificial difficulty to a teamwork puzzle that relies on communication.
Deep Space is an interesting game that divided our group quite a bit. Some of us thought it was good, while others hated it. It all comes down to the fact that several folks ended up on the edges of the puzzles looking in due to the mostly linear game design and low actual maximum people that could work on any given puzzle. I’d say this is a fun room for beginners and those who can ensure that their group stays small, but if you’re looking for an experience that can handle more players, I’d look elsewhere. Book your expedition into the unknown here!