Today’s review was graciously written for us by Texas correspondent, Cathy Nanni! We thank her for enduring this room so that we don’t have to.
Location: Dallas, TX
Players: Up to 10 (We recommend 4-6)
Price: $28.00 on the weekdays, $30 on the weekends per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Git along lil’ doggies and rob that bank!
Round up your best Huckleberries and put on your black hats. In this Western, you’re playing the bad guy. You have 60 minutes to break into the bank, grab the loot and get out of Dodge.
I was excited to check out Escape the Room. I was bringing along three friends who had never done an escape room before. I wish I hadn’t.
Escape the Room did not offer up a great first impression. In hindsight, this should have been a major red flag, as the sparsely decorated lobby only had a folding table set up for the receptionist who didn’t even offer us a greeting as we walked in. After getting her attention and checking in, we were told to wait for the rest of the people signed up to do the room with us. Our room was scheduled to start at 7, but we weren’t invited back to the room until almost quarter after. The GM guided us right into the room for our safety talk and introduction to the room. There was a large TV on the wall that myself and another room veteran thought would show the backstory for the room but it turned out to be the clock and the means of communication between us and the GM.
We were not offered a locker or basket to place our things in. Along the wall under the TV was a wooden bench. The GM told us to place our things on this bench (remember this, it will become important later!) We set our things down on top of the bench and began the game.
The set was well done and felt like the inside of an old timey bank. The walls were covered in wood paneling, there were antique looking safety deposit boxes, and even a creepy banker mannequin.
Several of the puzzles allowed you to use items you’d expect to find in a Western movie which was a fun touch that added to the theme. They even had several antique items you could manipulate which made the room feel more authentic.
At least the set is nice?
This is the only escape room I have ever played that allowed people to join after the rest of the group had already begun the game. A couple joined our game about 10 minutes in, breaking the flow. This couple had also never done an escape room before and had missed the GM’s introduction, further confusing things.
The hint system was incredibly frustrating. It should be simple, players ask for a hint out loud and the GM submits the hint via the large TV mounted to the wall. I’m guessing that Escape the Room doesn’t really trust their GMs to be able to run a room because it took a very long time for the GM to respond and when she did, it was very obviously a scripted response that never really answered our questions, just gave a general hint.
The puzzles were so poorly clued that even with half of our group being experienced players, we had to ask for hints for almost every puzzle. One puzzle even required outside knowledge of pop culture. Then there was the bench. Remember the bench the GM directed us to place all of our personal items on? Turns out that bench had a puzzle on it and now we were required to lose precious time moving all of our personal items to access the puzzle.
Another time sink we encountered was a puzzle that required us to use an antique machine that unfortunately didn’t work. We lost a lot of time trying to get help through the hint system, especially since the only responses our GM could use were automated and not actually pertinent to our conundrum. Eventually, a staff member had to come into the room and fix the machine. We were not compensated for the time lost due to this even though the room was strictly linear. This tech fail left our group of 10 standing around twiddling our thumbs for over 5 minutes!
Don’t waste your time with this one unless you want to deal with late guests, a horrible hint system, frustrating puzzles and broken tech. In case you’d like to sate your morbid curiosity, you can do so here. We’d recommend against it, however.