Location: Fredricksburg, VA
Players: 2-8 (We recommend 3-4)
Price: Prices vary, see website for more details
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
A celebration to die for!
From the Rush Hour Live Escape Games website:
There’s been a murder and you and your group of jazz musicians are being framed for the crime! The Authorities are on their way back to the jazz club to arrest you all for the murder. Your only hope is to solve the mystery and collect the evidence to prove your innocence.
I’ve never come across a Mardi Gras theme, and Murder at Mardi Gras seemed like a creative idea! The room was certainly decked out in the green, purples, and golds of the holiday, and was overall very festive, in spite of the gruesome murder that had been committed!
The set design was well done in this room, and absolutely stayed on theme during the main portion of the game. It’s always nice to have a colorful, fun set when most escape rooms tend towards the darker, dreary realms of serial killers and jail cells. Props all played into the whimsical theme, and some of them were loads of fun to play with. The storyline for the room was a good time, with an exciting climax and enjoyable twists and turns, though the acting left a bit to be desired. However, this didn’t detract too much from the overall experience, and the main draw for us is the puzzles.
The game flow itself was straightforward and mostly intuitive, with a nonlinear approach that allowed for our team to divide and conquer for the most part. One of the initial puzzles was a favorite of mine, due to how it was put together, as well as the great moment of revelation it provided, as the clues were all hidden in plain sight, it just took some detective work to make all the pieces fit together nicely. One particular escape room staple is present within Murder at Mardi Gras, but it is handled in the best way possible, and we found no fault with it’s inclusion as the interaction was presented perfectly for what it is.
Some of the game’s puzzles dropped off theme, wandering into “because escape room” territory, and while they weren’t terrible, they weren’t terribly interesting either. Some puzzles were undirected, with one that didn’t even seem like an interaction until the game master quickly let us know that it was, and another leaving us to determine the solution without giving us the means to derive the full answer without throwing out a guess. There was one particular repeat of a similar puzzle type we saw a few times at Rush Hour Live, one which popped up several times during our visit, and while it wasn’t a bad puzzle, it began to become old hat once we saw it repeated a few times. There have been a few updates to the room since it’s inception, and there is some leftover artifacting, some of which would have been more fun had it been left in, in our opinion. Overall, Murder at Mardi Gras is a serviceable game, but nothing about the experience really stuck with us after the fact. Not a bad game, but mostly average, it definitely falls just above the middle of the pack.
Murder at Mardi Gras is, on the whole, a good time, but isn’t quite as exciting as other rooms we played at Rush Hour Live. The mystery is well presented, and the puzzles are serviceable, but overall, it feels just a little dated. Newer players will have fun here, and there is a pretty good time for enthusiasts as well, but it just doesn’t quite rise above average for the most part. You can book your investigation into the Mardi Gras Murder here!
Full Disclosure: Rush Hour Live Escape Games provided media discounted tickets for this room.