Komnata Quest Brooklyn – Doctor Frankenstein (Review)

Location: New York, NY

Price: From $35 per person (Private games are available on a sliding scale, see website for more information)

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2-4)

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

Raise the Dead!

Theme:

From the Komnata Quest website:

In the mystical world of steam machines and airships you have only one hour to revitalize a homonculus and unravel Frankenstein’s mystery.

First Impressions:

We had originally scheduled only City of Ashes and Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box during our trip to Komnata, but our Game Master Devon graciously let us run through our booked games back to back, and we were able to escape quickly enough to ensure we had enough time for one more game. Never one to pass up the opportunity to engage in more escapes, we booked Doctor Frankenstein and immediately got to work puzzling!

High Points:

Doctor Frankenstein boasts another beautiful set from Komnata Quest, full of set pieces and well hidden puzzles, yet streamlined to ensure that it never becomes junky or full of red herrings. The steampunk take on the Frankenstein story is evident right from the start, and meshes well with the alternate take that Komnata has on the storyline. We really enjoyed uncovering the narrative bit by bit through the game play, and the steam punk theme is extremely well conveyed via all facets of the adventure. As always, progress is measured beautifully within the theme, and there is no in game clock, which allowed us to put all other worries out of our mind and focus solely on the game world. Lighting and sound design played a large part within the adventure as well, and the technology behind the puzzles created some very responsive feedback to most interactions we had during the game, which heightened the thrilling nature of the room. The story culminated in wonderfully Franensteinian fashion, and the climax of our journey was exciting and well implemented.

The puzzles themselves are beautifully integrated into the theme, and their somewhat non-linear nature ensured that even if we were stuck on one puzzle thread, we stayed engaged while we mulled over possible solutions. Many clues were presented in plain sight, but not to the point of visual overload, and it was up to us to discern what was important, and keep those things in mind for possible future use. Connective tissue between puzzles and inputs was extremely strong however, and at no point did anything become an unintentional red herring in this regard. The whole room is incredibly intuitive, and ensures that players remain on track by creating fantastic and subtle signposts to follow throughout the adventure. On the whole, the room encourages a lot of out of the box thinking and teamwork to ensure that even larger groups will remain engaged with this electrifying escape!

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I’m sure one of these books has something about raising the dead…

Low Points:

One puzzle in particular is very interesting in theory, but required a lot of fiddling with to ensure we saw exactly what we needed to see, and even then, the solution felt somewhat iffy when we were entering the code. With no way to confirm it with the game master, we had to enter it into the lock out safe and hope for the best. Luckily, we were correct, but had we needed to guess multiple times, we may have been left twiddling our thumbs during this crucial choke point of the game. There is also a few moments of aimless scavenging, which would’ve been better served via the addition of a puzzle or clue worked into the game flow. A certain answer for one puzzle was meant to be entered into it’s corresponding lock in a completely unintuitive way, leading to fully avoidable confusion. A hint leading players to the correct way to enter this code would remove a good bit of frustration from this part of the room.

Verdict:

Komnata Quest is absolutely one of the most immersive escape room companies I’ve visited, and our time within Doctor Frankenstein is another exemplar of that fact. This room does an excellent job combining an interesting mash up of themes with an engaging puzzle flow that is intuitive, yet challenging enough for new players and enthusiasts to enjoy. I give it two (green, stitched together,) thumbs up, and recommend booking your time reviving Frankenstein’s monster here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Komnata Quest Brooklyn provided our team with media discounted tickets.

Komnata Quest Brooklyn – Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box (Review)

Location: New York, NY

Price: From $35 per person (Private games are available on a sliding scale, see website for more information)

Players: 2-6 (We recommend 2-4)

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

Never steal artifacts from a dig site.

Theme:

From the Komnata Quest website:

A renowned professor of artifacts was on a dig in Asia and found an artifact he did not recognize. He was found dead in his home a week later. It was a mystery what killed him. In one of his journals it was found that he found out what the artifact was and wanted to be rid of it. He was going to destroy it and burn it so no one would have to be hexed. He wasn’t successful obviously. The details of the hex were specific, if someone comes in contact within the object for 1 hour they would be hexed and meet an untimely fate.

First Impressions:

After the high octane terror of City of Ashes, I made sure to book a less scary room for my wife’s benefit, as she doesn’t enjoy pure horror as much as I do. (Though I appreciate that she goes along with it so I can enjoy them.) Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box promised to be a more straightforward, brightly lit escape room, so it fit the bill perfectly!

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A calming, post psychological terror escape room!

High Points:

Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box seemed to be one of the less thrilling rooms on offer from Komnata Quest, but once we began working through the many puzzles on offer during the adventure, I found that it ended up being my favorite room during our New York trip! Displaying the best set of the three games we played with Komnata Quest, the professor’s home was beautifully and convincingly appointed. The set designers for this location do a fantastic job of ensuring players are removed from the Brooklyn office building their rooms are housed in and transported directly into the world of the game. The opening story, delivered over speakers in the room, presents an ominously mysterious vibe to begin the game, and sets the mood excellently. No game clock is present in the room, and it’s absence really ensured we had forgotten about the time limit and were fully focused on the game itself. After playing many games without timers in room, I can really see how this one small change can take the immersion factor through the room, and hope that this becomes more the norm for future games.

The game flow in this room is astoundingly good. There are a few meta puzzles that wind though overlapping stages of the room, and these help ensure that progress is tracked intuitively, while also giving players a steady jolt of satisfaction as the meta puzzles are slowly being completed. There’s definitely a rush that is felt every time a new, recognizable part of these long term puzzles are found, and the feeling of excitement is comparable to the wonder of discovery I felt during my first escape rooms! One of the late stage interactions presents a puzzle that is pieced together over the course of three distinct stages, and is amazingly satisfying to solve. Though we initially thought this would be a time sucking process puzzle, it ended up being one of the most memorable moments of the game. It wasn’t the only memorable moment, however, as Hex of the Chinese Jewelry Box is filled to the brim with magical moments of mysterious tech, satisfying moments of revelation, and a great climax that provided an excellent ending that celebrated our win fantastically.

Low Points:

There is quite a bit of searching to be done within this room, and while it generally isn’t too egregious, another puzzle rather than a hidden object is always preferable. That being said, Komnata Quest has somehow found a way to make most of the scavenging within this room pretty enjoyable, so it’s a very small critique. The room is plenty exciting to puzzle through, but we were hoping to learn about more about the mysterious artifact along the way, unfortunately, however, after the initial story is given, it doesn’t really develop further.

Verdict:

Hex of the Chinese Jewelry box is an amazing game, full of well clued interactions, intuitive connections, and great design all around. I wholeheartedly recommend trying it out if you find yourself in Brooklyn, as it presents a game that’s highly approachable for newcomers, yet was able to elicit that excellent sense of discovery and wonder that only the best escape rooms are able to provide. Book your time searching for the cursed artifact here!

9/10 (Excellent)

Full Disclosure: Komnata Quest Brooklyn provided our team with media discounted tickets.