Enter the Conundrum – Dr. Wunderbruggen’s Brewery Brouhaha (Review)

Location: Asheville, NC

Players:  2-10 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

A rare comedy room that delivers laughs and puzzles in full.

Theme:

It’s time for a visit to the eccentric Dr. Wunderbruggen’s newest brewery in Asheville! The secretive brewer has opened his operation up to a select few for the tour of a lifetime. Everything is going wonderfully until your guide notices that The Super Secret Brewing Recipe (you know, the one posted on the wall under Super Secret Brewing Recipe?) has gone missing! It’s time to go into full panic mode and find it before it falls into the hands of Dr. Wunderbruggen’s nemesis!

First Impressions:

The high energy actress took us down the hall to begin our tour, bantering with us and giving us a great way to begin getting immersed into the theme. We were then given access into the brewery and our tour began! More great interactions with our guide revealed something was amiss, and it was time to begin our frantic search for the lost recipe!

High Points:

The room was colorful and fun; a great break from the sometimes dour theming of serial killer and mystery rooms. Props begged to be interacted with, and the feeling of the room was light and comedic. The actress was very high energy and was integrated into the game in fun and interesting ways, interacting with her was a real treat. Puzzles flowed well from one to the next, and this may be the only room in which a red herring or two felt like they belonged and added to the experience. The silly nature of the room was fantastically weird and truly entertaining, but didn’t feel jarring or out of place.

Low Points:

One puzzle felt laborious in it’s execution, as completing it required a small bit of tedium in it’s accomplishment, and another had many moving parts but did not clue us into which were important. A different interaction was whimsical in it’s idea, but the prop was too delicate and had been busted by a previous group. This was quickly addressed in a glorious bit of improv, and didn’t become much of an issue.

Verdict:

Enter the Conundrum built on the technological and storyline based ideas from the Attic of Abigail Falkirk, and created a zany room with great flow. Enter the Conundrum has pulled off a great feat in creating a comedic room that still has good focus on the puzzles and stays weird without losing sight of it’s storyline. Stylishly meshing a theatrical experience with an escape room, Dr. Wunderbruggen’s Brewery Brouhaha is a must see when in Asheville. Book your brewery tour here!

8/10 (Great)

Enter the Conundrum – The Attic of Abigail Falkirk (Review)

Location: Asheville, NC

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

An uneven, but high tech, haunting.

Theme:

There’s something wrong with the Falkirk attic. The family has been hearing strange noises and experiencing phenomena that can only be described as supernatural. They won’t let anyone investigate, however, so the family maid has taken matters into her own hands and hired a “cleaning crew” to find out what’s going on.

First Impressions:

Enter the Conundrum has a wonderful lobby that includes a bar, lounge area, and various board games for before and after your escape experience. In fact, they’re a private club, and you’ll get a membership card when you visit! I was told this was so that they could have the bar and serve absinthe. Once it came time for us to begin our exploration of the attic, we were greeted by Mrs. Applebottom, the family maid, who ushered us, the cleaning crew, into another room and briefed us on our mission in character. It set up the story nicely, and informed us of what we needed to do. We were given a way to get in contact should we need assistance, and were sent to the attic to begin.

High Points:

There was a good amount of technology that allowed for some innovative puzzles and interactions to take place, even if the cluing for some of these tended to be uneven. An early game puzzle led to a really surprising reveal after a fun interaction. Props were hidden interestingly, and made the attic a lot of fun to search. The storyline was well woven through the room and made good use of hidden technology to pop up at unexpected times. A couple of the puzzles are solved in exciting and non-traditional ways.

Low Points:

The actress didn’t seem to add much to the story once we’d entered the room, and I couldn’t tell if it was just that her character was sarcastic and short, or if she was just having a bad day. A couple times we needed help due to puzzle parts being movable when they should not be, and having to call for help in those situations was frustrating. The overall initial vibe seemed to be Victorian, but certain puzzles were out of place for the time period and theme, and anachronistic props and story elements kept showing up, breaking the immersion. One of the main objectives was made quite a bit harder due to very important parts of the story being printed in an extremely small font. Some of the haunts overstayed their welcome, and due to their nature, we couldn’t do anything else while they played out. The ending felt anticlimactic and a little forced due partly to the setup of the room and partly due to unclear objectives.

Verdict:

I really want to like The Attic of Abigail Falkirk more than I did. It seems like there is so much to enjoy, but the unevenness and constant speedbumps to immersion make it harder to recommend. The current flow is jarringly interrupted constantly enough that the adventure feels really rough, though I do think that if those were ironed out, it could easily be one of, if not the, best rooms in Asheville. For it’s ideas, though, I think it’s still a good experience, generally and worth a look. Book your investigation into the Attic of Abigail Falkirk here!

5/10 (Mediocre)