The Railcar

6.8 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
Users (0 votes) 0

The Railcar

  • Played August 2016
  • Chicago

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-10 players
  • $28.70

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The 7th escape room during our packed Chicago weekend trip lead us to Escape Artistry, located just a few minutes from downtown Chicago. We had the pleasure of meeting with their owner before going to visit the room itself and whereas we’d ordinarily focus on things such as parking, signs, and ease of access, this time we found ourselves more interested in things we learned about this company. Far too often we come across owners who govern themselves by the pursuit of money, power and status within the escape room community. One can even become depressed at the stories of owners who conduct themselves poorly with fellow owners, customers, and their surrounding community. The ERA team is always committed to helping owners, enthusiasts and the escape room industry. We see a bigger picture in how we all benefit when we lift each other up….

Having said all this imagine how we felt when we learned Escape Artistry has a passion for supporting their community by employing local residents, using primarily recycled materials, and putting a lot of their proceeds back into the community by reinvesting in other local businesses! Is it possible that such a company can also have a great escape room experience? Read on…

The location requires street parking, and the signage could be a bit better to help out-of-towners like us. The flatiron building that currently houses Escape Artistry is located on the top floor so be mindful that you’ll get some good exercise if you choose to take the stairs. Due to the nature of this historic building there isn’t really a lobby available which may be a bit of a drawback for some enthusiasts who are used to experiencing more than just an escape room when they visit an escape room company. Uh oh, enthusiasts might be starting to get worried so let’s look at the other areas.

The room introduction quickly had us forgetting about the lack in other amenities. Energetic, quick and completely in character your ‘rail conductor’ will have you smiling as she explains your objective and bids you bon voyage on your railcar trip. The room quality itself is as you would expect to see from a dystopian future railcar, especially if you imagine the future looking somewhat like a cross between Total Recall and Blade Runner. Well built, without too many surprises good or bad which seemed to do the trick for our larger group of eight. One thing we particularly appreciated was that even with panels and/or wires being exposed, it fit perfectly and consistently within the theme which leads us to the immersive elements of this room…

The immersion was somewhat debated among our team and those who joined us for the room. On the one hand there was a feeling of being disconnected from what was happening in the overall story because it was another large group experience where nobody gets to experience everything within the room. On the flip side the immersive feel of the room and the consistency of presentation did make some of us feel like we might very well step out of this railcar about 70 years into a much dirtier and more hopeless future…

The puzzles were probably the weaker part of the experience, but still enjoyable for the most part. There were times we felt a bit lost without clear instruction on how to solve the puzzles at hand, but again the puzzles themselves stayed within the consistency of presentation and atmosphere which was good to see.

And what everyone wants to know, would we recommend this room and to whom? This is another one of our famous “Yes… kinda” responses. This room seems better suited for certain types of players. Younger players and/or those new to escape rooms will enjoy the atmosphere, but might get frustrated by the puzzles. Those with some escape rooms under their belt will find an interesting challenge here and will further enjoy the creativity and consistency of theme. What we’re really hoping however is that everyone at least give this room a shot because we are struck by the incredible vision the owners have in providing more than just entertainment.

As always we want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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