Professor Moriarty’s Gameroom
Professor Moriarty’s Gameroom
- Played February 2017
- Albany, NY
- 60 minutes
- 4-10 players
- What People Say
The Great Escape Room has nearly a dozen locations across eight states, ranging from Michigan down to Florida. The Albany, NY location is situated in the Kross Keys office complex off of Everett Rd. The neighborhood sign happens to include an image of a key, which makes the location easy to find and there is plenty of parking right outside the main entrance. The staff members at The Great Escape Room take great pride in their business and it shows. Everyone is friendly, hospitable and excited to welcome you. This is a popular spot for groups so we were happy that the main lobby and waiting room were large and open. We wished that more of the space was decorated in a Sherlock Holmes style like the theme of the rooms—it felt a little too much like an office. The pre-room lounge is very inviting and has a lot of seating options along with some games and candies. Sit back and relax while your wait for the rest of your group to arrive!
The thorough introduction and instructions for the rooms are a little different than what you will experience at many other escape room venues. The Great Escape Room is not a “traditional” puzzle seeking and escape environment. Instead you’ll be looking for items with colored stickers that correspond to the five main puzzles spread along the walls. Each of the five puzzles is assigned a color and boldly marked with the number of objects that must be found in order to aid in that puzzle’s solution. The staff explained the unique twist and also noted that unlike most other escape rooms, we were free to be heavy-handed with the furniture and props. Toss the room as you see fit!
We entered Professor Moriarty’s Gameroom and were directed to a pre-recorded message that outlined the backstory of why we were locked in the room and also our goal for the next 60 minutes. The messaged ended, the music started and the game was afoot. All of the Great Escape Room games follow a Sherlock Holmes theme, so grab your deerstalker hat and magnifying glass because It’s time to hunt for clues. We’re not talking about moving some books and looking in a few cabinets. No, you must check EVERY nook and cranny… and then check again… and again… and again. The number of small, hidden items is extraordinary and we spent the majority of our time in a scavenger hunt loop. Escape room addicts like ourselves love to do some digging, but this was overkill and there wasn’t any rhyme or reason to where items might be hidden, nor a relationship between the hiding spots and the puzzles. An added layer of searching difficulty came from the signs around the room that asked us not to touch or move certain props. Signs like these are common and understandable, however in this room you are expected to follow the letter of the law, not the spirit of the law. Read the signs carefully. As a whole, all of the intense searching began to frustrate us and made the gameplay less enjoyable. A list with clues to the location of hidden items would be a nice feature to add to the experience.
With that said, this is a fantastic activity for certain groups of people. The Great Escape Rooms are best played with six or more people and we’re told that children are especially adept at finding all of the hidden treasures. You can play at a leisurely pace, searching to your heart’s content. You may not have enough to time to finish all of the puzzles, but you’ll have an excellent time as a sleuth. The quality of the room is very good. Nary a broken piece of furniture nor damaged prop in the spacious room. Quite impressive for a room that is expected to be treated with rough hands. The dark painted walls supported an authentic atmosphere and all of the genuine props were what you’d expect in a game room.
While we were quite happy with the room quality, we were less so about the game immersion. When we entered into Professor Moriarty’s Gameroom it was clear that we were in an office building. It was very nicely appointed, but there is a kitchen area to one side that is very out of place. The white overhead lighting gave the room somewhat of a sterile feel. The recorded message and music were manually controlled by the game host in the room, rather than computer controlled from a hidden gamemaster. The host remained in the room throughout the game which at times felt like we were taking an exam. We would probably have been more immersed if the host was dressed in a themed costume and attempted a British accent. Either way, we wouldn’t have been able to get as far as we did if not for his helpful nudging. Once the 60 minute timer began, the only real tie to the Sherlock Holmes theme was the music. We wished there was some progression to the story and more items that gave the sense of England rather than America. This room could have been given a different title and the room design would not need to be changed.
Once you have gathered up enough clues to start one of the five main games, take off your deerstalker and put on your thinking cap… these puzzles are abstract and challenging. Kudos to the minds who created the puzzles and a big thumbs up to the groups who are able to solve everything without hints. This room is a meta-puzzle style where each of the five colored games needs to be solved in order to progress to the final part. This system is a smart way to insure that players don’t jump ahead without solving the previous puzzles. On the flip side, that makes it impossible for a group to progress if they are stuck and have used all of their hints. We wished the puzzles fit better with the room theme and that the extensive searching wasn’t completely necessary to successfully tackle the puzzles.
Overall, Professor Moriarity’s Gameroom was not a great fit for our group, but it will certainly be a great time for some others. The amount of searching tried our patience and we wished we had been more immersed in the room and storyline. If you have a large group or family interested in a high quality scavenger hunt, then this is definitely an experience for you.