- Played February 2017
- Buffalo, NY
- 60 minutes
- 4-8 players
- What People Say
Sandwiched perfectly in the middle of Buffalo’s International Airport, University, and the U.S./Canada Peace Bridge you’ll find 3600 Escape (yup that’s the company name). They were one of the first companies to lead the sprawl of companies now in Buffalo, and you know that means the ERA team has been chomping at the bit to go visit them for a while.
We were greeted with some wonderful smiles, a nice lobby with adequate seating, and an invitation to have some refreshments and popcorn (yup, they’ve already scored a perfect 10/10 we can wrap this review up now!) In all seriousness though, the little things DO matter despite what some industry insiders would have you believe. Again, let this serve as wisdom for future owners out there; kick-start those lovely endorphins inside a person with seemingly little things and watch as the participant’s perception changes! We were obviously in the presence of intelligent and good natured staff at 3600! The Conspiracy Theory starts with a fun news flash video which may ruffle the feathers of some die-hard political advocates and/or conspiracy theorists out there, but we loved every minute of it! One more detail we can’t forget to mention also, the front of the escape room entrance matched the theme and immersive design – another impressive little thing that added up! …Ok, time to peek further behind the veil of secrecy and see what we find.
When we entered the room, it felt like the recently abandoned bachelor apartment we were prepped for in the pre-room presentation. Everything was fairly well designed, and nothing too peculiar stood out as being poor quality. The room, furniture, and props did feel a little worn and old, but these could be written off as time period items that bring it back to a sense of immersive atmosphere. There were a couple small areas of concern we noted as we tore apart the room. First, there’s a real kitchen-sink and countertop that participants can rummage under, and if you’re like us, you instinctively rummage anywhere and everywhere you can. You’ll need to be careful however when examining around the stainless steel edges because they are sharp and you can easily hurt yourself if you blindly rub your hand over them. The other area we felt could’ve been a tad better was with the amount of stuff in the apartment (there’s a lot)! Again, it’s true to life that if you went into your own homes and tore apart everything, you’d end up with one huge mess no doubt. The only difference is that you’d generally know where to look for things and you wouldn’t have a small team of people piling stuff on top of other stuff that might be valuable. Thankfully that wasn’t much of an issue for us, but it did remind us that lesser experienced players will run into a problem if they don’t take a measured and methodical approach to their searching for clues… Again, the overall room quality was ok, but nothing great.
This brings us to a happy announcement… we FINALLY found an owner and game design team that understands the importance and implementation of immersion! The room quality might have been a tad weak, but the immersion more than made up for it! Story development takes place in clever ways through the room and not all in the intro. That’s what enthusiasts look for, that’s what keeps people engaged, and that’s what a good designer/owner understands! The story of Conspiracy Theory is great. If the room and puzzle components provided a couple more surprises or unique features we’d surely be giving this a perfect score. If for no other reason than the immersive aspects alone, we wanted to keep moving forward just to see what comes next in the story development. Kudos are definitely deserved here!
The puzzles are the happy meeting ground between the room quality and immersive quality. A fairly standard set of escape room puzzles we’ve seen at other companies, with nothing particularly bad or great to say about them. They were enjoyable, contained no leaps in logic, and there weren’t any bottlenecks that lacked inclusive participation. Overall, we know people will enjoy them.
Which brings us once again to our final question, was it fun? Yes. So whom would we recommend this room for then? As mentioned earlier, lesser experienced players will probably want to have an experienced player join them for this one, but it isn’t a must. Kids would probably be helpful searchers but again be sure to remind them to watch for sharp edges on metal surfaces. Conspiracy Theory is a great little room, with an engaging story, some wonderful pre-room spoils, topped off with the superb staff at 3600! We’d probably recommend a team of 3-5 people for this room depending on the level of engagement with the puzzles you want. If you haven’t been here, it’s time to add it to your list along with a few other gems in Buffalo.
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!