- Played July 2017
- New York, NY
- 60 Minutes
- Up to 12 players
- What People Say
Escape Room Madness is conveniently in midtown, near plenty of subway choices for locals, and close to Penn Station and Grand Central for those coming from out of town. The building is not hard to find and the space felt very welcoming with thematic decor, multiple puzzles to tinker with, and adequate seating in the small waiting room.
The staff was very friendly and seemed eager to both help us through the room, and observe how we did so they could make any on-going improvements. The commitment to continual adjustments and enhancements should translate to a consistently fun experience for returning visitors (they have 3 rooms) and new ones.
The explanation of the room was thorough but also a bit overwhelming. There were a lot of nuances in how to interact with certain elements of the room, and many were not intuitive, so it felt like a memory test just trying to remember all of the instructions. The opening video was solid and a nice kick-off point.
Overall the room quality was fine. There were quite a number of exposed elements (e.g., wires, radiator) that were not part of the puzzle, but given the nuclear reactor theme they weren’t a big negative. The props and furniture were in good condition, and the large console was impressive. There was some definitely wear and tear noticeable from having had lots of use, though everything seemed to function as it should. Some nice added elements of technology mixed in with old fashioned puzzles.
The room felt like it had a lot of potential to be immersive, especially given the large interactive console that felt right on theme. However there were a number of other elements (furniture, posters and props) that didn’t feel as relevant and seemed to be there there just to help us solve some puzzles. The narrative got lost at times along the way. The excessive 4-digit locks were tedious and kept us out of the story.
The puzzles had a nice range of difficulty and style, and seemed well suited for groups with a variety of skill sets. There was a good balance of isolated puzzles with building up towards the finish with a multi-part solution. However, it felt sometimes like having outside knowledge of science was important or helpful and could be frustrating if you are unfamiliar with those concepts (though not “required” for being able to solve). There were too many solutions that led to the same type of combination and lock, ultimately requiring as much brute force on lock testing as actual puzzle solving. There could also have been more “payoff” when successfully completing certain critical elements, as you might expect from a reactor.
We found ourselves constantly bouncing between fun and excitement from solving certain puzzles, to frustration with dealing with locks and losing track of the story. It was overall very satisfying and an enjoyable challenge, but we didn’t leave with the exhilarating high that you might want from having staved off a nuclear disaster. We did leave wanting to try the rest of the rooms however, and really appreciate their strong commitment to improvement.