Hound of Baskerville

6.1 Overall
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Hound of Baskerville

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One of the rooms we played at Exodus Escape Room in New York was The Hound of Baskerville. Exodus is located in Koreatown. The building is easy to find and there are lots of food and transportation options in the area. The waiting area provides guests with water, puzzles and test locks for entertainment. A thematic wallpaper bearing the logo of the company set the mood and the staff was very friendly.

Many enjoy the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and this escape room allows you to dive right into the Sherlock Holmes universe assuming the role of his well-known assistant and friend, Doctor Watson. As Doctor Watson or Doctor Watsons (as you usually play as a group) it is your task to work on a case involving a gruesome murder supposedly perpetrated by a mythical, supernatural hound. You do so by scavenging through Sherlock’s office, while he is out in the field tackling the case from a different direction. Although the story is slightly incoherent (why would you be looking for clues to the case in Sherlock’s office, unless the eccentric detective already solved the case and left them there for you to find?), we enjoyed the theme and setting of the even though none of us are particular Sherlock Holmes enthusiasts.

The atmosphere was aided by the props and furniture of the room, as they fit the assumed scenery well and helped us to immerse into the story. For example, one wall is covered by a beautiful wallpaper that looks like a huge bookshelf of a library and most of the furniture looks antique. The decorations were well placed, not too sparse and yet not too cluttered as to hinder us from our main focus of finding the relevant clues to help our friend Sherlock in time. Later throughout the game we gained access to a second room, which felt a bit like an awkward addendum, breaking with the well conveyed theme of the first room. This, as well as the fact that the room was not well insulated from outside noise, took away a bit from the immersion and room quality experience which overall showed a lot of potential.

From the viewpoint of immersion into the story we felt a bit left alone by the background story introduced by the staff. Why exactly are we in the room? Are we actually locked in? What are we doing and how are we helping the case? Questions like these left us wondering about the story so much, that we could not truly immerse into it.

However, if your focus is on the puzzles, this room could be a good match for you. Besides the fact that many pieces had overlapping riddle elements, leaving you to guess which components might belong to which puzzle, the logic of them was interesting and challenging. Many of the puzzles were actually logic puzzles in the sense that you had to read a text and draw the right conclusions from them, just as one would expect from a Sherlock Holmes theme. These detective style puzzles were very consistent and overall well made. What could have been an amazing experience puzzle-wise was only hindered by the fact that some of the puzzles were executed non-optimally. For example, some of the technical equipment simply did not work at all or did not work properly, which was frustrating, because even when we had the right idea and solution, we were let to the belief that we were wrong. Overall, we still enjoyed the puzzles, but again we had the feeling that a lot of potential was left unused.

To conclude, we enjoyed this room, but clearly want to point out that this room’s strength is the puzzles rather than the immersive aspect of it. As stated above, especially the style of the puzzles was quite intriguing and although the execution could be improved for some of them, if you are into playing detective you should check out this room.

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