Gold Rush

7.8 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
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Originally native to Nashville, the Escape Game has now opened up locations all over the US. The Escape Game is a great addition to the fun and lively atmosphere of Grapevine Mills. The parking is plentiful, as it usually is at malls, and the company is leasing located at ground level through maps and signage.

The staff of The Escape Game is absolutely fantastic. You’re met with a big ol’ warm Texan greeting, and each of the Game Masters are incredibly well-rehearsed and friendly. When you’re game is about to start, you’ll be led down an incredibly long corridor of red doors to your escape room.

While the lobby of The Escape Game is fairly small, with only two benches for seating, an entire food court is just outside its doors, ready to serve you if you are waiting for your game to start. Merchandise lines a display shelf on the wall, with exclusive shirts only being available to escapees of enough rooms. If an improvement could be made to the lobby, it would be the awkward user interface of the electronic waiver forms. The touch keyboard is too big and too low for standard typing, making filling out the forms uncomfortable.

Introduction videos don’t get much better than the ones at The Escape Game. They are always high quality, polished, and set up an exciting premise. Gold Rush is no different, as you and your team rush to find a secret source of gold in an abandoned cabin before a more ominous group does.

The decor is incredibly well done, with the environment carefully crafted to suit the tale that Gold Rush is telling. Most of the room felt incredibly realistic. Recreating the feeling of being outdoors is incredibly hard to pull off within a confined space, but Gold Rush has done a very impressive job, making the experience all the more enjoyable. The attention to detail was amazing. Although the size of the room can occasionally pull you out of the immersion, the atmosphere of Gold Rush is fantastically executed. The props fit into the theme perfectly and blend seamlessly with the puzzles. Gold Rush has you discovering that more and more prop details are actually elegantly designed puzzles incorporated into the room.

The set of Gold Rush really tells a story: as you complete the puzzles and unveil the room’s secrets, you really do feel like you’re watching the adventure unfold in front of you. The progression of the game is well-paced and elegantly done. The puzzles start relatively simple (but still fun!) and get progressively more intricate, complex, and difficult. The puzzle structure, although more linear than The Escape Game’s other rooms, diverges at multiple points before concluding in meta-puzzles each time. If you’re a group of experienced puzzlers and escapees, you may want to keep your team lean and mean to make the most of your experience. Otherwise, Gold Rush’s puzzles will easily accommodate 5+ players, especially as they increase in complexity. There is also an optional part in Gold Rush that includes crawling, so players with bad knees should take care!

Gold Rush makes absolutely excellent use of a wide variety of puzzle types and incorporates them in ways that are genuinely fun. There’s something for the searchers, something for the math-geeks, something for the word-nerds, and hands-on puzzles for the outdoorsy types. The cherry on top are the communication puzzles that gets everyone to work together.

Interestingly enough, due to a bunch of lucky/clever observations, our team managed to accidentally bypass a series of 2-3 of the puzzles in Gold Rush. A few of us were thrown off for the remainder of the game and kept circling back to the bypassed puzzles wondering if we did something wrong. To their credit, it was one of the first times they saw the puzzles get bypassed. By the time this review is published, The Escape Game team has probably tweaked Gold Rush to prevent this from happening again, since it was an easy fix.

If you’re team is looking for some atmospheric hands-on fun with a rustic woodsy theme, Gold Rush is definitely your game!

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