- Played October 2017
- Plano, TX
- 60 minutes
- Up to two groups of 6 players each
- Recommended age: 14+
- What People Say
The newly opened Plano location of Red Door Escape benefits greatly from having their logo lavishly displayed across their store front, and having a building in the middle of a large parking lot. The warm and welcoming lobby is decorated with festive decor and cute little details to make your stay more fun. Solving the riddle that was posted in their waiting room could award you with an extra free hint, and they had a Halloween-themed mini game that awarded candy to any eager participants. Being a newly opened location, Red Door Escape in Plano may not be as well-rehearsed as the Southlake location, but the experience and the customer service was friendly and welcoming all the same.
Lost Ruins, at the time we played, did not have a introduction video at the time we played, although we were shown their standard upbeat flashy rules video before heading in.
The story is an age-old escape room classic: your professor went on a research trip to a mysterious remote location and never came back! He has sent you his research journal riddled with cryptic messages, so now you and a team of friends need to find out what happened and venture into the… Lost Ruins!
One of the coolest things about Lost Ruins is the introduction of a “research journal” that you need to decipher as you progress through the ruins. The journal serves as a guide throughout many of the puzzles in the room. It adds a whole level of immersion to the professor-lost-in-ancient-ruins story that seems to be a staple among escape rooms. After all, if you were the colleague of a lost professor, archeologist, or explorer, you’d have at least some research papers before heading into a dangerous, unknown, friend-consuming place right?
Perhaps Red Door Escape at Plano just has a lot of square footage, but Lost Ruins was a room that kept on giving. It keeps on unfolding to reveal more and more challenges with every puzzle you solve! Everything in Lost Ruins was very well built. Every prop was solid and well-engineered. The surroundings were done thematically, and almost every detail, especially near the end of the room, was beautifully and intricately arranged. A lot of work was put into the props and environment of Lost Ruins and it really shows. Every single puzzle-based prop worked smoothly without a hitch. Even the weight puzzles, (which are often finicky or easily broken) were pulled off elegantly in Lost Ruins! It was an absolutely impressive feat of engineering.
Being in Lost Ruins genuinely felt like you were discovering an ancient temple while lost in the wilderness. Especially since the deeper you went into the room, the more realistic and well-done the room got. A few members of our team actually felt that it was perhaps too well done: ruins should look older, darker, covered in dust and debris.
The story was developed at multiple points in the room, both thanks to the journal and the details put into the props. The room leads to a fitting conclusion for the end of your adventure. Veteran escapees will likely be unsurprised by the story, but first timers will likely get a fun surprise while doing the room.
One interesting thing to note: the deeper you venture into the Lost Ruins, the less and less combination locks there are. If this was done thematically to allude to the fact you wandered into ancient territory, this was subtle detail that was carried out fantastically.
The puzzles in Lost Ruins were appropriately themed. A lot of the times when you see something new, you need to refer to the journal to see if theres any clues there. Veteran escapees might feel that the research journal is a bit too much of a hand-hold because of how often you refer back to it. But first time escapees may love the research journal for the exact same reason! Theoretically, most of the puzzles can be solved without the help of the journal, so veterans also have the chance to make the room extra challenging for themselves by referring to the journal as little as possible if they choose to do so.
While the electronics and mechanics of Lost Ruins were absolutely flawless, there were a few puzzles that could be balanced slightly better. Our team was bottlenecked at a physical puzzle. While we could figure out ‘how’ to do it, we weren’t physically deft or coordinated enough to complete it on our own. Our game master graciously lent us a hand, but the puzzle could stand to be improved ergonomically.
There’s a lot of gathering and searching in Lost Ruins as well. No object is hidden in some impossible-to-notice-crevice, so poor-searchers worry not! Lost Ruins proves that looking for all the pieces of the puzzle that you know you’re missing can be very fun! Just be prepared to carry a lot of components throughout the game as you collect them along the way. A strange thing to make note of though, was that we uncovered a set of three puzzle pieces that remained unused the entire game. The other puzzles were strongly themed between the puzzles and solutions, so it didn’t occur to us we had puzzle pieces left over, until much after the game ended. It is very likely Red Door will have either removed this or incorporated this by the time this review is published.
Overall, Lost Ruins is an absolutely fantastic room in it’s theme, construction, and enjoyability. It can still use a little bit of polishing on some of the more finicky or ambiguous puzzles to balance out the experience and to avoid bottlenecks, but it is a room that we would strongly recommend all the same.