- Played October 2017
- Southlake, TX
- 60 minutes
- 2-6 players
- Recommended age: 14+
- What People Say
The Gift had a really fun premise: your friend bought a special gift for his fiancé. Problem is, your friend is kind of forgetful.
He left the gift in his uncle’s antique shop, and really needs you to sneak into the store and go grab it. Being the best friends and the best wing-team you could possibly be, you agree to help out. Get in, grab the gift, get out. Sounds simple enough, right?
Perhaps it was the fact we went at night, but the Southlake Red Door Escape location was really hard to find. The building they are located in (280 Commerce St) doesn’t display any company’s logo on their building, just their names. And since the signs weren’t lit at night, they were hard to make out from the street. It doesn’t seem that Red Door Escape (or any company in the building) had the power to change the signage to something more ergonomic, which is unfortunate. On the plus side the parking was readily available, free, and easy to access.
The inside was a different story. Almost the entire second floor is completely dominated by Red Door Escape’s colourful walls and logos! The lobby was expansive, well-lit, festively decorated, with enough room to accommodate a NFL team. Sign-in was a breeze. We were introduced to our game master who was incredibly warm, helpful, and attentive during our game. We were led into their theatre-esque staging room, where we were called up by our aforementioned friend urgently needing our help.
The beautiful room design and atmosphere really set the tone of the game and drew us in. The antique store that you’re trying to get into looks absolutely amazing. The store and surroundings is really an impressive feat of construction. From the window awnings, to the concrete curb, to the phone booths and parking meters, it looked beautiful. Every single prop and decoration was beautifully integrated into the puzzles, with some stunning attention to detail added to the mix.
The interior had a noticeably different amount of realism than the exterior. While the rustic antique feel continued into the room, the props and decor did not measure up to the beautiful, polished exterior. While many of parts of the interior were fresh and exciting, there were also some props that didn’t look as believable as they could’ve been. There were quite a lot of laminated pieces. The props and puzzles weren’t as well integrated into the theme of room as the rest of the room, which sometimes pulled us out of the immersive experience. Nonetheless, the props were all creatively used, and the puzzles were fun and exciting to solve.
There was also a moment in the game where we realized that part of the story objective wasn’t followed through. It was quite unfortunate that the story of the game didn’t progress as much as it could’ve. The premise of The Gift could’ve definitely been expanded on to deliver a more satisfying conclusion, especially if you consider the source of inspiration for the story.
The Gift makes use a lot of meta puzzles. The puzzles don’t follow a strong linear structure so there’s minimal bottlenecking. A lot of the puzzles are incredibly fun, clever, and surprising. Enthusiasts who aren’t a fan of combo locks might not love the middle portion of this game, as it makes use of several of 4-digit number locks simultaneously. One of the final puzzles uses a bit of a logical leap, but given a hint or with the right group, it proves to be an exciting challenge.
If the exterior of The Gift had it’s strengths in quality and immersion, then the interior of The Gift had it’s strengths in fun and puzzles. Overall, The Gift delivers a really strong, albeit sometimes disjointed, escape experience that is never short on fun or surprises!