Drago’s Castle

8.5 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
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Drago's Castle

  • Played November 2017
  • West Nyack, NY

  • 30 minutes
  • 2-12 players
  • $23, discounts for multiple rooms
  • great for families

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Our previous visits to other 5-Wits locations have all been stellar experiences and our time in West Nyack was no different! It’s an impressive feat to continually operate ANY business at a high level; 5-Wits is able to maintain their incredible standards consistently across all of their locations.

As with the other 5-Wits we’ve played, the West Nyack experience was located in an indoor shopping mall. While there were plenty of location maps inside the mall, there wasn’t any outdoor signage to suggest where to park. Those with limited time will want to take that into account because the Palisades Center is massive. The benefit of such a large mall was the plethora of restaurants, window shopping and other family activities nearby. You could spend the entire day in this mall. For those familiar with the Palisades Center, 5-Wits took over the spot on the 4th floor where the IMAX theater used to live.

The wonder of 5-Wits comes from their incredible set designs, flowing multi-room experiences and automated clue system that adapts to each team’s skill level. Flaws are minimal and our biggest complaint continues to be the lobby… there wasn’t a seating area for people who were waiting for their games to start. Evenings and weekends can be busy so be prepared to find some guests waiting on the floor. The massive doors are a beautiful touch for pre-room design (and eye candy for passersby), however they are anti-climatic once you proceed through. There was apparel and memorabilia for sale, plus this location has a hieroglyphics machine that will translate your name into ancient Egyptian characters and print it on “ancient” parchment.

This visit to 5-Wits was unique because our team included guest judges aged 6 and 9. From the company’s website: “While each of our family friendly adventures is designed to be intense, they are intended to thrill and challenge, not to frighten you. There are some moments of temporary darkness and some loud sound effects in each experience, so we suggest that parents of young children, generally below the age of 7, should use their discretion.” The young ones in our group were in awe of the set design and likened the atmosphere to a Disney adventure. The adults agreed that the quality was generally excellent and the pre-room introduction was incredible. We ran into a problem with a faulty peg which made one of the puzzles difficult to solve. Because the room is timed and automated, that delay meant that some other aspects of the room were rushed. (To be fair, this would have gone unnoticed if no one had played this scenario before.)

Our team also included a person with claustrophobia…what a mixed group we were that day! 5-Wits was very accommodating and they’ve built their adventures with the understanding the some guests might feel uncomfortable in low lights or small spaces. Every area of the experience included a discreet exit door that allowed our teammate to stand “outside” and watch while the rest of the group continued with the activities. You can pop in and out as you see fit. This understanding of accessibility was also extended to people with limited mobility. There was a fun crawl space built into the adventure with a side door for those unable or disinterested in going that route.

The puzzles in Drago’s Castle were a mix of mental and manual challenges. The variability was great for the team because everyone’s strengths were able to shine, however it was hard to keep everyone engaged throughout the castle. A number of the puzzles became more difficult with so many voices and opinions bouncing off of the walls. Some people had to twiddle their thumbs while others did the solving. The company website suggested up to “12 people on each expedition”, but we suspect that would be a poor experience—our 7 people already felt like too many. “New adventures begin every 15 minutes throughout the day. As one group moves deeper into their exploration, a new group can enter.” With this in mind, we’d recommend 4-5 people at once for the best experience. Larger groups may want to split up.

The beautiful and consistently designed rooms provide a wonderful template for an immersive experience and no part of the environment broke from the theme. We felt like we moved through different areas of a castle and even had a visit from a live dragon! But, the disjointed nature of the puzzles in each stage and the pre-recorded messages took away from the cohesiveness of the story. We felt like the adventure had been stitched together rather than one flowing experience. Still, the immersive nature of the adventure is incredible when compared to other escape room/adventure rooms in the industry. It’s very rare to find an environment like this.

The children “loved it” and were champing at the bit to visit another room. The adults also left smiling, energized and wanting for more…even those who had to stand near the exit doors for relief. We continue to hear high praise from our followers who have visited the various 5-Wits locations and it’s easy to understand why. The quality, immersion, puzzles and fun are all first rate. We highly recommend that you visit!

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