Out of the Box
Gateway Escape Rooms is located in St. Louis behind a strip center. While it isn’t the easiest to get to, they do provide detailed directions and pictures. There was plenty of parking available, as well. Our game master was friendly and so much fun, he did a great job working with us all afternoon! The lobby itself was somewhat bare; there was a long bench for seating and décor on the walls, but there was nothing over-the-top about it. Our backstory was essentially that we were in an escape room—there is a professor monitoring our group completing puzzles and seeing our reactions. We were curious to get started.
Upon entering the room, it was just as the story described—lots and lots of raw puzzles and locks. Everything was in good shape and worked well, with limited wear and tear. We were hoping to see more décor or something more exciting beyond just the boxes that were in there. We knew our objective, although we felt like there was minimal storyline behind it. When discussing immersion, there was a huge variation in opinions—some feeling like immersion didn’t apply to this type of escape room, and others feeling like it was quite immersive in its own right. With that being said, each of us worked on puzzles and contributed throughout the room.
In terms of puzzle design, we loved the way that the puzzles worked with one another, and that there was so much variety in the puzzles. In addition, with our group of 6, there was always something to be working on. This room allowed for teamwork and communication throughout. The puzzles were consistent, well-executed, and some were quite unique and creative. Puzzle design is where this room put its efforts.
This room was a refreshing change from a typical escape room. This room consisted of, essentially, raw puzzles. There was no real storyline, no scare factor, searching and finding, it was purely puzzles. With that being said, it was enjoyable to be able to spend time working together to solve puzzles. Each time something was solved, it was a little dopamine rush that made us want to keep going. In addition, we loved that because there were so many puzzles, we could switch what we were working on if we got frustrated. This room would be great for those who want to just do puzzles, and who aren’t as interested in the storyline, decorations, etc. It is a great way for beginners to learn the mechanisms of a room, and it might be a refreshing change for the veterans.