- Played March 2018
- Plymouth Meeting, PA
- 30 minutes
- 2-12 players
- $19.99 for 1 game or $29.99 for 3 games
- Family friendly
- What People Say
Located on the outskirts of Philadelphia you’ll find Plymouth Meeting Mall, the location of 5-Wits’ most recent addition to their growing franchise. What sets this location apart from the others however is their new version of Espionage. The ERA team was invited to take the trip out to Plymouth Meeting and see if the game designers improved it from the original… but did they succeed?
The mall itself was easy to access from the highway, there was plenty of parking, and the moment we entered there were directories pointing us to the lower floor where 5-Wits is located. The signage is obvious given it’s in a mall, and like most other 5-Wits locations it’s an open storefront concept with a reception desk. Carpeted floors, three ‘mystery doors’, snacks and drinks for purchase and a variety of merchandise is what you’ll notice when you walk inside. One thing 5-Wits still seems to lack is a seated area in their lobby for those times when lineups to the rooms become an issue (this wasn’t an issue for us as we visited during off-peak hours however). So without a fancy lobby and seating area how can we give the pre-room experience an above average rating you might ask? For those familiar with 5-Wits’ rooms, it’s generally agreed the introduction to Drago’s Castle is among the best pre-room introductions within the escape room industry… that is… until the new Espionage came along! WOW! We won’t spoil it for you, but there are a couple things before your game starts which not only get you into the role of your new job as a super spy, but will also leave you shocked and amazed!
The room quality is of course also top notch and industry changing which is one of 5-Wits trademarks. Everything used to construct the rooms, and within the rooms, are made of solid, sturdy, (and appropriate) materials. At no point in time did we see things that were out of place, out of context, or anything less than spy-goodness perfection!
As you would expect, the amazing room quality lends itself to the equally amazing immersion of Espionage. But let’s take a step by step approach in talking about the immersive experience so you get a sense of what to expect… As we already mentioned, when you enter from the mall you’ll see a large themed door that you’ll enter through to access your secret mission. You’ll then take a very long hallway walk as you’re briefed on your mission by the impressive staff from 5-Wits who do a great job of setting the atmosphere. And then it happens, you arrive at your mission briefing point just outside your assigned location, and the magic takes place. An impressive briefing video is shown alongside your first important task… what is it? You’ll just have to go and check it out for yourself. One thing we can tell you however is once you enter your mission site, you’d better be ready. Your reflexes, decision making skills, puzzle solving skills, and teamwork is tested immediately (and frequently). Your mission also gets further revealed throughout the experience which is a rare treat in the escape room industry. The actors in the videos are a perfect balance of believable and comedic keeping you simultaneously immersed and entertained. By the end of the mission, your adrenaline and endorphins will be shooting so high you’ll wonder why you didn’t become a super spy before. And here’s something we didn’t know until after we completed our mission… there’s different endings! Seriously?!! Yep, it’s true. How you perform will not only determine the fate of the world and your score, but it’ll also determine which ending you receive (naturally we received the best ending 😉).
Sadly we still come across those who feel 5-Wits isn’t a ‘real’ escape room by way of two central arguments: The first is that participants end up getting pushed along in the scenarios even if they fail at the various puzzles and tasks. Critics argue this is too much of a variance from the standard first generation escape rooms they understand the industry to be and therefore it can’t be an escape room; the second argument comes from some hardcore puzzle enthusiasts who argue team building and physical tasks aren’t ‘real’ puzzles and therefore negate 5-Wits from being an escape room facility. In fairness to the critics, even a few members within the ERA family are divided on this matter. The new Espionage comes closer than any of their other rooms to at least addressing the second argument that not enough ‘real puzzles’ are being used. There were quite a few more memory, deductive, and cognitive based puzzles in this room than we’ve previously seen from 5-Wits, which further begs the question: just because they’re a bit different, aren’t they still a facility that meets the needs of the escape room community? We say ‘YES!’ and continue to hope they keep their distinctive implementation of puzzles. For those who want to try 5-Wits but are worried about the puzzle content, the new Espionage is best suited for you.
And the BIG question that matters most of all… Was it fun? YES! And is it good for all ages? YES! And finally would we recommend this room for you to check out? Yes, yes, and yes!!! Now here’s the caveat. The room may say it allows more than six people, but we would STRONGLY suggest you only play this game in a group size of 3-6 players. Anything more than six and you’ll instantly find the limitations of puzzle inclusiveness which is topped out at 5-6 people. Experienced puzzle solvers, teambuilding enthusiasts, and immersion enthusiasts will probably want to aim for 3-5 players if possible. So there you go agents, you’ve received your briefing, now it’s time for you to plan your arrival!
We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!