Over The Falls

9 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
Users (0 votes) 0

Over The Falls

  • Played May 2018
  • Buffalo, NY

  • 60 minutes
  • 4-10 players
  • $28
  • Great for all ages

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ERA members love experiencing new companies, playing new escape rooms, travelling to new locations, and for this author personally, meeting different owners from across the USA and Canada! Not long ago in fact we met some great owners in Philadelphia who told us they’ve played over 300 rooms! Although the ERA team (as a whole organization) has played an estimated 650+ different escape rooms, none of us (including our longest serving ERA members), have individually played over 300 rooms yet. Once we picked our jaws up from the ground, we asked “Which companies do we have to visit if we haven’t already!” They thought about it for a minute, and said “For the Toronto ERA team there’s an incredible company located just nearby in Buffalo, so you should check them out… they’re called Escape City Buffalo.” And that was all we needed to hear. We promptly informed our Toronto team we were going to Buffalo once again, and coordinated the trip with one of our Denver ERA team members. Not long after that we were on the road (or in the air) headed back to Buffalo and Rochester for another packed weekend of escape rooms! Did our hopes get dashed on the rocks of Niagara Falls or were we flying high over the vineyards of the Niagara Region? First up at Escape City Buffalo was ‘Over The Falls’.

Starting with the pre-room experience, things seemed fairly normal to slightly above average… There were visible company signs from the road, plenty of parking spots available, and the front entrance was spacious and nicely designed to match the overall theme of the company. Visually it was a great start, and the staff did an excellent job of being gracious hosts, but some of the little amenities we associate with incredible pre-room experiences (food, entertainment…etc) weren’t really there. So what was it about this company that made it was a must see?

After a brief intro, we entered the room and… HO…LY… COW!!! To say we’ve never seen room quality like this before is an understatement. The set design and level of detail that surrounded us on all four walls, ceiling, and floors, was insanely impressive! The only way our initial impressions could have been better is if we were led into the room by blindfolds to break the transition between the outside world and this new cargo frigate we’d been transported to. As a general rule, we’ve tried our best to be strict with fellow ERA reviewers by telling them: “Don’t give out 10’s in any of your scores unless you are absolutely certain you’re experiencing the best of the industry… there needs to be a separation between something that is a 10 and something that is just really good!” The reason why we’ve always tried to keep this standard is for times like this! “I wish I could give it an 11!” one of our team members said. Another said “If this isn’t a 10 out of 10 for room quality, then our system is broken!” Both these sentiments capture what all of us felt. We’d give some examples of just why it’s so good, but we don’t want to spoil any of the surprises and observations you’ll personally have. Suffice to say, this cargo ship’s design will definitely impress everyone and was almost too real!

Did this translate to a good immersive experience also? You bet! We had to nitpick to find things that distracted us from being in the moment of the game. And when we’re at the point of minor nitpicking, you know it’s something excellent! The use of sights, sounds, lights, smell, noise (yes even external and internal noises play a role)… all of it was just incredible! A heads up for those who may not know this ahead of time, but generally you shouldn’t wear your best clothing to an escape room. That guideline definitely applies here as you may get wet if you choose to immerse yourself all the way (which you can avoid, but where’s the fun in that?!!) The only slight knock against the richness of the immersion was that we’d forgotten the original story line in the middle of the game. This isn’t entirely bad however because we were having so much fun with each task we were performing. Story enthusiasts might argue a need for more drama and story development, but overall the room did a good job of keeping us on track with our objective.

And the puzzles…? Surely they couldn’t have been as impressive if the set design and immersion were the centre pieces of the experience… right? As hard as it might be to believe, the puzzles and tasks we were just as fun and engaging as the rest of the room! And here’s the real joy about it all… there’s actual teambuilding challenges mixed alongside other observation, deduction, and logic puzzle offerings. Admittedly there’s a lot of observation based puzzles, and one might feel it’s more ‘problem solving’ than ‘puzzle solving’, but we’d argue this perspective loses the whole point of what an escape room is all about. Everything we did seemed flow nicely with the theme, the surroundings, and more importantly made sense in the moment. Too often we’ve seen impressive rooms with out of context puzzles (why exactly does this toolbox have a Sudoku puzzle on it? Why is every 3rd letter in CAPS on this letter from a deceased wife to her husband? Why does this jar of pickles have a lock on it?… etc, you get the idea). But thankfully that isn’t the case here – the puzzles and tasks match with your objective, the set design, and the scenario as a whole. People who prefer traditional escape room puzzles may want to consider that this isn’t that kind of room, but we’re pretty sure even the most devout traditionalists will have their adrenaline and endorphins shooting through the roof.

And the easiest question to answer of them all… was it fun and would we recommend this room? Oh gosh no, you should totally avoid this room… Are you serious?!! Of course you need to see this room! There aren’t enough good things we can say about Over The Falls! The only debate we had among our team was whether it’s #1 or #2 on our personal all time favourite lists (so keep watching over the next couple months to see where this one ends up). One of the best selling points of this room is that it’s suitable for all ages, all experience level players, and all enthusiasts regardless of their personal preferences. Over The Falls is also best when you get to actively participate in everything so we’d suggest a smaller group size of 4-6 players. A very BIG congratulations to Escape City Buffalo for putting together such an incredible experience and we can’t wait to see what they have in store next!

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!

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