Cabin in the Woods

7 Overall
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Cabin in the Woods

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The Nut House was easy to find as we drove down Scottsville Rd in Rochester, NY (just off of I-390) and there was parking right out front. The main lobby was clean and bright with a variety of board games as artwork, friendly staff behind the large counter and ample seating if you find yourself waiting for that last friend to arrive (there weren’t any puzzles, games or refreshments so hopefully your friend won’t be too late). As we walked from the lobby area towards the pre-room meeting area we couldn’t help but notice the massive cabin mural surrounding the entry door to the game…consider our interests peaked! The briefing area is a conference room with cushy chairs and fluorescent lights. We had a quick review of the rules followed by a helpful and interesting backstory audio clip. That did a great job of putting us in the right frame of mind for our adventure (especially for those of us who closed their eyes while listening), however we wished there was a different transition into the room. Walking between the conference room and the cabin door pulled us out of the moment. [Note that there isn’t a storage for your coats and bags, but you can pile them in the room.]

Upon entering the room we definitely felt like we were in a single room cabin. The set was composed of real items rather than staged props and the layout felt natural for the environment. Boarded up windows, a mishmash of furniture and personal items all made sense. Nearly everything we encountered was relevant and good quality…except for the laminated paper. That will always be a thorn in our side. Befitting the theme, the furniture and props weren’t pristine and that was ok. It wouldn’t have made sense for a brand new bed to be in an old cabin. The room designers included some unexpected and well-considered technology that seemed to good to be true!

The story behind our adventure was well thought out and flowed really well from start to finish. The narrative integrated properly with the set design, but we advise you to pay attention to the pre-room
audio track—otherwise you may be slow to understand why you’re out in the middle of the woods. Immersion is where this room really shines. One of our teammates thought this was one of the most immersive experiences in his 90+ escape room tenure. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s incredibly well executed. The triggered sights and sounds were on point and the story unfolded in clear pattern.

We were a bit less excited about the puzzles. We really appreciated that many of the puzzles forced you to consider the story, however we weren’t enthusiastic about some of the associated thinking required. Don’t get us wrong, we love difficultly, but we thought that some of the links were a bit of a stretch. As such, when the gamemaster gave us a hint, we didn’t think “doh, we should’ve thought of that”. It was more like, “huh, I’m not sure we would have ever figured that out.” Thankfully for every frustrating puzzle and combo lock, there was a really creative associative puzzle with a cool solution and triggered effect. When combined, this felt like an average puzzle experience.

Overall, this is a great immersive room, built by creative thinkers, with a well-integrated story. The cabin is a good fit for groups that are comfortable splitting up and following their own puzzle paths or for new players who don’t mind asking for hints along the way. We all had fun and were interested in experiencing another Nut House adventure.

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