The Experiment

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

The Experiment

  • Played June 2018
  • New York

  • 60 minutes
  • 2-6 players
  • $28-60 per person depending on day of week and number of players

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Once you are able to locate it, The Experiment at Escape Games NYC is pretty cool. It is located in the basement of a building on a side street in New York City, so to find it you really need to keep your eyes peeled for the correct sign so that you can be buzzed down. Please note that if you are playing an evening game and wanted to stop and grab something before or after, there isn’t much in terms of food or drink in the vicinity besides a bodega or two a few blocks away. So be prepared.

The pre room/lobby worked for what it is. The temperature was perfect, considering the weather, and it was clean. There was water available and also a restroom, though during our visit one of the restrooms was out of order. The lobby was decorated nicely with team photos and cool artwork, though it lacked practice puzzles or locks or anything interactive to help get players in the mood. The staff was extremely friendly and accommodating. One of our players was about five minutes late, but our gamemaster didn’t rush us to get going once they arrived.

As far as the pregame narrative goes, our story and set up was a little jumbled. There actually wasn’t much of a set up at all. It wasn’t super clear what our goal was or our purpose for being there. It almost seemed like our gamemaster was making it up as he went along. The mechanics of the game were explained well though. We knew exactly where the clock was, how to obtain clues, how to exit in case of an emergency, etc.

Once we entered the room, our interest was piqued. Having played many escape rooms before, it was not what we were expecting for an initial room. For the most part, everything functioned well. Nothing was broken or out of place. Our game did not suffer due to a bad reset. The “environment” that was presented worked for the theme of the room, even if it was a bit minimalistic. There were a few instances where we felt the quality could have been a bit better (the numbers written in marker versus printed or etched numbers for example), but on the whole, everything was fine. There was one instance were a teammate was able to brute force a key from a certain mechanism however, due to a lack of instruction on the puzzle. I have to note though, that the use of black light and the use of the full space is a huge strong point of this room.

This room’s main flaw is its lack of immersion. This room felt like a beta best for an experienced puzzle maker trying to break into the escape room business. I don’t want to say that it took away from the joy of the puzzles themselves; it just wasn’t enough. The puzzles didn’t really relate to the theme of “The Experiment”, and the atmosphere didn’t make us feel like there were any stakes in our success versus our failure.

Based on the theme of the room, we were expecting more psychological puzzles, but we didn’t get any. That was a bit disappointing, but the puzzles that we did get were done well. There was a solid variety of puzzles, from coordination to logic to math to visual, but especially group communication. About three or four of the puzzles explicitly required more than one person to complete, and those ones our group particularly enjoyed. None of the puzzles required any specialized skill or prior knowledge, which is a plus. There were a mix of combination locks and key pads, and the main puzzle was easily identifiable. I liked that the progression of the room could easily be tracked as you solved the puzzles. Puzzle difficulty was not super high, though there were a few tricky ones in there, and I would definitely recommend this room for novice escape room players.

All in all, I can’t think of a single moment where we were bored, disappointed, or disengaged while playing the game. The puzzles were simple enough to not be frustrating, but complex enough to keep us engaged. This is what one team member called “a feel good room”. Our mixed experience team had a good time, with lots of synergy and fluidity during our game. However, if you have an experienced team and you are looking to go in and dominate a challenging room, this isn’t the best choice.

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