- Played July 2018
- Tewksbury, MA
- 60 minutes
- 3-6 players
- What People Say
Escapology is located in a small strip mall, and they started things off on the right foot with a nice big sign and ample parking out front. On entering the lobby, the positive impressions continued with a very nicely decorated space. There were refreshments available for a price, including alcoholic ones. There were a few small puzzles to keep us occupied while we waited, and the overall impression was of a large, comfortable lounge. The introductory video similarly had high production values and did a good job of setting the scene and introducing the story, which takes place in the 1930s on a luxury European express train and bears a no doubt purposeful similarity to a certain Agatha Christie novel. Basically, there’s been a murder on the train and you and your crack team of investigators have been called in to investigate and find the perpetrator before they can make their escape.
On entering the room, the initial impression was overwhelmingly positive. The set design, especially in the first part, was top notch and did an excellent job of transporting us back to the golden era of train travel. However, in later parts of the experience, the quality dropped off somewhat, with some bare walls and more minimal decoration. The props were mostly solid and authentic, although there were a few that were made of plastic. There was also a bit more use of laminated pages than we would have liked. On the plus side, the room felt larger than it was and didn’t feel cramped even with five people, and the countdown clock was nicely themed.
The story was passable if a bit derivative, but the immersion was greatly helped by some great ambient music and sound effects. When putting together the room, Escapology did a good of finding props that fit the time period, although a few of the more modern locks felt a little out of place. They also did a good job of picking writing and handwriting styles that felt period appropriate. There was some story development as the room progressed, but as is often the case we found it was easy to miss story components if you didn’t work on all the puzzles.
The puzzles on the whole were passable but nothing particularly special. There was some searching but fortunately not too much. There weren’t a huge number of puzzles and they tended to be fairly basic, but on the plus side nothing felt too out of place and the puzzles fit the theme well. In terms of difficulty level, there was nothing overly complex here, so this room would be a good fit for beginners.
Overall, Budapest Express was a decently good room with great to middling production values, good atmosphere and ambiance, and some serviceable if not overly original puzzles. Our team enjoyed ourselves while we were playing it, we didn’t feel like there were too many moments of frustration or annoyance, and we were glad that what searching there was wasn’t overly involved. Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area and a good fit also for beginners who don’t want anything too challenging on their first time out.