General Tao’s Back Room

6.1 Overall
Room Quality
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General Tao's Back Room

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The building is one of the major roads in Topeka, so very easy to get to, but you’ll want to use google maps as the company signage is a bit hard to see from the road. They have some parking in front of the building and on the street, but do be aware, the larger lot next door is towable private parking for a different building. Keynundrum is located inside an office building, but it’s easily accessible on the first floor and there are signs to guide you down the short hallway to the correct room. We were immediately met by our game master who was delightful and you could tell, thoroughly enjoyed his job. Throughout our experience there, it was a joy to play in rooms that were created by people you could tell, truly love the Escape Room genre. Our time spent there was better because you could feel how much they cared about their rooms and our enjoyment.

Before entering, the game master explained that our group would be split into two and that we would need to cooperate to get out. Once inside the room, we read the goal from a sheet on the table. We were in the restaurant, General Tao’s, where gangsters had taken the money they stole from our grandmother. Our job was to get the money and get out, before they caught us. The room master did have a nice touch after we read the introduction which was pretty cool & brought an extra spark to the immersion element. Unfortunately, half the team wasn’t able to witness it since we were separated. It was not a pivotal plot point, just a fun addition.

The décor in the room was definitely on point with the restaurant theme, but there was some wear and tear you could see in the props and around the room. A lock was a little loose, and one of the props ended up getting stuck which kept a clue hidden, which, although we didn’t find out until the end, we were still able to get through without. We really enjoyed the different types of locks that were used throughout, and how sometimes there were different ways to get to the answers, which was on theme with the room. The clues didn’t seem very intuitive, but they were mostly non-linear, which we loved.

The immersion started off strong in the main restaurant area, including some intriguing wall hangings, but the presentation of some of the puzzles didn’t seem to fit their surroundings. We were very excited for the team split-up, but there was a disappointing lack of teamwork needed between the two groups, and each team ended up spending very little time in each other’s room. Because of that, the storyline connection between the two rooms didn’t feel very strong, and we were left trying to figure out exactly how they fit together.

We really enjoyed a few of their physical puzzles (vs mental), which were a nice change. The ending was anti-climactic however, as we were not quite sure we had finished or what we were supposed to do to end the timer. There didn’t feel like a lot of urgency or forward momentum in the clues.

The room says 6-16 players, but we would say 8 is the maximum you should aim for, after that we imagine it could start feeling cramped. We did the room with six experienced players, and there were a few times people were waiting around with nothing to work on. A quick note on clues – be aware that there are no free clues at this institution. Each clue will cost you 5 minutes so think twice before asking!

We enjoyed ourselves in the room, there were some fun new puzzles that were great to try, but it was lacking in overall urgency and forward momentum. All in all, General Tao’s was a treat that will fill you up, but may leave you hungry in an hour. ”

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