The Clockwork Caper

6.3 Overall
Room Quality
Puzzle Design
Fun Factor
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The Clockwork Caper

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Pre-Room scores for Perplexity were based on our visit while significant renovations and construction was taking place. This is NOT what the average participant will experience now that most construction has been completed with Perplexity’s new lobby and amenities set in place.

Southwest from downtown Cleveland you’ll find Perplexity Escape Games in the upscale tourist suburb known as Ohio City. Here, you’ll also find The Clockwork Caper and the second of two rooms we reviewed at Perplexity Escapes on this day… Ironically we had never been to, or met the folks from Perplexity, but we’ve been in touch with the owners for years, and even sent a few groups of enthusiasts their way who happened to be visiting Cleveland. Word always came back to us about how hospitable they were, and that we should do our best to include them in any future trips we had in the Cleveland area… and that’s exactly what happened!

The pre-room experience as a whole has a large caveat attached to it. As noted our visit to Perplexity happened while construction and expansion was taking place. Because of this, we did our best to highlight what we experienced, while at the same time reminding everyone that our overall pre-room score is misleading and will certainly be much higher the next time we get to visit… so what were some of more noteworthy things about the pre-room experience? Well, as our previous referrals pointed out, the Perplexity staff were incredibly nice. Our host was accommodating, patient, and made us feel welcomed as if it were a home away from home. With Perplexity’s entrance and parking located at the rear of the building, we felt some better signage would’ve been helpful as the front/street entrance didn’t indicate where to go. Those with mobility issues may also want to call in advance as we didn’t notice an elevator, and it’s a fairly large flight of stairs down to the basement level. Although we didn’t get to see the final appearance of their new lobby, we got a rough sense of what it might look like based on the layout and the size, and we can imagine it’ll be pretty nice. Unfortunately the amount of dust in the air wasn’t quite as nice for those of us who wore contacts or had respiratory issues, but again, we knew this wasn’t the final product so it’s more of a side note than anything else. Either way, it’s probably a good idea to call ahead if you or anyone in your group has respiratory or sight issues, just to make sure all construction is completed ahead of time. Much like the Elliot Ness room, were led to the room’s entrance where an interesting back story mixing real historical events alongside interwoven game objectives was verbally recited to us. On the one hand wished there was a slightly more dramatic way of this being presented (i.e. video, in character narrative… etc), while at the same time we enjoyed this story much like we did with Elliot Ness. All things considered, we anticipate it being a decent pre-room experience, were it not for the unfortunate construction going on at the time.

The room quality of The Clockwork Caper started off a lot stronger than it did with the Elliot Ness room. Granted the first room was quite small (as it was with Elliot Ness), but the integrated use of pre-existing, old, brick walls was an impressive feature in this room. There were a few gaps we noticed in the door frames, drywall, and in other various parts of the room but overall we felt the quality of the design, the materials used, and the props were solid. Those who particularly like Steampunk or Rube Goldberg styles of design will definitely enjoy the quality and design of this room!

The immersion as is often the case falls in line with the quality of the room design. We enjoyed the consistency of the immersive experience, as we always felt surrounded by the atmosphere throughout the game. Thankfully it’s just a bunch of small fixes that are needed in order to spruce up the immersion to be even better, such as eliminating more outside sights and sounds by covering gaps in the door frames, walls, and floor trim, keeping participants engaged by revealing the story as participants play through the room (not completely at the beginning), and allowing for a bit more interaction with some of the incredibly designed set features in the room. The immersion here won’t take your breath away, but it’s fairly decent, and has tons of potential to get even better as the room gets tinkered with.

For us, the puzzles had a few hits and misses. There seemed to be far fewer puzzles in The Clockwork Caper compared to Elliot Ness, but at the same time, the puzzles were more complex and required more time to solve. Most of the puzzles relied on trial and error, deduction, or observation. Depending on your preferred puzzle type this can be either a lot of fun, or a lot of frustration (especially for those with little patience). Unfortunately one of the puzzles we worked on had just been redesigned and a piece of the puzzle had been mislabelled which prevented us from solving it in time. The puzzles were also better suited for single player interaction, so we wouldn’t recommend more than 3-4 players in this room or else you’ll end up watching others quite a bit. On the plus side, the puzzles were pretty good at keeping the theme and immersive experience alive. They were also impressive to look at and cleverly designed to fit perfectly within the room context.

Overall was it fun? It was good, but it’s important to note some of the comparative differences with the Elliot Ness room. Whereas the fun part of Elliot Ness came from the volume of puzzles and most of them being inclusive by design, The Clockwork Caper’s fun comes from the surrounding visuals, good prop design, and puzzles requiring a lot more concentration. It’s a good choice for individuals who enjoy being consumed by a puzzle and its surrounding environment. Again, you may want to limit your group size to 3-4 players, and we’d strongly recommend you bring people who enjoy solving puzzles that require both patience and deduction…

We want to hear your thoughts! Be sure to comment in the section below or send us a message via ERA’s email, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter… As always, happy escaping!

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