- Played March 2019
- Kansas City, KS
- 45 minutes
- 13+ only (groups under 17 must have one person over 18)
- What People Say
The most recent addition to the eventual four-room story succession at The Basement KC is a great building block on a solid base – leaving us eager to see the remaining two parts when they are completed. In the first room, we were tasked with escaping the basement of a mad killer. In this room (the second one to open but the third in the series), we are still in the house (apparently assuming our group is as foolish as horror movie casts who never seem to understand that getting as far away from the bad guy is always the goal), this time trying to get out of the study of the same house.
The Basement has made a few upgrades since we last visited them back in November. You will still find the same incredibly professional website, helpful pre-room videos, and live actors that enhance your room experience. What you will find now is a slightly easier to find facility (there is now a sign over the entrance that was more visible than before). The lobby has been moved upstairs and is quite a bit more spacious with some fun merchandise available for purchase and newly added lockers for your coats/purses/etc. The building is not accessible to those with disabilities and those with difficulty on stairs should take note of the steep entryway. This is an unfortunate side effect of their location, but it is clearly noted on their website. It also remains a bit of a challenge to find – your intuition will likely tell you that you are in the wrong place until you see it – but trust the GPS and let your adventure begin.
The physical pieces in the room are difficult to judge as the theme of the room calls for faded, dirty, broken down items as a part of the theme. Nothing in the room felt out of place within that theme, which is to say that most items are a little faded, dirty, and broken down. However, it is vital to note that everything worked as it was intended to work (except for one finnicky combination lock), so we considered the dilapidated nature of the room décor to be an enhancement more than a detriment, though we definitely could have done with more item within the room. Every element helped us feel like we were actually trapped in the house of a madman.
Which leads us to immersion – where The Basement, and The Study in particular, truly shines. Every aspect of the room works towards a brilliant cohesive whole. There are multiple moments of forced isolation for one member of each group – which deftly heightens the tension. At several times during our experience, there were instances of low light but never so long as to cause any discomfort for our group while also being jarring enough to take us deeper into the experience. They make great use of ambient noise and sound effects to subtly build upon the naturally frantic momentum familiar to all escape rooms. Even the room timer is unobtrusive enough to make it fit seamlessly into the room. It is rare that a room makes all elements feel like they could have been found that way, but The Study delivers on that near impossible goal to a very high degree.
Continuing along this theme, the puzzles themselves were each unique from one another. It is again rare to experience a room and not solve two versions of the same puzzle. Additionally, without spoiling the fun, there is also a highly original sort of human puzzle that occurs and led to some of most thrilling (and in our case, hilariously misguided) moments. We should point out that many of the puzzles require some physical effort (contorting, ducking, crawling) and much of the room is done in low light. While our group did not find issue with those items, some might prefer to avoid this type of experience.
You will very likely have a great time in this room if you enjoy a room with some added tension. (In addition to the designed tension, you also only have 45 minutes to escape as opposed to a more customary 60.) We did experience the occasional bottleneck – reaching a point where everyone was necessarily working on only one puzzle – which would likely be a bigger issue with larger groups. Because of that, we recommend 6 or fewer per group (the room allows up to 10). We had four experienced players in our group and needed most of our time to successfully escape. After playing two rooms out of sequence, we can also emphatically state that each room works well on its own and need not be played in order. The experience is heightened a bit knowing what happened in the first room, but none of that knowledge is necessary to escape this third room, and in all likelihood, the same thrill of additional knowledge would work if you played The Study and then The Basement.
All in all, The Basement KC has delivered a unique experience (to our knowledge, the only horror themed room in the area and the only room that utilizes live actors) and done so with impeccable detail and a great focus on making you feel like you are truly experiencing what your characters are living through. If you are lucky enough to make it out, you will fill all the exhilaration that comes from escaping a harrowing situation.