Month: June 2015

Room review: The Escape Artist: Injustice: Liberation

Their description: Your friends have been wrongly accused and locked up in a high security prison, notorious for their crude executions and more recently, arrest without trial.

Seeking the help of a former escapee, you will have to infiltrate the prison, while your friends have to figure out a way out of the cell themselves.

The prison guards rotate shifts on 50 minute roster, and that is all the time you have. It all depends on you!

The sequel to Injustice lacks the endgame surprise of the original, but is otherwise a worthy successor. The usual Escape Artist strengths of storyline and setting are there, and even somewhat improved from the original room.

The puzzles themselves are also better. There’s some hands-on work, which is always fun, and a good mix of various puzzle types with solid logic and negligible ambiguity.

Unlike the original, Injustice: Liberation is a split-start room. It makes decent use of this format and isn’t too unforgiving; in theory, you could complete this room even if you only had one person on either side (although I’d still recommend at least two people on each side).

And though the endgame is no longer a surprise, the final puzzle is both fun and satisfying. All in all, a well-rounded room that’s WORTH A TRY for both beginners and experienced teams.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 4.5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 3.5/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 4/5

Their suggested number of players: 6 to 10
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6, though it should still be possible (if troublesome) with fewer. You’ll be split into two groups at the beginning, so take that into account.


Room review: The Escape Artist: The Beginning: After Dark 2

Their description: Twenty years ago, the case of the haunted theatre was solved by a group of curious reporters. Or was it?

Troubling dreams and visions have brought them back to the theatre, hinting that there might be more. The spirits have obtained peace but they are still bound to the place of their deaths, and they want out.

Your interference with the spirits will uncover something darker, something more sinister. Are you ready to help these poor souls, or will their despair devour you?

How you feel about The Escape Artist’s sequel room to After Dark will probably depend on: 1) whether you played the original, 2) your tolerance for a certain puzzle type, and 3) how much you care about narrative.

But first: although The Beginning: After Dark 2 (or possibly After Dark: The Beginning, it’s hard to tell) is billed as a scary room, don’t worry if horror isn’t your thing. The room maintains a spooky atmosphere and has some thrills in store, but it’s still manageable for a coward like me.

Besides the focus on setting, After Dark 2 showcases The Escape Artist’s usual loving attention to narrative, though in this case that means quite a bit of reading. This is not a good room if you find text tedious. But at least the text is always relevant to puzzle-solving, instead of being unnecessary.

The puzzles are all logical and not arbitrary, and the room itself is one of the most coherent I’ve seen, in terms of structure and form. Unfortunately, these strengths are also weaknesses. The straightforward logic of the puzzles can seem boring, and the coherence can seem like repetition; you might get tired of the main puzzle-solving mechanism.

I also think my team’s enjoyment suffered because we had played the original After Dark and therefore had a good sense of the room’s layout and secrets. This made our After Dark 2 experience more predictable and less exciting (although the puzzles are all completely different from the original After Dark, never fear).

Overall, it’s a solid, competent room, but not amazing. If you haven’t played the original, it’s certainly WORTH A TRY. If you have played the original, it’s still worth a try if you don’t mind repetitive puzzle structure and/or enjoy narrative, but could be underwhelming otherwise.

Puzzle difficulty: 3.5/5
Puzzle logic: 5/5
Multimedia aspect of puzzles: 2/5

Atmosphere and setting: 4/5
Exciting flourishes, use of technology or physical aspects: 3/5
Storyline integration: 4/5

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 10
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6