Room preview: The Escape Artist: The Forsaken Vault (Chapter 1)

This room has been replaced and no longer exists.
This review is left here merely as a record.

NOTE: This room was visited at the invitation of The Escape Artist.


Their description: You’re out with your friends when you overhear an archaeologist talking about the location of a dungeon, said to have once belonged to Baron Richard Percy.

Legend tells of the many treasures that would belong to anyone brave enough to enter and find the last clue left by the mad Baron. You decide to take action before the archaeologist’s team, and as you arrive at the dungeon, you are greeted by two pathways leading east and west.

With the archaeologist’s team hot on your heels, what adventures await you as you explore The Forsaken Vault?


The post title isn’t a typo; for the first time, this blog broke with its general policy of not accepting any invitations, and went to a preview play-through of The Escape Artist’s new room, The Forsaken Vault, with the understanding that we could provide feedback that might help them improve the room. (We’ll get into the ‘Chapter 1’ thing later.)

The Forsaken Vault (Chapter 1) will feel familiar to anyone used to The Escape Artist’s brand of rooms, with logical puzzles and a sustained narrative thread. But the room’s distinguishing feature is that it applies clever twists to common experiences.

So yes, there’s quite a bit of matching, but this is livened up by variations on that formula, including a puzzle that makes great use of verbal clues, and another that rewards engagement with the storyline. It’s a wake-up call to overly task-focused teams who are too used to the sort of blind matching that many escape rooms require.

Sadly, there are also some intermediate puzzles which fell flat, but at least they’re logical as well.

The room makes good use of the split-start format, with more than mere information-swapping involved. There are some modest technological touches, including one fun puzzle mechanism, and a prop-related touch that I can’t mention without spoiling it (except to say that my group missed it entirely even though other groups figured it out quickly, apparently).

The atmosphere was a little lacking compared to The Escape Artist’s other rooms, but since we played a beta version, they might have improved it since.

On the whole, it’s like a standard Escape Artist room but with some clever non-standard twists, and hence WORTH A TRY even if you think you already know what The Escape Artist is like.

What about that ‘Chapter 1’ thing? Apparently, The Forsaken Vault’s secret is that it is three rooms in one, with Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 being playable in the same general space. Sounds like an interesting idea in principle; I’m looking forward to playing the next two chapters to see how it works out.

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

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

Their suggested number of players: 2 to 14
My suggested number of players: 4 to 6, though it should still be possible with fewer. You’ll be split into two groups at the beginning, so take that into account.

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