ALCATRAZ - Escape Reality
This is Escape Mattster's game No. 44.
Address: 5182 Arville St, Las Vegas, NV 89118
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 10/24/2018:
Escape with me! Follow IG: EscapeMattster ;)
Current room count: 44 & 45
ALCATRAZ // Grade: A-
DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE // Grade: A
"...Enthusiast's treasure, book it soon!"
Oh boy. I did 2 rooms back-to-back at one of the best escape businesses found in Vegas; that means I have a lot to say... Let's be concise.
Price was great. Full price of $32 is fair, but between promo for holidays, and option for voucher from Tix4Tonight, you're looking at around $20 something/person for private bookings, they are GREAT DEALS.
First, some interesting features used at this business:
They do a very detailed briefing before each game, and they give you an iPad as part of the setup, also your portable timer.
Every puzzle has a number attached, which you can scan using the iPad via QR reader. Doing so will give you a "hint" and add 5 minutes penalty to your total time. But this "hint", as informed by GM, is very close to actual solution (only use it if 100% necessary). Having a number attached also made puzzles conspicuous, separating them from pure decors. A lil bit too much hand-holding for my taste, so pros & cons.
As an alternative, you can also request a free "nudge in the right direction", in which the GM would physically come in and give you a lighter clue to help you move along. Having these two options is wonderful, but having the GM physically entering breaks immersion. So again, pros & cons; would prefer a system without breaking 4th wall.
When you exit the final door, you scan an "E" to record your time. Such innovative tech usage of QR/iPad!
Now, onto the rooms. I did "Alcatraz", jail escape room. It was so fun, but felt short, my team decided to stay and do another one right after. We chose the HARDEST available "Down The Rabbit Hole", their rendition for Alice in Wonderland... What a difference in difficulty.
Both recommended! :)
Alcatraz had a generic prison break back story, and started us off separated in two cells, which is somewhat commonplace for this genre. I'd say the selling point was the initial breakup of the team, which emphasized the players' skills at communication. You cannot see each other, so you gotta figure out ways to relay info by other means. This is my first prison themed escape experience, also first with me being SOLO for a short while, so it was extremely thrilling. A lot of dexterity involved in my part; I was very proud of myself. :D
The rest of the puzzles were linear/rather easy, especially when they were sequentially numbered. You just go from one to the next and so on. Due to my stupidity, we stumbled a small bit, but rest of the ride was crazy smooth. Even though they rated this room 5/5, it felt more like 2 or at most 3/5, but I am no beginner at this hobby.
I did appreciate that most puzzles fit into the theme of the setting aptly; (mostly gen 1 stuff). Contents wise, there wasn't a lot to do, and since the puzzles were mostly things I've seen before, we made it onto the leader board even.
Btw, the set looked great, and I liked usage of metal sheet that we could write on. Convenient and green.
Next, Rabbit Hole, our goal was to escape Queen of Heart's Kingdom in 1 hour or she'd behead us. Ouch. A story that needed no real intro, ER's translation of Alice into an escape experience was fantastic.
The production was equally beautiful, and since this was a whimsical tale, the colors were much more varied (mood lighting). Good job there. The gaming area also felt bigger, as this game divided the space into many rooms, so we'd solve puzzles in one room, then move on to the next, and this went on for quite some time, much like falling down, down, and down some more the rabbit hole metaphorically.
Puzzles wise, again linear, but they could afford a little more effort into connecting the pieces back to the plot, because some gen 1 elements didn't quite belong. Locks, keypads, and switches, imo, wouldn't exist in Queen of Hearts's Kingdom. That's a shame since there're few puzzles that were completely immersive, and then there're some that were just borderline appropriate due aforementioned input modalities.
This game was indeed more difficult, partially due to the complexity of certain puzzles, but also, yet again, my carelessness. One scene in particular had extremely confusing wording, not my cup of tea (haha, reference), but also suitable for the Alice theme--because Wonderland IS confusing.
Overall, we needed one real "nudge", but we were able to escape mostly our own. Experienced players would succeed for sure, and I would personally rate this medium-difficult. It's my conjecture that this company aims to cater for tourist population (non fanatics), which is sufficient reason to "dumb down" puzzles a bit.
Customer service was top-notched; I had some very pleasant conversations with the staff about escape rooms. They also provided complimentary beverages post game. Everything was well taken care of, so here's your stellar review, ER. Ty, and yw.