Losing is Never an Option – Room: The Lost Ruins – June 30, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you enjoy a challenge and don’t mind getting a little dirty.

Avoid if… you hate losing, have a fear of flying, or are claustrophobic.


THE BASICS

Red Door Escape Room:

Address: 8103 Rasor Blvd Suite #100, Plano, TX 75024 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 972-787-0085
https://www.reddoorescape.com/location/plano

The Room

Description (from the company website): You’ve received a rather cryptic journal from your missing graduate professor, Dr. Summerlee. Gather your classmates, travel to his last known coordinates and locate him before the jungle… or, perhaps something worse, claims him.

Difficulty (1-10)Medium

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $32

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 6v6

Staging Area: Lobby has plenty of seating, some games to keep your hands busy, and a brain teaser that, if I recall correctly, nets you 10% off.

Metro Access/Parking: It’s in a shopping center, but I don’t know anything about the public transit system down there. Drive or call a Lyft/Uber.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room (apologies for the wind):

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start off your (competitive) adventure in the remnants of a crash site and need to find your way out and through the series of rooms before the other team.

Understanding of the Mission: Find your Professor, or what he was searching before, before it’s too late and you become one with the jungle.

Did We Escape: Yes. We both won and lost, too. Read on.

Time Remaining: I don’t actually know but the other team beat us out of the room, but because they used a 4th clue (you only get 3), they lost 3 minutes off their time. So, we beat them, time-wise, by 90 seconds. (And we only used 2 clues.)

Our Suggested Party Size: We were a group of 6 (with 4 ERVs) against a group of 4 novices. I would highly recommend 4 as your minimum.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): John, Rosemary, Jayden, Julian, Steph D.

Worth the time and money? Absolutely

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:


OUR SCORING:

JASON says:
Overall Expectation (Summary)
The very first thing I found intriguing about Red Door Escape Room was the fact that they have a small quiz on their website that will help determine which room you should do. Part of our group were 2 young-ins, so my first priority was finding a room they’d be able to (1) help in and (2) enjoy. After reviewing the available rooms, I had decided on The Lost Ruins, and after taking the quiz (and talking to the manager on the phone), my decision was reinforced.

You know I like competitive rooms, but I was wholly unaware that we would actually have opponents for this adventure. When we were getting the briefing, there was another group of 4 waiting at the other door. Well <expletive deleted>. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Story (Rating)
Your Professor, Dr. Summerlee, has gone missing. He was out in the jungles searching for a lost something-or-other; one of his passion projects. However he’s been gone for quite a while when you receive a mysterious package, one from him: his notebook. In it, you review his findings and set off for what you think are his last known whereabouts.

Nothing groundbreaking here and, in fact, we’ve done this theme at least 3 other times. None were competitive, though, so this gets a little extra nod. It’s just that with a world full of ideas it’s somewhat a shame there’s such repetition throughout. Thankfully, however, the design of the puzzles and flow of the room kept it feeling fresh.

Rating: 6/10

Mission (Rating)
Discover whatever site Dr. Summerlee was at, find out if he’s still alive, search for and find the relic and site he was investigating, and make it out of the jungle alive. Holy mission objectives, Batman!

A lot of locations would have taken this set of objectives and lumped them into a single catch-all: Find the missing object. The fact that it’s broken out into 4 parts is way more fun to think about and mentally manage. It also helps you become more immersed in the game because you feel like you’re actually part of the adventure.

Rating: 8.5/10

Puzzle Diversity (Rating)
The cliched “things we’ve never seen before” rears its ugly head again, but still in a good way. There were several rooms (as you’ll realize the second you start because there’s no way the first room should take more than 10 minutes making this in no way a spoiler) all with varying themes and difficulties, ramping up as you progressed. More on that momentarily.

There was a great deal going on here, and the puzzles per room were well done in the fact that they sufficiently represented where you were in your progress toward your end goal (finding the relic and holy site).

There was logic, um…a little bit of translation. More logic. Some visual acuity required multiple times. Logic again. Wow, ok, so thinking back there was a metric shit-ton of logic required for this room (problem solving skills, ho!). Think back to grade school when you had to do math problems that actually tested your reading comprehension skills. That kind of stuff. Damn, didn’t catch that until now. There was a LOT of logic required here!

There was only like, 1 padlock though. Oooh, and a manual dexterity challenge that pissed me off so I handed it off to someone else. (Patience is not my strong suit.)

Rating: 7/10

Puzzle Complexity (Rating)
Another thing I like about their website is that they give a one-word description of the TYPE of room each one is. In our case, it was “Observant”. So I guess the logic puzzles do fit in with that (or does it fit with them).

Anyway, I think the most difficult puzzle was the one on the wall with the holes. We definitely had to ask for a clue with that one. The only thing I can honestly say I didn’t like was that the puzzles were either easy or hard. There was hardly any middle ground there. It either took like a minute or what felt like 10 minutes. And me not liking to get clues didn’t help either, though the 2 we did get were pretty necessary.

I’d gauge the puzzles ranged from 2 or 3 to like 6/7-9. Not much middle ground, as I said.

Rating: 8.5/10

Flow/Cohesiveness/Uniqueness (Rating)
Easily the most interesting thing about this was the flow between rooms. As you make it from one to the next, you get to visualize where Dr. Summerlee was going and how he was trying to get there. It’s really well done in those regards.

The decor was masterfully done. I’ll leave you to experience it for yourself. Again, though, be observant, just like it says. At one point we were looking for X number of items and I completely missed the last one multiple times. I walked past it at least 4 times.

Rating: 10/10

Fun/Amusement (Summary)
The heat was on as we tried to beat the other team out of the room. The rooms are identical and sufficiently separated so that you don’t run the risk of being too loud and tipping the other team off. I do love a good sense of urgency.
Game Master (Summary)
I don’t exactly recall how we communicated with the GM, but they were attentive and noticed when we struggled, not just waited until we asked them for help.
How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)
3 (free) clues we had, 2 of which we used. We were struggling at the end and said screw it, let’s use one because we didn’t want to lose. Once we got those, we were able to push through and work things out (with a little bit of brute force (on a puzzle)).
RAGE Meter
I’m going with 1 fist here and it’s my own fault. The previously mentioned lack of vision where I passed by the item multiple times…yeah, my bad!

Rating: 👊

ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.0/10 

Final Thought: As I’ve made previously clear, I do love a competitive room. Honestly, though, when talking with the manager I was thinking either (a) we’d be doing this room on our own or (b) Steph and I would do it against John, et al. Boy was I wrong! It’s well laid out, “Observant” is a great descriptor, and it’s a lot of fun. What you do to signify you’ve escaped before the other team is also pretty funny. Overall, highly recommend.

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