ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you like talking about Prohibition, evading the police, or drinking clandestinely.
Avoid if… you don’t like bars or the Police.
Escape IT Grandview:
Address: 1666 W. First Ave, Columbus, OH 43212 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 614-636-4848
The Room – Escape the Speakeasy:
Description (from the company website): Welcome to the 1920’s, when prohibition is at its peak. Not that it stops anyone from having a drink or two. That’s where speakeasies, or underground bars, come into play. You and your friends have been hired by the owners of the best speakeasy in the city for a very important task: stop the police raid that is about to occur in the next 60 minutes AND get a hefty payout for your efforts. Do you have what it takes? Great for players of all ages and experience levels.
Difficulty (1-10): N/A
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $25 ($20 M-Th, after 5pm)
Party Size: Up to 10
Staging Area: Small lobby with a couch and table and some games to keep your hands busy
Metro Access/Parking: No idea about public transportation in Ohio; I drove from Dayton.
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
This is the video we took just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: The room is rather large as escape rooms go. There’s a poker table, pictures on the wall, a bar and stools, dart board, gramophone. Looks like an underground bar, honestly.
Understanding of the Mission: You have an inside man in the force and you need to figure out the code word to call him and stop the raid from happening.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 2:15
Our Suggested Party Size: 10 might be a bit much, so I would limit your group to 6ish
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Just Jason
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- La Tavola – this Italian restaurant is right next door and was delicious (and has a good beer selection)
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|Having never been to this location before, I called up and asked if they would recommend one room over the other for a solo game. I was told that no one has ever attempted the Speakeasy game alone, so that was the deciding factor for me.
Mike and I have had a surprisingly good run with Speakeasy rooms (Cosa Nostra, Train Robbery at Cyber Raccoon (review pending), for example), so I went in with a healthy dose of optimism (*gasp*) that this run of good luck would continue.
|It’s the prohibition era in the US (1920s) and police are cracking down on illegal speakeasies (I know, redundant by definition), and you (and your friends, typically) have been hired by the best speakeasy in town to prevent them from being the next victim of a police raid. Do what you can to solve the puzzles and stop the raid! You’ll be handsomely rewarded!
I mean, I like money and booze. Who doesn’t. Let’s do this thing, right?
|The briefing was essentially a match for the website. It gave one thing extra, while still not telling me what my reward would be. The website says you have to stop the police raid from occurring and you’d be handsomely rewarded. The briefing confirmed this but also told me what to actually do, while how to do it was instructed during play.
To reiterate, solve the puzzles, phone your inside man in the precinct, and get the raid canceled. (So yeah that’s really only one objective: prevent the raid from happening by making a phone call.)
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Seeing as how this was a prohibition-era speakeasy, I wasn’t surprised to find combination locks (I think there were 1, maybe 2, padlocks as well). Nothing was far-fetched or out of place (except that 1 dexterity puzzle on the wall, but I won’t get into that…now…and it wasn’t even that it was far-fetched, though (a) why would it be there and (b) fuck that thing*, honestly).
This room was probably 50-50 things I’ve seen vs things I haven’t, which is fine too. It allowed me to speed through some of the puzzles (though one of them still threw me for a loop even though I knew exactly what I was doing; it was sort of like what happened to us at the end of the Wizards Apothecary) and left me extra time to work on others. And hell, even when I thought I was finished, boom, another puzzle (which is, IMO, a pleasant surprise, and also super stressful as time winds down).
There was a dart board, some poker that was played, photos on the wall, an old record player (wth is that thing called… a gramophone, I believe), among other things. Everything actually tied together in one way or another (just as an example, the gramophone was tied to one of the other sets of props; you play the gramophone and it gives you something you need to solve another puzzle).
There was also another puzzle that was reminiscent of the Da Vinci room we did back in the day, but this one was SIGNIFICANTLY easier to do…
*You may remember our disdain for a similar puzzle (noted as a “physical challenge”) in this room review.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|This room was deceptively difficult at times. As I said, there was stuff that I recognized and was able to speed through, however, it’s the little tweaks to the recognized puzzles that add to the complexity.
That briefly said, the range was better than most. On the low end, I would give them a 4, but one puzzle itself should get a 1 (and that’s not a bad thing, it was just easy and well placed). On the higher end, there’s some association between things that I just didn’t get (used 2 of my 3 clues on one puzzle because I just wasn’t getting it; Mike would have been fine before or after the first clue…), so I’m going to put it at an 8.
That association puzzle was the most difficult for me (and come to think of it, there were 2; well it was 2 sets of props and the chalk board, but you’ll understand when you get there) because I know my mind isn’t wired that way. Had I had someone with me is more oriented towards those puzzles (sort of like the map in The Attic), it would have been a bit smoother.
|Let me start by saying that the game starts with figuring out how to get into the Speakeasy proper. In my experience, however, the door mistakenly opened somehow (after being locked all day as I was the only player that day for this room). Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, I walked through the door, but not after taking a stab at solving the entrance puzzle (which, I was told after, I did correctly anyway and it only took seconds). If you’ve been to Number One Escape Room in Las Vegas, it was sort of like how you have to figure out how to get into that facility (yes, there’s a puzzle to get into their place).
As with all the rooms of this type I’ve done, it looked like an old saloon (obviously the point), sounded like one (background music), and felt like one. It’s well decorated, the writing to follow is all clearly legible (albeit not totally understandable, but that was my fault, not theirs), and fit the theme to a T. Speaking of following the writing, FOLLOW THE WRITING. That’s my only tip for you all.
There was a good flow to everything, too, and not once did I feel out of place (out of my element, maybe…) or pulled away from the game.
The game did feel slightly linear to me, but that’s mostly because I had to work on things one at a time since I am only one man. There were clearly multiple paths, though, so don’t expect a linear game.
|I will tell you this: My favorite part of the game was messing around with everything in the bar area. I was going to say something specific, but I couldn’t figure out a way to sugar coat it so you wouldn’t know exactly what to do, but it goes in line with my yelling at you above.
One of the things I enjoy most about escaping rooms on my own is that I get to run around the room (literally, but no throwing of items, like in Save the White House 1 with Mike) looking at everything. Some of my favorite experiences have been by myself (I’m looking at you, The Apartment), so I highly recommend trying a room by yourself at some point.
|Game Master (Summary)|
|My GM was mostly hands off, having given them the spiel about the ERG. I did ask for some clarifications, and some help, throughout the game and it’s done via an old phone on the wall (though I don’t remember it having a face like this one appears to).|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I had to ask for 2 (that I can remember) that were actual facepalm stupid, so I was kind of annoyed at myself for that, but the other one was a continued clarification because I had it right but couldn’t figure it out (it was the one with the baseball bat). All I’m going to say about that.|
|RAGE Meter OR ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|I wanted to go with a 1 here, “miffed”, because of that damn baseball bat, however, while I enjoyed this room, I’m going to go with “3 – angry”, moreso with myself than the room. There were some things I just didn’t put together in there that I know Mike would have figured out (and 1 we probably would have gotten help for anyway).
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING 8.2/10
Final Thought: This room would have easily been a top 10 room if the story were a little more involved. The breadth of puzzles they included should be noted by other rooms, however. Needless to say, I would gladly go back for their other room next time I’m in the area.
The amount of nuance in the room, as well as your ability to follow instructions, increased the enjoy-ability for me, and after talking to them while helping them reset, it’s clear they enjoy the industry as well.