EscapeRoom-HourToKill

With my current escape room obsession, I feel I ought to write up what I’ve admired, or felt disappointed in, so that I can pretend that there’s something noble coming out of my inability to say no to an escape room invite.  So here we are.

An Hour To Kill” is a James Bond themed escape room from “The Exit Room” company in Los Angeles, USA.  It is, at time of writing, their newest and flashiest room – though I think they may have a few last little technical kinks to work out.

The Premise:

James Bond, the incredible British super-spy, introduces the team to his new secret agent training facility.  A knowingly cheesy video introduction gives us the basics and immediately throws us into the deep end with a classic spy-movie puzzle to get the brain going.  Of course, all is not as it seems, and Bond, James Bond, leads us through the twists and turns to the end.

The Style:

Ultimately, “An Hour To Kill” is a very technologically inclined room that initially concerned me with the quantity of combination locks in the first half hour.  The set design is visually impressive, though slow to start, and the theme is strongly leveraged.

The progression through the room is mostly linear, with usually only one puzzle being worked on at any one moment.  This lends itself well to smaller groups as, even with a group size of only 5, there were a few moments where people had to just stand and watch others solving the bottleneck puzzle.

The Puzzles:

The puzzles are pretty challenging, though some of them for the wrong reasons, in my opinion.  Groups with weak eyesight, or groups with no-one with color vision, are going to have a bad time.  I’d be very wary of attempting this room with fewer than 4 people, and fewer than 3 might actually be impossible.  Warnings too for folks who are seriously claustrophobic.

That said, we enjoyed many of the puzzles and a few of them really triggered that glorious ‘ah ha!’ feeling.  There’s one puzzle that requires a bit of physical strength (it is clearly marked and an outlier in this respect) that was really awesome and delightful!

We were told we were one of the only groups of the day to do the puzzles unassisted, so while it is currently rated as a 2/3 difficulty on their site, they may have yet to tune it.

Overall:

Despite being tripped up by a faulty puzzle at the very end (teething issues, as I said) we really enjoyed “An Hour To Kill”.  The set design starts tame but improves and improves and ends on an amazing high note.  The puzzles start out pretty old fashioned, but again, improve as the game progresses.  The downsides are the linear puzzle progression, the accessibility concerns (colorblindness, poor vision, claustrophobia), and that one puzzle’s technical hitch at the end.

Result:

Technical success.  We ran out of time on the final puzzle, but once we called in the guide, they couldn’t get it to work either due to a physical failure of the tech.  The guide unlocked the final segment for us, and we’re taking it as a win.

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