A taste of American history, in an Escape Room
It’s A Conspiracy!!
Our intrepid town reporter and blogger, who some consider a conspiracy theorist, is convinced that Dominic Fontana has built a time machine. and that the craziness in the world is due to Dominic’s time travel & the impact on the time-space continuum.
Beware, Dominic may have a partner helping him!
For weeks I’ve been hearing about how great ‘Ready Mayor One’ is, yet because of its reputation it meant it was impossible to get a booking in the near future. Fortunately for us, they have been working on a new room and we managed to quickly get a booking when Ready Mayor Two was released.
As you may have guessed from the name, Ready Mayor Two (RMT) is in fact a sequel to Ready Mayor One (RMO), and I gather it picks up where their story of that room left off. It’s worth noting though that you can play these games out of order. We’re booked in to play RMO and I have no doubt that the experience won’t have been tainted by playing RMT first.
The story for this room was pretty wild and involved some great ingredients for a good story – conspiracy theories and time travel. When we joined this room we were a bit thrown by the introduction as it felt like we had perhaps come to the wrong place. Our gamemaster, Alycia, interacted with us as a Journalist who was trying to expose Mayor Rob, from RMO, for lying about the time machine, and we are there remotely to help her investigate.
As we weren’t physically in the room, there was no health & safety briefing to go over, but Alycia did give us a quick run-down of how the inventory system worked and made sure we had everything else we needed to help her investigate. One thing to be aware of, there is an app that you need to download prior to the game so make sure you have that ready (I’ll cover this in my detail shortly).
Was this room visually stunning? No. Did it feel like a small-town American local museum? Yes! So going on that, the visuals were acceptable. Although the set design won’t blow you away with its’ looks, there were some really fun touches that still managed to add a touch of pizzazz and intrigue.
Alycia did a great job as our avatar and guided us around the room well. She focussed on what we wanted and at no point did we feel like she was overly forcing us to look at something. Even when we took a while to try and work out puzzles and went very quiet, she waited and was patient with us and didn’t start nudging us in any direction. Alycia struck the balance well between taking the initiative to look at things at first, and then waiting for us to ask her to look at something more closely once we got used to something, and would leave the camera until we asked her to continue and move on to something else.
When we spotted something in the room and wanted a closer look, Alycia would give us a word to input that would then add it to the inventory and we could get a closer look. Another nice feature was that not only could we get a closer look but we could interact with the inventory items and what we did on it would directly affect things that happened in the room.
We’re starting to get used to live avatar games that use inventory systems (which this one did) and 360 degree cameras (which it also had), but what we hadn’t seen before was a room that also used an app to help with solving puzzles. Augmented reality to me always feels like witchcraft and when we see it come to life it’s pretty magical. The app is currently only available on the app store for iOS devices but they are developing it for Android devices too. If no one has an Apple device, your GM has a tablet they can use for you.
If we were to do this room in real life then I think we would have probably blitzed it pretty quickly as the puzzles weren’t massively challenging. Saying that, doing it online meant it kept us occupied for 50 minutes so I think the difficulty level is pretty much spot on. Puzzles were varied with some observational codes, a bit of lateral thinking and some logic.
We found the room a bit slow to start, but that wasn’t actually the room, I think it was more us just getting used to how it all worked and our surroundings. The room played out in a linear fashion and one thing would lead us on to another, although I think there was a bit of wiggle room to complete some tasks in a different order.
On first impressions, you may think that this is a basic room with limited tech and lots of padlocks, but you’d be mistaken. Ok there were some padlocks but there was also a very good use of tech that gave us plenty of surprises, so we never really fully knew what solving the puzzles would actually reveal.
The best clue systems for live rooms are when they are integrated in a way that you don’t really know you’re using them. I think if we were completely stuck we could have outright asked for a clue and we would have been nudged in the right direction, but we rarely like asking. As it was, Alycia seemed to have a sixth sense for knowing when we were stuck and when we were thinking, so she chimed in every-now-and-then with a subtle nudge in the right direction.
I’m not sure what section to fit this in, but I think I’m going to put it here as it sort of fits. The room incorporated an AI system called ALI. This reminded us of a fun room we did called Venus with some personalised mildly abusive, humorous, and teasing comments. ALI also provided some subtle nudges in the right direction when we were a little stuck.
Don’t let first impressions fool you with this room. What looks like a basic room opens up to be so much more than that and the way it uses technology is one of its strengths. It’s hard to talk about this room and not talk about some of the things that made it so fun, as we don’t want to spoil the surprise, but needless to say, there are a lot of nice touches.
One more thing, don’t be so hasty to delete the app off your phone when you’re done, wait until you’re received the follow-up email with your team photo (*wink*).
GOOD TO KNOW
- Number of connections: 6 Maximum
- Price: $49.95 for the first two households/connections, and $19.95 for each additional connection
- Devices: Laptop, tablet, PC or smartphone (best on laptop/PC)
- Platform: Zoom
- Inventory: Yes
- 360º View: Yes
- Time Zone: Eastern Time, USA
|Value for Money|
Team: 4 players
Time Taken: 52:00 (approx)