Escape from the Bank was a puzzle event hosted by Real Escape Game / SCRAP Entertainment. This was a puzzle hunt, as opposed to their earlier escape rooms, so I’ll skip my usual formatting. Quick summary is that, I had fun, but I think it was too pricey for what it was.
Escape from the bank was a puzzle hunt event. This was not an escape room. Puzzle hunts are more puzzle-y than escape rooms, and conventionally have more ‘sit down with pen and paper’ styled puzzles. It was a sort of popup-style game that was available for a limited number of weekends. Despite being finished now, I’m not going to write any spoilers, as it will undoubtedly be available in other cities around the globe.
The game started with an introduction from the MC. Each group of players was a team of bank robbers who have broke into a bank to retrieve secret documents that have some worth to your employers. There are 18 teams in total (of 6 players each). Similar to their escape rooms, there are staff on hand to facilitate the process and to wander around giving out hints as they see fit. Every 10 minutes, the lights would dim and a klaxon would blare, and a short video clip would play out clues.
Was the game fun? Sure. I had fun. Escape from the Bank felt similar to their previous escape room installments in that it seems like the game is designed for beginners, although that isn’t to say that it’s easy. The puzzles were loosely themed to the bank robbery, and were pretty enjoyable. They were fair puzzles, on the most part, barring one debatable puzzle in standard REG fashion. There was a cool vault door that you couldn’t interact with. The staff were dressed in prohibition era clothing. It wasn’t $28.25 of fun, but it was fun.
Despite what some of my writing will indicate, I am not inconsiderate of a business’ priorities. I understand full well that businesses want to maximize profits. That’s completely understandable. However, my position is that there is a certain level of experience players get in return for the price they pay. In that regards, I feel like Escape From the Bank was too expensive for what it was.
Their particular setup required less staff to proctor the groups simultaneously. On top of that, they don’t need to pay staff nearly as much wages in totality (one time slot means paying staff for one hour, as opposed to paying staff to proctor 18 teams worth of games across 18 hours). There was no interaction between teams during gameplay, and teams played independently and parallel to one another. This makes the entire setup purely beneficial only to REG. Again, this is not a criticism, and as I’ve said before in my prior review of REG, I respect them very much as a business, and this is an excellent cost-saving tactic.
However, in terms of the experience the players received, though, it was essentially a series of sit-down pencil and paper puzzles. The vault door, while cool, again isn’t something players could interact with. The videos were okay, but I didn’t really like how it was implemented. Having to halt play because of the dimming lights every 10 minutes was needlessly irritating.
Sit-down pencil and paper puzzles are what you get with Puzzled Pint (the location puzzle is out at http://www.puzzledpint.com/, by the way), and Puzzled Pint is free. Puzzled Pint is community-run and makes no profit, so maybe it’s not a ‘fair’ comparison, but in terms of being a consumer of puzzles, I’d rather use that money to pay for a meal along side my puzzles. REG’s puzzle hunt type events seem priced similarly around the globe, so it’s possible it’s some sort franchise-wide mandated pricing, and maybe I’m complaining about something that’s a moot point. As it stands, I’m probably going to pass on the next REG event.