Escape the Laboratory – Are you Worthy?
In Dr. Crowl’s search to rid the world of genetic imperfection and create a utopia of “worthy” humans, he created The Laboratory as a way to further his experiments while simultaneously weeding out those who are of no use to his new society. Subjects are given 60 minutes to prove their worth, or a knock-out gas bomb will detonate and the subjects discarded. But if the puzzles are completed and bomb disarmed, the subjects will find themselves in Dr. Crowl’s new paradise.
Escape the Laboratory, located downtown in what seems to be turning into a hotspot for escape rooms, is not like other rooms I’ve done. Instead of focusing on finding pieces of the puzzles, we had a large chart on the wall that walked us through the multitude of tasks in the room (i.e., A + B unlocks C). For our group of six we had five rows of five tasks (it changes based on group size), all culminating in unlocking one of five locks on the gas bomb.
Once we got in the room, instead of the usual scattering to find what we could, we took in the chart and picked a track/row to work on individually, or with multiple people as it came down to the end. What worked well in this format is when someone got stuck on one of their puzzles, it was easy to pop over to their track to help out, or even switch tracks with them. I finished my track up to the last puzzle, which I couldn’t figure out, so I helped other people along their tracks until we got closer to the end. Then someone else was able to pick up my last puzzle and find the combination.
There were a lot of different types of puzzles that incorporated almost all of the senses, plus types of gadgets I’d never seen before, in addition to the “normal” word/logic/number puzzles. And, like any other room, the level of difficulty ranged depending on a person’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, I took over some word and spot-the-difference puzzles, while my friends did the think-outside-the-box or fiddling-with-pieces ones. Of course, when a track was completed, more people could help with whatever tracks were left to help speed things along.
Some of my friends were disappointed that they didn’t get to participate in or see all of the puzzles in the room, as they were focused on their own track. I didn’t entirely mind it, because I was able to get the satisfaction of solving my tasks. Plus, our host went over puzzles we might have missed after we were done with the room, which was nice. I also think that, while most of the puzzles were individualized, the last puzzle was very much a group effort, and a greater pay-off when we completed it in time. It was the best final group puzzle that I’ve seen thus far.
While the room was a laboratory, and the puzzles fit into that theme, the story of why we were stuck in there could have been a bit stronger. I also think the types of locks could have been varied a bit more; they were generally combinations or lock-and-key.
Overall, while some of the other escape rooms I’ve done have had more in-depth themes and narratives, Escape the Laboratory is a great experience. It has a ton of interesting puzzles, a fantastic finale, allows the entire group to be engaged, and requires different types of logic and reasoning that lets everyone have their time to shine.
Test your worthiness: