Date Reviewed: June 30th, 2016
Rating/ Difficulty/ # of Players: PG / Hard / 6 (out of 12 players).
Imagine yourself in one of the most secure prisons in history: Alcatraz. Handcuffed and in solitary confinement, you must follow the path that Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud – a notorious criminal – took when he made his successful escape. Follow and decipher his clues and you will be free. Failed to do so before the clock runs out, and Alcatraz will be your home for the remainder of your life.
What I Liked – Explained:
Before the game began, we were separated into two groups: 2 of us who were blindfolded, and 4 who were handcuffed multiple times together. We walked into a dark room, and a fellow player and myself were placed in a cell within the room while the remainder of the now-handcuffed-group were not. Then the lights turned on and we were allowed to take-off our blindfolds: what a simple yet fitting room decor to open my eyes to. Without giving too much away, the first things that popped out in the cell were things a disturbed prisoner would have: everything from personal items, to items to pass the time with, to a couple of body parts. You know, the usual. The rest of the room gave me the feeling that I was in the old days when Alcatraz functioned, and the other locations that will later follow, had this very same vibe that never let me forget the theme of the room – something that not all rooms are successful at doing.
The game itself was challenging. It takes a little bit of logic and a lot of thinking outside the box to be successful at solving this room (which we weren’t – I’m a little rusty). The clues in the room were well designed; some looked simple but the simplicity made them challenging. For example, a
key we needed was starring at us in the face and yet it took us a long time to realize it. Others looked tough but their solutions were simple; like a set of codes that looked unsolvable but we actually could have done them faster, and without help from our Clue Master, if we had just looked closer (like Sherlock Holmes says “you see but you don’t observe!”). In addition to the clues, the game had multiple locations that interacted perfectly with one another. We needed every location to be able to solve challenges we saw at first, or to be able to solve a challenge we found later, or make use of a discarded clue to solve another one. The fact that every little thing was part of the bigger picture, and that solving a task or getting out of one location was not the end of that place, added more to the experience.
I would not do the room justice for this room if I do not mention the positive use of technology. There were some tech pieces I have never seen before, which speaks to the care given by the owner to the costumer experience and even more reassurance that “cheap” won’t be a word use for this room (something that is sadly seen more often than it should in the industry). Lastly, I can’t complete this review without giving Mike, our Clue Master, a shout-out as he was a great guy before, during, and after the game.