(THIS IS A SPOILER FREE BLOG; READ ON WITHOUT FEAR!)
There are amazing reviews about 13th Gate Escape Room all over the internet, so we just had to go see what all the noise was about. Out of the nine escape rooms the franchise hosts, we booked two before packing ourselves up and flying on down to Louisiana for a short vacation to experience this acclaimed southern attraction.
It was a one hour drive from our hotel to 13th gate in Baton Rouge— a facility comprised of two mega warehouses, one for their haunted house and the other for the escape rooms. There were no elaborate entrance ways or monolithic welcoming signs; there was only a small door on the side of the building labeled “13th Gate, No Walk-Ins.”
Now we knew this was different.
After completing the sign-in process, we were led to our starting point for the first room and the beginning of our game rush. Without having been disclosed any details, we joined a group of three girls from Chicago and engaged with the room right away. Awe set in instantly. At a glance, Cutthroat Cavern reads like your typical pirate-themed escape room, but the massiveness of the puzzles and the intricate detail of the set rivaled the best Disney attractions.
We solved the initial puzzle and embarked on the second…and we do say embarked, as this was a legit journey! Everything about this game was extraordinary. The second puzzle… OMG. What a great surprise! WOW and AHA moments occurring simultaneously! It took us a while to figure this entire escape room out, but we did it. On to the next puzzle, another amazing WOW moment. This room didn’t cease to amaze us. And then, well, our jaws just dropped! What happened next was something I haven’t seen before and wasn’t expecting at all.
Now I know why this place is so highly recommended. I didn’t want to play the room, I just wanted to take it all in. All we could think of was Goonies!!! What a great game so far.
After retrieving our jaws from the floor, we scattered around looking for clues and puzzles, every single puzzle was extremely clever and executed in a great way. Of course, there were your simple puzzles that kept people busy, but they also had some puzzles that made us think hard. The room felt like a real adventure. We’ve played some good games with great scenarios, but this room was off the charts. We don’t have enough words to describe how perfect this room was. Towards the end, we were rushing with only a few minutes left and not knowing how to solve the end of the game. With some help we were able to beat the room and see the room finale. A beautifully executed multi linear room with a little for everyone and lots of WOW and AHA moments.
On an enthusiast ranking done with players with over 21,000 games under their belts, this was voted No.2 in the world. We can see why they voted it so high. No. 4 is the Amsterdam Catacombs which Marcelo was lucky to play a couple of months ago and loved it.
After grabbing a beer, we went to play the Collector. We were paired with a group of four fun people. We started the room, and, again, a very good scenario for the theme. As we uncovered puzzles, we realized they weren’t as exciting as the previous room. As we found our way into more puzzles, we felt there weren’t enough for our party of six, even though the room had space for a great room layout.
An almost linear room with easy puzzles and some cool looking props along the way didn’t impress us as much as the previous room did. We managed to get to the end after a couple of clever twists and managed to win with lots of time.
Needless to say we was not big fans of this room (though doing it right after Cutthroat Cavern probably added to the disappointment. We may have judged this room better had it been the only room we had played there). It had potential, but it didn’t deliver excitement for a group. If you play this room, we would recommend to do it as a couple (just two people). We feel that would be a good way to enjoy this room.
Our Take Away
We see how escape rooms are evolving all over the world and trying to bring in more theatrical effects without going to scary extremes. We’re really excited to see how far escape room designers are able to push the boundaries of this industry. We certainly try our best!