This is part of a series of articles on games in Vienna – click here for the introduction and links to all the other articles.
Alongside Fox in a Box, Exit the Room was one of the two franchises we played in Vienna. The staff were very friendly – some of the best we encountered – but, at the end of the day, they were staff, and that’s almost never as good as owners if you want to discuss the games in detail. The games are a little outside the centre but it’s a fun venue to be in, with five rooms separated across the two basements on opposite sides of a central atrium- a nice combination of several rooms but still feeling quite quiet in the individual waiting areas. Of the five games at the location, we played four: Zombie was my favourite, with a particularly enjoyable finale, Bunker and Mind Boggling were both solid, and only Murder left me feeling disappointed.
Bunker (3.5 stars)
Not knowing much about the venue, we jumped into the first game and started playing. It’s one of those games set in the 70s (or maybe earlier), which means they can get away with the room looking pretty dilapidated. It was by no means falling to pieces but it did leave the room, and hence the experience, feeling a bit drab. That’s not to say that it didn’t have its moment, though – I may have used the word ‘drab’ but there were a few parts that showed they weren’t just trying to produce something cheap.
The puzzles were solid and, while you might think there are some confusing red herrings to start with, everything was perfectly logical. With four very experienced players and logical puzzles, we blazed through the game to such an extent that I didn’t even see some of the puzzles we solved, but what I did see was neither amazing nor frustrating. It’s the sort of room that wouldn’t have me sending people across town, but it’s a perfectly fun time if you’re in the venue already.
Murder (3 stars)
This felt like a very traditional escape room, with searching and observation being the key parts to the game. It was logical (we needed help only because we were being pretty careless with our searching), aside from one puzzle where we could see a few possible solutions and worked out the correct one by brute-forcing the number lock.
The set represents someone’s house, with pretty basic furnishings and there’s no real story. It’s the kind of escape room that would be perfectly enjoyable if it was your first ever. However, for me, although there was nothing bad in it, it failed to do anything particularly well and it felt almost entirely unmemorable. Even if you’re at the venue, I wouldn’t recommend playing.
Mind Boggling (3.5 stars)
Mind boggling. It’s a good name. This was a bizarre room with a zany theme and no story. You had a sequence of puzzles to solve and that was pretty much it. Before I go any further, I’ll tell you one invaluable fact: the puzzles in this game are not destructible. That will make more sense if you play the room, but we spent an annoying amount of time very carefully looking at a set of objects without moving them, which left me feeling a bit frustrated with what was otherwise an OK room.
The zany theme extends to the puzzles, with one in particular being downright weird (but still fun!). There were enough puzzles for the three of us – and, with them being parallelisable, we could get on independently and come back together when we were stuck. I particularly liked the mechanism they used to give you the exit code, although it was relatively easy to brute-force without fully completing the challenge. We almost did that but, just as we were about to, we found the final piece of the code.
I’m constantly complaining about colour puzzles, so credit where credit’s due: the two colour-related puzzles in this game both used bright, bold, easily distinguishable colours, which made the puzzles straightforward. There was one minor reset issue in the game, the only one across the four rooms. It’s hard to hold it against them, though – they’d rushed massively to reset the room so that we could squeeze our game in between two other slots that had already been booked.
Zombie (3.5 stars)
First off, in case you’re worried, this isn’t a scary game. There’s nothing to make you jump, and the only unpleasant thing was a puzzle which one person has to complete which was a bit icky. The rest of it could just have been pretty much a science laboratory game. Don’t expect to be scared!
Like other Exit the Room games, it wasn’t packed with puzzles, but there were enough and, in this case, they were reasonably varied. There was a surprising amount of searching towards the end of the game, and doubly so because, in spite of some of the items being quite big, we took a surprisingly long time to find them.
This game would probably have been my favourite of the four anyway, but it’s worth highlighting an amazing and beautiful end sequence. Both the final puzzle and the “outro” are really nicely designed and meant that we left the game on a real high. More games should invest in that final experience to ensure players feel as positive as possible when they finish.
That’s all on Exit the Game Wien – want to read more about Vienna’s games? Click here to head back to the main Vienna page.