Saturday, April 23, 2016

Escape Rooms in The Valley


We have two new Escape Rooms in our area.  Can U Xcape, in Bloomsburg, & Fantasy Escape Room, in Lewisburg.

General Escape Room Info & Tips

I'll save you the trouble of googling what an Escape Room is - 
 Escape rooms are a type of physical adventure game in which people are locked in a room with other participants and have to use elements of the room to solve a series of puzzles, find clues, and escape the room within a set time limit.

Each room is different, and there is no telling what the puzzles may be.  Go in with an open mind, and look EVERY where.  Search for keys, passwords, puzzles that reveal codes...

One of the best tips, from my best friend who has visited these rooms in Tennessee, New York, and both of the ones in our area, is to set everything you find on the table.  As you use it, stick it under the table, so you know it's been used.  So if you find a puzzle, solve it, then use that puzzles answer to open a lock, put the puzzle under the table.

My tip is to watch groupon, and their facebook pages, for specials.These rooms are not cheap.  They usually run around $25 a person.  For an hour.  But it's so much fun, I didn't regret the expense at either place.  (Especially since I didn't pay full price at either place....)

I've seen groups of 2, and even ONE person, tackle escape rooms, but they did not win.  Rooms typically allow 8 people, and I don't know that I'd even attempt one with less than 4. There were 7 of us in the Bloomsburg room, and 6 in the Lewisburg room.  Six seems to be a good number. Not too crowded, but lots of people looking and working on puzzles at the same time.  The catch is, if you book a room for 6, unless you book a private room, two strangers can join you.  When you make a reservation, unless it is a private room, they can fill the room with up to 8 people.

Check out the FAQ page here, there's a lot of great info: http://www.canuxcape.com/faq/

Before I describe both of our experiences for you, I'll save you the suspense and tell you right off that we loved Can U Xscape, and we liked Fantasy Escape. The Bloomsburg set up is just a notch nicer.  Cleaner puzzles, a cleaner set up, a nicer photo area for when you come out, with nicer signs..  little touches that really just made the experience a bit better.   You can see the differences just in the two websites:




Can U Xcape, Bloomsburg Pa
 We visited Can U Xcape shortly after they opened. They are located at 95 East 10th st, Bloomsburg, PA 17815. Watch their website and facebook page, they are teaming up with a local restaurant to offer group deals and specials.

When you arrive, you walk into the area you see here, and sign waivers that are on clipboards.  The foyer here has a nice polished look and feel.  Our guide did a great job of describing the game & the rules.  Then we entered the Tornado Room.

In the Tornado Room, a tornado has occurred, so stuff is everywhere.  Through walls, upside down, tossed around...  We searched everywhere for keys, clues, etc, then opened locks with the found keys, and found combinations from the puzzles.  The puzzles here are really good.  There is a variety, some are quite unique. Some are easy, some a bit more challenging.  There was a great mix.  It's really very well done.

In this room, there's a bonus. If you find the first aid kit, AND escape, it shaves minutes off your time.  (We found the first aid kit)

We had a little trouble with the directional lock. The guide was paying attention and noticed this, he came in and made sure it was working correctly.  Our guide was really fantastic for this entire game.

Our only complaint was that the sound effects were a little loud and we often had trouble hearing each other over the background noise.  (There was no background noise in the cabin game in Lewisburg, but you could hear the office workers talking in the next room over - so a little background noise might have been a good idea there.) The noise went with the tornado theme.

At the end, we posed with the signs above.  A VERY nice touch! 

We had so much fun with this - I really loved it.  I  highly recommend this place, and we look forward to going back now that the steampunk room is open.  If you are going to choose between the two locations, I'm going to try to talk you into trying both.. but if you are definitely going to only pick one, choose Bloomsburg.

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Fantasy Escape Room, Lewisburg PA


We Escaped!  Barely!  

When this place first opened, we found a groupon deal and signed up almost immediately.  The groupon process worked great, and made this a really great deal.  We chose to do the Cabin room - 
"You are next of kin to Black Bart, who owned a gold mine and he passed away before telling you where the deed and map are to the gold mine.  You must find the map and the deed in his cabin that leads to the gold mine and register it at the Assay town office before closing time today or you will lose your rights to the claim.  The Assay town office closes at 1pm today.  You have 1 hour to find the deed, the map and register it with the Assay town office.  Can you do it? "

The Lewisburg Escape Room is located right beside the old CVS building on Main Street In Lewisburg.  You go down the steps, and there's an area with tables and a fake street lamp.  The first door was the locked Cabin Room, then the second door is the office, and I assume the hangover room is to the left of the office.  It's all a bit cluttered, and casual, and lacks the polished feel of the Bloomsburg building.. but that doesn't really effect the game.

We signed the waivers in the office, heard the short spiel with the rules and how the different locks worked, then we headed into the cabin room.

Where the Tornado room in bloomsburg was a bit loud for us (and granted, we're getting older...) the Cabin room in Lewisburg was dark.  We were not allowed to use our phone flashlights.  There was a reason for this, which I won't share because I don't want to spoil the room for you, but for those of us with older eyes, this definitely added to the challenge.

The props for this room were really top notch, there were some beautiful not quite antiques in here.  Except for one.  I picked up a crate to look under it for clues, and it's hard to tell in that light, but I'm pretty sure it had actual chicken poop on it.  (Remember, I live on a farm, and I own a few of those crates..  if it wasn't real - it was REALLY a good replica.)  That was a bit off putting, even for this farm girl.  

The second room (spoiler alert - there's always a second room.  In every escape room, there's a hidden room.  You'll find it eventually, there will be more clues there)  was just weird. After we solved the puzzles and had more time to think about it, it was even weirder.  I think they were trying so hard to add distractions that they got a bit carried away and lost sight of their theme. But the first room was pretty awesome.  :-)

There was a glitch with our game in Lewisburg that did not ruin the game for us, but did make it a little less fun. One of the drawers that should have been locked was not locked.  We spent a lot of time with one of the puzzles answers, trying to figure out why we needed the code, when in fact we did not need the code, because we had already opened that  drawer.  I don't know how much that really affected our game.

 The Lewisburg room also has "distractions" - games and clues that do not mean anything and are not used anywhere.  I don't care for that. It doesn't surprise me that so few people have escaped the rooms at Lewisburg, for that reason alone.  I think the distractions take some of the fun out of the game, and I, personally, much prefer the clean and simple games at Can U Xcape.  But that doesn't' mean I won't go back and try another room at Fantasy Escape, I did enjoy the room. It just means that if I have to choose between the two, I'll be headed to Bloomsburg.

This room also lost a few points, in my book, for arguing with me about the "appropriateness" of the hangover room for teens.  I understand you encouraging us to come back, that's your job, but when I tell you that I'm not bringing my teens back to participate in something called the Hangover Room because I don't think it's appropriate for them, please do not argue with me.  My kids.  My opinion.  Find another theme and we'll likely be back. But not if you continue to argue with me.

This is the description of the Hangover Room.  I'm not surprised it's very popular, especially in a college town, but it is not what I, personally, consider appropriate for teenagers.  And it's not really something I want to be associated with myself even.  That's my choice, no sense in arguing with me.  :-)

"About the Hangover
​​​You and a couple of friends went out last night and partied a little too hard.  You wake up in your college dorm room with a hangover and no recollection of what happened.  You need to find out what you did last night and get rid of the evidence before the dorm head catches you.  You have 1hr before the dorm head makes their rounds.  Can you find the evidence and escape in time?"

Keep in mind that this is a brand new place.  Be patient with them as they work out the kinks and improve.  I think it's awesome that they offered the groupon deal, giving a great discount while they  are still new and learning what works best.

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If you want to make a longer drive, our kids went to an Escape room in the Poconos that was REALLY cheap.  They had a great time.

There's a Can You Escape game for android on google play:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=air.com.mobigrow.canyouescape&hl=en
I haven't played it yet...

2 comments:

  1. So glad to hear you enjoyed your escape experience so much at Can U Xcape! As a note, we do (at the request of our customers) turn the soundtracks or lighting effects down or even off to accommodate any group's comfort level... some groups even say it could even be louder! :) Thank you for advocating the escape rooms of NEPA! I believe we all offer our own unique twists on the escape experience. As for myself, I am very proud to be a part of something that stimulates intellectual thinking and promotes human interaction (even in the middle of a tornado). ;)

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  2. That's good to know! We didn't even think to ask to turn it down a bit, we were too focused on the puzzles. Looking back, it seems silly that we didn't think to ask. :-)

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