Signature Color: Yellow
“It’s a sad fact of the escape room industry that no room will last forever; just like their cousin live theater, older rooms inevitably close up shop to make space for the next big production. Fortunately for us, we got to see 221B The Study before it concludes its (successful) 18-month run this summer and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch it too.
Set in the modern-day study of one Sherlock Holmes, this room sets players the task of assisting the famed detective without attempting to tackle the often problematic constraint of adhering to a historical setting and comes out all the better for it. True to its theme, what’s front and center in this room is the mystery; everything from fingerprints to evidence boards makes an appearance here among sparingly interspersed homages to the owner’s various iconic hobbies. The sheer amount of information to be digested surrounding the central mystery, along with the fact that none of it is particularly hidden, earns this room the Signature Color of Yellow for the clear and unobstructed goal; whether or not teams possess the logic, deduction, and creativity needed to put all the pieces together correctly is another matter entirely.
There were a few points during the asynchronous puzzles that I felt that I wasn’t really contributing much to my team’s success; for players who, like me, love to rummage through a room looking for hidden trinkets, yellow rooms may be a bit of a problem. However, once I stopped looking for new clues and really tried to absorb all the information from the clues in front of me, particularly the details about the suspects, I quickly caught up to the team.
My helpful hint: write down the information you know (even if another teammate is taking their own notes).”
“This Sherlock Holmes experience is being retired next month and is on sale for $20. [Editor: see below for discount codes.] And it’s great. Everything is so competently designed and balanced, it should be lifted out of the building and into a school somewhere. Setting it in Sherlock’s study allowed the designers to keep the decor simple and focus on the puzzles without having to re-invent the wheel. That’s probably the route every designer should take with their first rooms. Its value as a time-capsule of the art form of escape rooms lies in its use of the standard, first-gen fare, which is numbers in padlocks. There’s a proven formula to a good first-gen room, just like there are proven frameworks for detective novels. There’s nothing wrong with that framework in literature–it still takes a master craftsman to pull it off. This room demonstrates that the same can be said of escape scenarios.
For aspiring designers, 221B The Study is a terrific example of balance and care. For players, it’s a fun and challenging room that facilitates automatic and natural team-building. While the thematic links between puzzle elements never seemed all that logical, that’s probably what keeps the team kibbitzing and experimenting together. Our experienced group of 6 got out with 5 minutes to spare; novice teams will face quite the challenge.”
1165 E. Plant St.
Winter Garden, FL 34787