Published August 30th, 2017 @ 12:12 am EST by Prince Pocket

REVIEW: Knight’s Quest by Project: Escape (Marietta, GA)

An invitation to adventure becomes a quest for perfection just outside Atlanta.

 

5/5 Claws

Challenge: 9.5
Awe: 9
Care: 9
Theme: 9.5
Team: 8.5
Signature Color: Green

 Paul:  

“For only the third time in our history, Partly Wicked has encountered a nearly perfect room!  Beginning with the staging, Knight’s Quest embodies a consistently coherent experience; as is characteristic of Green rooms, the thrill of being drawn into the room’s environment, the organic nature of the challenges, and the intentional camouflage of anachronistic technology makes this room as much fun to simply inhabit as it is to solve. ”

Project: Escape, as a venue, has a pretty unique approach to designing their experiences; here the themes are selected first, the room itself is then built and decorated, and once they are physically standing in their gamespace, the staff (all of whom, we are told, can add design ideas) propose challenges and puzzles that fit uniquely into the room that has been constructed.  The ultimate result of this approach can be felt on a deep and intrinsic level in Knight’s Quest because narratively the Knights Templar occupied the castle and hid their greatest treasures within it, using only what was available to them at the time and by extolling virtues/skills others of their order would be sure to have; the fact that those skills just happen to be the same ones needed by escape room players feels almost like a happy accident.  All of the technology that appears here is either thematically appropriate or hidden as best as humanly possible.  Perhaps my favorite example of this is the keypad that unlocks the final door.  It’s pointed out to players by the game master during the rules section; a wooden box with carved wooden buttons with runes inscribed on them.  Underneath the covering, I’m sure is a standard 12 button key pad, but this extra craftsmanship and care in game making exemplify the consistent thought process that not only challenges but guides players.

The challenges themselves require a variety of skills to overcome, leaving every obstacle feeling fresh and allowing every team member to contribute with their strengths.  While Knight’s Quest ‘s path-to-completion may feel a little more linear than most other rooms, it constantly provides advancement in several puzzles at once; only by keeping all the pieces with their appropriate partners and realizing where they are blocked can players focus on which puzzle they should solve next.  The very tactile rewards teams get for completing various puzzle chains serves as a satisfying way to mark only their progression through the room, but celebrate their accomplishments.”

 Michael: 

“Medieval Europe is a common theme for escape rooms in general, but Knight’s Quest is the best of its class.  References to the Knights Templar, Excalibur, and other fantasy mainstays are common everywhere, but in this room, everything makes sense.  There’s an accuracy to the overall quest, and that usually presents three dangers to game designers: the room could end up feeling scholastic, overwhelming, or futile (why work to prevent a historical disaster that already happened?)  You’d never want everything in the room to be “on period” but at the same time, it’s deeply rewarding when the puzzles derive in some measure from actual types of cryptography, or intellectually challenging games, which were important to the period and culture on which the room is based.  Many people think that doesn’t matter, and many players think that they, personally, wouldn’t much care.  But it matters whether players know anything about the real history of a room’s setting or not — Flow is easier to achieve, players feel immersed on a more than visual level, and, most importantly, if puzzles and games have survived from long ago periods, they were probably pretty impressive to begin with.  So, enough about that: this room doesn’t get hung up on history, but it respects it enough to take more

So, enough about that: this room doesn’t get hung up on history, but it respects it enough to take more that superficial inspiration from it. I have an MA in Medieval Archaeology and I came away from the room having learned a couple things I didn’t know, things I confirmed because I liked the puzzles so much, I was excited to look them up when I got home and find out where they came from. –PPP– This venue features a very enjoyable, if

This venue features a very enjoyable, if chancy, big red button; push the button, and, randomly, your team either gets a reward or a penalty.  It also enforces a new kind of cooperation, because there’s only a chance of a reward once, and if the button is ever pressed after that, the result can only be negative.  We pushed it right away and lost some time, but it gave the experience a game-show feel, and it’s optional.  I think it’s pretty cool… because it’s optional.

We did not defeat this room–largely because I didn’t want to play the game as much as I wanted to admire everything in it. I didn’t want the game to be over, and I didn’t really want anything to interfere with my experience of just being in it [Editor: this is Michael’s typical reaction to a superb Green room].  The design philosophy of each room in this venue determines what kind of puzzles they will invent or adapt to the room’s environment.  It was determined that this room was to be predominantly tactile; things react to the movement or placement of other things in the room, and the shifting of weight, collusion of reasoning and exploration, and pure enjoyment of apparatus in real time the way we would enjoy them on the screen of an adventure movie.  By sticking to this mandate, Knight’s Quest keeps joy alive, but also trains the senses toward the individual personality of the room, the way it “thinks.”  It may not bring anyone closer to occupying the medieval mind (only reading can do that) but it could encourage some curiosity about enigma, pilgrimage, and other phenomena tangential to all the cool parts of the middle ages, the stuff remotely connected to Excalibur and the Holy Grail.

In order to appreciate this room, don’t be afraid to explore; just because you know you shouldn’t touch something with a “don’t touch” label doesn’t mean you shouldn’t touch and explore everything around it.  Don’t be shy — the room was built by a more than competent carpenter, and it’s ready for you.  Our timidity about not wanting to damage anything cost us a lot more time than it should have — a disadvantage of having built and designed a lot of things ourselves.  There’s really not a lot that could improve this room — in general, the puzzles make sense, both in the overarching context of the secretive Knights Templar and the extreme value of the treasures they hid, leaving clues only other Knights could decipher — to the individual puzzles which are not only period appropriate but have some relationship, some line of dialogue in what seems like a larger conversation between all of the objects.  The staff were wonderful to us, but they did know we were reviewing it — don’t be afraid to ask for hints.”

NOTE: While Partly Wicked was invited to play and review experiences at Project: Escape at no cost, their hospitality holds no sway over the content of this review or our reviewers’ recommendations.

1395 South Marietta Pkw SE
Building 200, Suite 202
Marietta, GA 30067
(844) 372-2731

www.ProjectEscapeAtl.com

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