A Knight to Remember
What I love most about escape games is that a well-executed room can become a literal escape from reality. The challenges of real life melt away while you are transported to another world to live out your childhood dreams of being a hero (or villain 😈) for an hour. In rare cases, the essence of a truly exceptional escape room stays with you long after the time has expired, providing much-needed dopamine hits between conference calls, e-mails, and spreadsheets (oh the joys of adulting!) Dan and Jamie, owners of The Escape Effect invited the Escape Junkies to try out their new 2-hour split team game A Knight to Escape. Having completed At Odds with the Gods at this venue before we felt like we had a pretty good idea what we were getting into, but I’m happy to report that A Knight to Escape exceed all expectations and more!
I knew we were in for a treat the moment the story video began playing on the overhead screen in our fully darkened room. As the self-proclaimed Puzzle Junkie, I tend to spend those few minutes before the timer starts scanning the room for hints about what type of experience I can expect. I’m glad The Escape Effect starts teams in the dark because it focuses your attention on the screen and the wonderfully animated and acted story video that introduces teams to the medieval war-torn world you’re about to enter. The darkness also concealed the room decor allowing for a “wow” moment once the lights are raised and the impressive craftsmanship and level of detail in the room are apparent.
Precious seconds were wasted as I ran my fingers across the authentic looking stone walls of the castle courtyard and marveled at the colorful banners that adorned each corner of the room. While the courtyard team enjoyed the bright and vibrant scenery the team on the dungeon side were treated to an ominous and foreboding space void of all light outside of a few lanterns and the bit of light that peaked through from the well-lit courtyard. The Escape Junkies have a theory that many escape companies use low-light rooms as a cover for a small design budget but that’s definitely not the case here. The dungeon space is just as detailed as the courtyard area which is more impressive when you consider most people won’t have time to notice as they tackle the incredible number of tasks needed to complete this room.
We have completed split concept escape rooms in the past where our team is divided in half with each group starting in a different location. Sometimes splitting up feels more like a gimmick because more often than not your team is made whole very early in the game. A Knight to Escape takes the split concept game to the next level by separating your team for around 90% of the room’s 2-hour limit. While that may sound like a turnoff to groups who prefer to stick together, I can honestly say I’ve never had to rely more on teamwork in an escape room than I did in this game. The Escape Effect cleverly designed the puzzles in each area to require both teams to communicate often and share findings to progress the story. On paper that sounds simple, but the brilliance of A Knight to Escape is that the communication piece of the game is often a puzzle in its own right.
As teams move forward into new areas of their respective zones, the way you share information evolves in new and interesting ways. 1 particular system of sharing a key with the other group gave us all a nice chuckle as we openly discussed much time would be wasted if we were wrong and needed to send the key back. A word of caution, A Knight to Escape is a difficult room and The Escape Effect is openly marketing it to escape room enthusiasts. Newcomers may find this super-sized escape room too involved to have a good time. While this room is challenging, the puzzles are not unfair or ‘cheap’ and you don’t need a Re
The Not So Good
A Knight to Escape can handle a group size of up to 8 players which is great for teams like ours that regularly exceed 6 Junkies. While I think you could get some enjoyment in this game with a full team of 8 players because of the split concept, there is a real concern that you will run into moments that someone will feel left out of the action. The owners of The Escape Effect tell us that during beta testing 6 players was the sweet spot for optimal enjoyment of A Knight to Escape and we would tend to agree. We played with the minimum required number of 4 and found that it made for a fast-paced and free moving experience, adding more than 1 person per zone may lead to bottleneck in a few of the tighter spaces later in the game.
When discussing A Knight to Escape with co-owner Dan Suleski, I got the impression that much of his free time is spent thinking of new ways to push the immersion factor of an escape experience to new heights. Some of my favorite escape room companies fall into the trap of coming up with an interesting room concept and replicating that formula in successive rooms while only changing the room theme. The results are often a feeling of Déjà Vu as you play through what should be a fresh experience. Our time with At Odds With the Gods and A Knight to Escape couldn’t have felt more different, and that has nothing to do with time limit or theme.
Each room has its own identity and requires teams to utilize alternative tactics to be successful. I would also like to note that for a game that had not yet opened to the general public, it was a pleasant surprise that every mechanical puzzle worked without issue. To present such a polished game that has so many moving pieces only speaks to the level of pride the owners put into their product. We can’t wait to find out what The Escape Effect will come up with next. 5/5
- Location: The Escape Effect
- Time Limit: 2 hours
- Number of Players: 4-8
- Recommended Skill Level: Experienced
The Escape Effect has offered our readers a $5 off per ticket discount when using the promo code ESCAPE-JUNKIES at checkout!
We would like to thank The Escape Effect for inviting the Escape Junkies to experience A Knight to Escape free of charge. We pride ourselves on providing honest feedback to the community, and while we appreciate their generosity, all thoughts and opinions (both positive and negative) are ours and ours alone.