We’ve Been Framed
Boxaroo is something special and I’m lucky to have gotten the chance to experience this wonderful establishment. During my recent trip to Boston for PAX East, I had intended on checking out 1 escape room to introduce my local friends to the wonderful world of escape games. We accomplished that at the excellent Escape Games Worcester’s Fallout. During our debrief, Escape Game Worcester’s owner recommended that we check out Boxaroo if we had the chance. Instantly my spider sense began tingling because in my experience. The highest form of respect in the escape room industry is for 1 escape room owner to refer you to what is essentially the competition. So after a little scheduling gymnastics, the Escape Junkies added an additional stop with Conundrum Museum … and boy what a stop!
Our entire experience with Conundrum Museum (say that 5 times fast) was top notch, from our entertaining game master/tour guide Robert, to the production value during the story setup, and beyond. Conundrum Museum is a love letter to escape room enthusiasts. We start out as a small group of tourists on a private tour of an art museum, when suddenly 3 very valuable paintings go missing right before our eyes. Within a matter of seconds, the tension levels rose as we are told we had an hour to locate and replace the missing paintings before the police arrived.
The first thing I noticed before exploring the space was that in lieu of the traditional 60-minute countdown clock used in most escape rooms, Boxaroo uses a red bar (think health bar in video games) that slowly drains as your time runs down. This added a
Speaking more to anxiety, the space in Conundrum Museum is beautifully designed with a plethora of things to do. This room holds up to 10 players (our group consisted of the minimum number of 4). Each puzzle is thematically relevant, with each piece of art serving as a clue, puzzle, or both. While I had encountered similar versions of a few puzzles found in Conundrum Museum, the vast majority of the puzzles were inventive and fun to solve, and even the familiar ones had a different twist.
The hint delivery system was 1 of the coolest I’ve seen. Instead of waving your hands and asking for help when stuck, you are given pre-recorded timed hints in the form of background information about the artwork. The way the hint system is baked into the narrative adds an additional layer of immersion that I never knew I wanted and really added to my enjoyment of the game.
I should mention that you don’t have to use any of the hints provided. When a hint is available you have the option to push the “more information” button at the back of the room to hear the provided hint. Larger teams may choose to ignore this feature completely, but according to Boxaroo, the average number of accepted hints is 11, which brings me to my final note. Once the game is over, every player gets an Adventure Field Report that is basically a printout of how well your team performed on the various puzzles and compares you against the fastest time on record. You’ll also get your completion time, as well as the number of hints your team was offered and how many were accepted. This was a totally unexpected but appreciated extra step that bolstered an already exceptional escape game experience.
The Not So Good
Being that I live over 1,357 miles from Boston, it may be a while before we get to try another room from this incredible escape room company.
Every time I think that I’ve seen the best of what the escape room industry has to offer, I find myself humbled by a game that resets the bar on what a great escape game can be. Conundrum Museum is 1 of the best escape rooms I’ve ever encountered and not for any 1 particular reason. Robert and everyone at Boxaroo have crafted a total package that is polished from presentation to execution with many more small touches and details that I won’t share at risk of spoiling it for others. I will find my way back to Boston to check out the rest of what Boxaroo has to offer, and I highly recommend you all do the same. 5/5
- Location: Boxaroo
- Time Limit: 60 Minutes
- Number of Players: 4-10 Players
- Recommended Skill Level: Intermediate