I should start by saying that my wife and I do escape rooms all the time with just the two of us. And we have never not escaped when we are alone. Because we see every puzzle and clue and aren't missing information because others are handling it.
We called months ahead of our trip to see if we could book a private room. We offered to pay extra--whatever it took. They were friendly enough, but they would not let us. We had to play with others.
Well, we didn't want to miss out on these rooms, so we moved forward and hoped for the best.
For Spellbound, we got out with a group of four 12-year old girls there for a birthday party. Hey, I have kids. Kids are great.
If you aren't racing against the clock trying to solve puzzles.
The girls were looking for a different experience than we were. And they were young girls. Which meant lots of giggling and shrieking.
And I can only imagine that the birthday girl and her friends weren't exactly thrilled to learn that some strange couple would be crashing their party.
After playing the room, I get why we couldn't have done it with just two. Because there was one puzzle that physically required more than two people. Puzzle wise, though, we could have killed it in that room.
So 13th Gate, figure out how to lower that minimum body count. If your concern is money, charge more for a private room. And while you're working on that, don't stick two adults in a kid's birthday group. Neither side wants that.
So I have to admit that the corporate policy of matching escape room enthusiasts to overly enthusiastic pre-teens colored my view of the room. But with that now out of the way, here's what I thought of the room:
It was awesome. The production value was unparalleled. The puzzles were mostly intuitive, though the equipment they provide you could have worked better. The ambience was almost perfect--the sights, the smells, the sounds (though I would have appreciated a bit more light).
I am not a fan of the clue-giving system, though. It's animatronic and pre-programmed, so the game master ended up having to chime in to expound on the clue either because it was too hard to understand, gave us information we already had, or made no sense.
There was great flow, good surprises, and there was a lot to do. Overall, it was a good time. I think the biggest thing that would have made it better is if I was actually invited to that girl's thirteenth birthday party.
Then again, if it was just my wife and me, it would have been beyond awesome.
(I do appreciate that the gamemaster gave us a couple extra minutes because we were so close to escaping when time ran out.)