What can you catch but not throw? What goes up but never comes down? If you’re drawn to solving puzzles and searching for hidden clues, then DOA. Room Escape will appeal to your senses. One caveat: this puzzle game isn’t for novices, as the challenges are tricky!
Room escape games have been growing in popularity the last few years, so it’s not surprising that some have been popping up throughout Illinois. What makes D.O.A. Room Escape different, though, is the focus of their horror-themed room, The Basement. In this scenario, participants face off against the deadly H.H. Holmes, best known for his murderous escapades during the World’s Fair in Chicago. Up to eight players can reserve a spot inside Holmes’ lair and do their best to escape.
As DOA. Room Escape is a puzzle game, it wouldn’t be fair to give spoilers, but there are some basics that guests can know. The event begins with an explanation of the rules, as well as a detailed history of Holmes and the World’s Fair (the explanation of his murder chambers and how he disposed of the bodies is especially intriguing). From there, guests are told that they will have 1 hour (which feels like roughly 1 minute in room escape time) to escape from two different rooms in Holmes’ quarters. The team is accompanied by a Game Master, who can provide up to three hints for the team throughout the game.
To cement the horror theme, both rooms atmospherically decorated with with realistic props and memorabilia that relate to the theme. There’s also a soundtrack fit for a horror film, with yowling cats and creaking doors. However, most guests will be too focused on solving the puzzles than thinking about the horror aspects.
A word to the wise: this room escape is, indeed, very challenging. A quick scroll through DOA’s Facebook page will show that very few teams manage to escape, though that shouldn’t dissuade you from trying. In fact, if you do escape, you even get a free tee shirt! Another hint is to overthink what you’re told, as many of the clues aren’t obvious during the first go round. Many of the clues are challenging and misleading, so working together as a team is essential to escaping.
Overall, DOA Room Escape provides a unique experience for horror lovers who are looking for something different. While DOA is not as frightening as many of the other haunts profiled here, it is a fun way to test your puzzle solving skills. Although my group wasn’t lucky enough to escape the clutches of Dr. Holmes’ evil grip, we definitely felt challenged!
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