Escape Room · Mastermind Escape Games · Public Room · Reviews · Schaumburg, IL

Lost In Time @ Mastermind Escape Games Schaumburg

Date played:  Sunday, January 14, 2018
Number of players:  7
Max number of players possible for this room: 10
Public or private game:  Public
Outcome:  Escaped

First Impressions
The company is located on the second floor of an office building. I didn’t see any elevator, or any instructions for an accessible entrance on the website, so I wondered what people would do if they couldn’t use the stairs. Maybe there was another way to the lobby that I didn’t see, but there didn’t seem to be one.

There were a lot of people in the lobby when we arrived, and not many places for them to go. There were a few benches to sit on, but mostly it was just a big crowd of people standing around. It did look like there was some sort of puzzle game on the wall of the lobby for people to do while waiting, but I was never close enough to it to get a good look.

Setup
The employee checking everyone in when they arrived gave one speech to the large group of people in the lobby about the general rules, and then she walked groups to their rooms one by one. There was no organizing of groups beforehand, so when our room was called, it was a surprise to see who else in the lobby came with us to be part of our group. (It ended up being our group of 3 adults and 4 young/pre-teen boys.)

When we were let into the room, there were cubbies for us to stuff our jackets and personal belongings into. That was the first time I had encountered that setup in a room and I was not a fan. I don’t think there was any intro video, so even the act of putting away our personal items felt like we were cutting into the room playing time.

The story for this room on the website is as follows:
“An object from the future has slipped back through time and landed in the distant past. You have volunteered to be a part of an extremely dangerous task force that will be traveling back in time to discover the origin of this horrendous event. You have one hour to find the missing object and return it to the correct time period, or the course of human history will be altered forever!”

Game Play
The room begins in the wild west, the “distant past” mentioned in the storyline, and I was less than impressed with the decor. I might be jaded, but when I know the ol’ west is going to be used as a setting, I tend to think companies chose it because they think they can get away with cheap decor and still be on theme. There was wood paneling and wooden props, but all of the scene setting was very simplistic. I was in an office building with basic western decorations, and it felt like it.

The clue system in this room was my least favorite of those I have seen so far. We were given a tablet and could access clues at any time, but it would add extra time to our game. There were also two levels for each clue that we could select from, an easy hint that would almost give us the answer, and a difficult hint that would be more vague. The easy hints cost us more time. It was a little confusing, and having a big group meant that mostly just one person could look at the clues at a time, and that one person mostly just made the decisions on what clues we would get (sometimes that person was me, I’ll be honest.) It was much more complex than I think a hint system needs to be, and maybe the only benefit to the company was that the GM is basically not directly involved in the games and is free to do other things. Either way, I think this really does a disservice to their company. The GM can make an experience more fun for a group and that lack of involvement feels like a big gap in customer service.

The puzzles in the room were okay, maybe nothing spectacular but also not terrible. I did feel like some of the clues were kind of grubby, which wasn’t great. Holding some of the laminated clue cards made me think all too much about how many people had handled them and how they had probably not been wiped down at all. But the game play was alright.

Final Touches
When the game ended, there was no wrap up. I was allowed to take a picture of our game time on the screen, but I’m not sure that was necessarily encouraged. There were no special customer service touches that made me feel warm and fuzzy towards the company, and no trinkets given as a reward for our success.

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In conclusion…

Play This Room If…
-You have a coupon
-You want to play a room hint-free
-You don’t care if the GM is involved or not

Skip This Room If…
-You want high-quality scene setting
-You haven’t played any other rooms yet
-You don’t like the wild west theme

Overall rating:  2 out of 5

Company website: http://www.mastermindescapegames.com