Escape Room Week 1: Field notes on “Beat the Bomb”

For my escape room, we chose to go to “Beat the Bomb” in DUMBO.

Consisting of 5 rooms, there were 4 rooms where you completed puzzles or physical challenges to gain time in the final “Bomb room,” where you needed it to complete the final task to “defuse” the paint bomb. Each room had its own challenge, design, and set up.

Room 1: Hack attack. 5 computer screens, each with one side devoted to instructions, and the other side devoted to “modules” that required instructions from another computer screen to complete.
Room 2: Lazer maze. The entire team had to cross back and forth across a lazer maze without losing all of our “lives” in order to not fail the level. Success was indicated by each team member pressing 2 buttons on the walls.
Room 3: Echo chamber. 6 buttons, each with a corresponding shape and sound, had to be pressed to “echo” given patterns.
Room 4: Floor grid. Motion capture tic-tac-toe, but avoid on-screen “fireballs” and changing targets.

Room 5 (Bomb Room): Each member of the team had a “controller” that controlled one aspect (left, right, forward, aim, and shoot) of a player in a video game. Collaboratively, the group had to navigate through a digital maze to find and destroy “targets” by shooting them. The amount of time you got to achieve this was dependent on how well you performed in the previous 4 rooms. We went in with over 6 minutes of time.

Rooms 2, 3, and 4 required all of the players to physically engage in the task. Usually our team split everything up, with each person responsible for 1 thing (1 button, one screen’s instructions, one symbol, etc.) Each game works better when the players communicate well.

The set up was a mixture of very futuristic/sci fi (the lazer room) and analog arcade type games (the screens in the first room, the floor grid, and the final video game puzzle.) Each room had an entirely different aesthetic, but all the rooms were dark. We received instructions from a computer screen once the team leader swiped their wristband on a sensor right inside the door of each new room. Aside from a brief explanation in the very first room, we had very little interaction with the “game master.” We also interacted with staff before the bomb room to put on additional protective clothing.

The costume really added to the experience and to our camaraderie. We all really enjoyed the physical aspects of it— ducking under and jumping over lazers, running from screen to screen, and moving through the floor grid. The instructions were really clear. Even though we didn’t escape, it never felt too hard— we came in in the top 10% of all teams. It was my favorite of all the escape rooms I’ve ever done, and I would definitely go back.

Caroline NeelComment