If you caught my last post or follow me on social media you know that last weekend was my Birthday. The good thing about birthdays is that they’re the one time of year you get to drag your friends to pretty much whatever you want (within reason). Like the time I had to go to a WWE event featuring The Rock (insert laughing and crying emoji here). While brainstorming what creative and unique thing to do this year I remembered an episode of The Bachelorette last season (guilty pleasure revealed) where Kaitlyn took Ben Z. to a horror escape room. They had to solve a series of objectives in a certain amount of time to get out of the room. Since then I’ve heard more about these type of rooms, and most of these “escape rooms” are not of the horror variety, but more of the Columbo meets MacGuyver type. Being a bit of a mystery nut, a Seattle puzzle room (escape room) sounded like a perfect fit!
My Ninja Escape Birthday (A Seattle Puzzle Room Experience)
There are actually a few escape rooms in Seattle and after a bit of research I chose Ninja Escape because it had the best reviews. What I found with most of them is that a limited amount of spots are available for each game. I chose the biggest one I could find, which was for 12 people, but most games were for 10 or under. Although this limited my guest list, in retrospect I can definitely see why less is more.
From the very beginning of my Ninja Escape Birthday, it was a bit of a mystery. Located in/near Fremont it’s actually pretty easy to miss. Which is why I put up this non-aesthetic looking picture. There is no sign on the building (that looks kind of like an old apartment building) which is right after the bridge. The only indication you’re at the right place is this sign on the door.
You then take the elevator up to suite 270. The building is old and the elevator slightly creepy but I thought it added to the experience before even entering the room.
Once inside we all had to sign our life away on a waiver (okay, I didn’t actually read it but I’m sure that’s what was happening there) and wait for our full party to navigate the parking and find the mysterious building that is Ninja Escape Seattle.
We were then given brief instructions and led to the escape room. We chose the game Hack Attack, and had 60 minutes to solve 3 objectives. There was a hilariously creepy voice that came over the speakers letting us know what those were, and then it was go-time.
The room looked like your basic office; I’m not going to give away the game itself in case any of you play (and you should!) but we weren’t really sure where to start. There wasn’t an initial clue to go from so we all spread out in different directions trying to find anything that could be something. Even though we had no idea what that looked like. Like a grown up, crazy Easter Egg hunt without the eggs :).
I wish I had pictures of the room to show you but as you can imagine, there were no pictures allowed inside. We could ask for 3 clues if we got stuck, and that same creepy voice would let us know each time 10 minutes had passed by.
The challenging thing with so many people are the many voices at once. This is both good and bad, good because more brains are solving different parts of the puzzle, and potentially bad if it causes confusion and chaos. We were doing everything from finding keys to lock boxes to algebra on the whiteboard but our group, unfortunately, didn’t solve all the puzzles in time. I think (this is up for debate depending on who you talked to) we solved one out of the 3 objectives. We had some pretty intelligent brains in our group so I was surprised that getting out was as challenging as it was! It was hard!
One critique from my group was that they should have told us how many parts were in each objective so we could manage our time better. For instance, we spent about 15 minutes on something that led to nothing and had we known that we basically had 5 minutes or less for each clue we would have moved on earlier. I think that would have helped but I know that they’re trying to make this challenging so I can see why they leave it open like they do. It makes it a lot harder.
I really want to tell you more about the room, but let’s just say it’s more than what it seems, and that it requires working together and working together quickly. If you play and get stuck, move on to something else. The room was also large enough that it didn’t feel claustrophobic, even though we were locked in. It would make for a great team building event for work, a group date night, or a good way to give your normal routine a kick in the pants.
Sooo, we failed our mission but it was a lot of fun. I definitely want to go back and play the other game that Ninja Escape has or even try other puzzle rooms. Someday I (and my team) will beat one of them! It just wasn’t our day and the Kraken got the best of us. It happens to the best of ninjas.
If you’re in the Seattle area, go and go now. If you’re not, check near you because they’re becoming pretty trendy. You heard it here first ;-).
I grant Ninja Escape Seattle 4 out of 5 Halos. It was clean, challenging, fun, and the staff was very helpful and nice.
Put your brain to the test!