As we’ve pointed out before, escape room reviews are inherently limited in their value. You can’t really talk about any of the clues or puzzles because they would give something away to anyone who wanted to check out the room. Reviews on Tripadvisor are also of limited use because most are from first-time escapists, and almost all give stellar 5-star reviews.
We’ve recently decided to abandon our own 5-star system that we’d used in most of our reviews. In hindsight, I don’t think they are very helpful. I would generally recommend a 4-star room just as much as a 5-star room. And I don’t know how bad a room would have to be to warrant a 1-star room. (Maybe shoving you into a closet, turning off the light, and you escape by twisting the door knob. That’d probably be a 1-star review.)
There are a number of things that I think can provide readers with helpful information about an escape room. This includes:
- variety of puzzles
- new puzzles not seen anywhere else
- amount of scavenging required
- red-herring quotient (see EscapistTO‘s take on these unwelcome fish)
- condition of the room/props/puzzles
- interaction with the business/employees
- hint system and helpfulness
- theme and story (Listen to ReallyFun and TheLogicEscapesMe talk about the difference on their podcast.)
- integration of the props and puzzles with the story
- did you get out?
- recommended or skip it.
If you are an escape room enthusiast, you will probably try and check out all the rooms you can, even if some aren’t favorably reviews. However, if you have limited time, then hopefully the reviews will give you enough information to prioritize those which seem to be up your escape alley.
In summary, and in answer to the title prompt, I don’t know how to write an escape room review! Do you?