Resident Evil – Pop Up – Portland

Resident Evil is a video game. If you knew that, then you knew as much as I did going into this escape game based on the popular zombie franchise. Resident Evil’s escape room was initially put out as an escape room tie-in in Los Angeles. I was alerted to this fact by one of the organizers, but by the time I tried to sign up to help defeat the evil army, it was all booked up. A couple months later, I find that RE is coming to my town, presented by CAPCOM and iam8bit.

Knowing that the group behind 60 Minutes to Escape was hosting the RE escape room, I had a feeling it would be good. Given the limited run; however, I was forced to book with other people. When we arrived, we were met by 4 other people. 2 kids (I say kids, they were probably 16-18) and their parents.

Normally, I dislike forced grouped escapes. Unfortunately, that is a fact of most of the escape rooms in the American market. But wait! This was really the best group experience I’ve ever had! The two main kids (guy and girl) with this group had never done an escape room. But they were very interested, engaged, and made for the best group experience I’ve had.

For the critique of the room, there were a few issues. I would categorize the room as a very good 1st Gen room. There was no tech involved in any of the puzzles. All of the puzzles involved 3-5 letter/number locks or key locks. Nothing innovative in the locks or way opening anything up. I’d say the room is very good for those new to the game, but pretty average for enthusiasts.

The people we played with were probably the target audience and they loved it. It is a really good way to introduce people to escape rooms. As a pop-up, things had to be reset quickly and this was the first time I’d seen a team move in to reset as we were being debriefed. With these short-term runs, less tech also means fewer problems with things going wrong.

Some have complained that the room is not immersive enough, given the highly evocative theme. I don’t really know the game, but there were a couple tie-ins, according to the people we played with. Of course, no outside knowledge of the game franchise is necessary, or even helpful. The in-room actor was just a  there to observe and give pretty worthless clues, like “keep trying.” The ‘actor’ had no real role other than to dissuade us from doing certain things.

In the end, we had fun. However, this was a short room (45 minutes) for a full-60 minute price. If you really like Resident Evil, it is probably worth it to try this game. If you have done all the escape rooms in your area and this one is coming through, you’ll probably enjoy it. However, if you have a lot of rooms left on your list, this one is a little pricey for the 45-minute experience.

Depending on where you live and how fast you act, you may still have time to try out the Resident Evil Escape Experience, check out Schedule as follows:

San Francisco – February 8 – March 5
Portland, OR – February 8 – March 5
Boston – February 22 – March 19
New York – February 22 – March 19
Chicago – March 8 – April 2
Austin – March 8 – April 2

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