July 28, 2018 – I landed in LaGuardia, nabbed a metro pass from the kiosk, and headed for Manhattan. I hadn’t the faintest plan at the time of when to do what, so I was pleasantly surprised that OMEscape had a reasonably early group I could join up with. After exploring Times Square briefly, I took a quick walk to OMEscape and signed in.
I had joined up with a group, and it ended up being a family of four. I typically like joining up with strangers in escape rooms. When in this scenario, I like to take a step back and let the others explore everything first, and then I can provide guidance when everyone gets stuck. Even then I like to give nudges and stay hands off. I know it’ll reduce my chances of winning at the end of the day, but when with a group my #1 goal is to make sure everyone has a good time.
The family was very gracious and welcomed a new teammate. We headed to OMEscape’s basement to try out the Laboratory of Biohazard. There’s something nice about doing a grim escape room in an actual basement. The little bit of chill in the air and the cold stone floor tends to sell the experience.
My team stayed well-organized throughout. The puzzles were well designed such that multiple people could often contribute to the same puzzle, and it also worked well to allow me to suggest tasks to divide among the group members. The room did a good job setting up a progression though thematically appropriate spaces, and a few clever pieces of technology kept the group excited to see what would come next.
My favorite touch in the room was an environmental puzzle in the second space. I wont spoil anything, but it was neat to have to deal with a legitimate physical obstacle affecting the space. Imagine there’s a fire between you and your goal that you have to douse to move on. That’s not the puzzle at OMEscape (you would have heard about at least a few accidental self-immolations by now if it was), but the nature of the obstacle was similar to that was was very unique and fun.
Our group solved the room with about ten minutes on the clock remaining, getting stuck and resorting to a clue once. It was a good experience for both newcomers (the others had never done a room before) and an experienced player. Even if I wasn’t there, the others would have been able to use clues to fulfill the same role I played most of the time, so they would have had a good time regardless.
After curing the virus, I stopped briefly at the Culture Espresso shop right next to OMEscape and was glad I did. The guy at Culture was really welcoming to a random tourist and set me up with directions to my next train station (destination Connecticut) while I enjoyed fresh coffee and an award winning cookie. I highly recommend stopping here before or after an escape room at OMEscape, particularly if you solve puzzles better with a little bit of caffeine.
OMEscape was a good way to kick off my weekend trip. One state down, five to go (and one “district”)!