Escape Room – Tournament of Champions Mini Review

I didn’t particularly care for the first Escape Room movie, yet for whatever reason, I had an itch to watch this one. Maybe the studio did a good job with the trailer, maybe I just missed theaters… Whatever the reason, I jumped on the opportunity to go see this one.

To my surprise, I quite enjoyed it! There’s not a whole lot going on in the way of plot, but the puzzle design was surprisingly good, and it felt like the film’s writer (writers?) had actually solved a fair number of escape rooms before writing this one.

The plot: Minos Corporation is an evil company that lures players into deadly escape rooms for unexplained reasons. The two protagonists survived a previous game and are lured into a new one.

That’s it! Nothing much else to it! (Ok, there were two unnecessary twists, too. But mostly what I just described.) And that’s fine. The puzzles were worth my time.

What I really appreciated this time around was how the players used real logic to get past their blockers. At one point, the contestants start digging through piles of ledgers and pointing at random words and numbers and one of the others says something like “Guys, there are numbers everywhere. It’s not going to be a random number from one of these books.” And sure enough, they got on the right track shortly afterward.

At another point, a few characters notice at the same time that one feature of the room has 26 parts, likely corresponding to each letter of the alphabet. Another good observation, and one that’s very realistic for challenges like this!

I also appreciated how the film covered the idea of brute forcing a puzzle solution when you don’t have the answer. In real escape rooms, sometimes guessing ends up being your best option, and it was neat seeing this dilemma covered in film, as well.

The sets were cool. If not for the possibility of death, I could almost envy the players going through these games. The puzzles actually seemed challenging yet fair (except for a few points of deadly consequence). The super-detailed sets may not work in real life since there are way too many red herrings to get lost in, but with the characters quickly honing in on the right elements, it works.

I don’t know how many movies it’ll take for me to get bored of this theme, but the second film has won me over. As long as they can keep focused on cool puzzles and don’t get too ambitious trying to make me care about the broader plot, I’m in for a few more of these!

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