May 11, 2019 – When it comes to escape rooms, I really dislike using the words “favorite” and “best.” Trying to rate rooms against each other is harder than comparing apples and oranges (apples are objectively better, by the way). But actions sometimes speak louder than words, and I will say this- Christina and I planned our trip to Denver around Rabbit Hole Recreation Services’ room #2, with literally nothing else planned on our trip. That should say something about what we thought of the first room, Ruins of the Mystic Temple.
For our return trip, we booked a late morning slot in Rabbit Hole’s second room, Paradox – The Incredible Time Machine. Our flight into Denver had landed at about 1AM (2AM in our home time zone), so even though our time slot was pushing noon, we were rushing just a little bit to get to our appointment. Also, shame on me for booking a hotel in Aurora, about 45 minutes from Rabbit Hole Recreation Services. It looked closer on the map!
Our game master Brian (easy for me to remember) got us started in Paradox quickly. The room was convincingly themed as a scientist’s study / laboratory. Just like with Ruins of the Mystic Temple, the environment was immaculately designed with no seams to disrupt the atmosphere.
One element of Paradox I really appreciated is how hands-on the environment was despite the high level of technology integrated into the room. All the puzzles had great, unique tactile elements. More and more escape rooms are using more and more elaborate technology, but it often seems to be forgotten how rewarding it is to physically interact with unique tools or to search a space high and low. Nearly every puzzle in Paradox weaves in both physical objects and electronic components, and it results in some very unique challenges.
On a similar token, Paradox does an excellent job of making every puzzle solved feel like a win. It may sound like a minor distinction, but there’s a big difference between solving a puzzle and having a light bulb turn on and solving a puzzle, getting the missing component for the light you’ve been looking for, and plugging it in so the light bulb turns on. Both of Rabbit Hole’s rooms excel in this regard, and it’s one of the reasons the rooms are so enjoyable.
The puzzles in Paradox vary in nature quite a bit, and it makes teamwork all the more valuable. There were a few puzzles where I was on the completely wrong track and Christina immediately saw the answer, and vice versa. A few puzzles required careful cooperation to get through. We enjoyed every single puzzle start to finish.
After solving the puzzles and activating the time machine, Christina and I learned a little more about Rabbit Hole Recreation Services’ upcoming third room, which will keep us on the watch for more cheap flights to Denver in the coming months. From the little hints we’ve gotten about the next room, Frost Base Z, we can’t wait to see how it turns out.
Rabbit Hole Recreation Services truly sets the bar when it comes to putting together the full escape room experience, from set design to puzzle design to overall immersion. Paradox proves that Ruins of the Mystic Temple was not a fluke and that these people are truly gifted at escape room design and implementation. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.
Also, a quick thanks to Kurt, one of the owners at Rabbit Hole Recreation Services, for suggesting some legitimately cool places for us to visit in the Denver area. We ended up visiting Natura Obscura, an artistic zen exploration exhibit featuring steampunk elements, on Kurt’s recommendation. I’m inspired to figure out similarly cool suggestions I can give to people when they come to Chicago.