ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you enjoy getting a little physical or tornadoes fascinate you.
Avoid if… you’ve experienced one in real life.
Trap Door Escape:
Address: 34 A Speedwell Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 973-971-9800
The Room – F5 Tornado:
Description (from the company website): A tornado is quickly approaching! Can your team make it to the barn in time to ride out this epic storm? You will have to crawl, climb, push, pull, and of course, think your way through this obstacle course escape experience.
IMPORTANT: F5 is a physical game! This experience involves obstacles and physical activity. Players should be able to climb over and crawl through obstacles, as well as crawl on the ground (with the help of teammates!).
Difficulty (1-10): N/A
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Party Size: Up to 10
Staging Area: The storefront is on a main street in Morristown; there’s plenty of space to spread out and relax (there’s a coupla couches).
Metro Access/Parking: It’s in NJ; drive or Lyft/Uber.
This is the video I took before we entered the room:
This is the video I took just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: You’re in a…field. There’s wind. And a barn. I’m saying literally 0 more about it.
Understanding of the Mission: There’s a twister coming and you need to find a safe place to hide. Break into the barn, then into the storm cellar and wait it out.
Did We Escape: Yep
Time Remaining: 13:28 (This would have been like 30 had we not struggled with one puzzle…you’ll know what I’m talking about when you keep reading.)
Our Suggested Party Size: I think 6 is pretty perfect here, though you could definitely do it with 4 skilled escapers.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Karyn, Valerie, Kim, Amanda, and Mike
Worth the time and money? HELL YES
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- Horseshoe Tavern – we went here between rooms. Food was good; service…not so much. :/
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|It was a long, boring day of doing nothing that I was having so I started searching for escape rooms around where my parents live. This room caught my eye because it said it was an obstacle course. And I definitely love me a good obstacle course. I sent an email to some friends in the area and said ‘hey, anyone want to do an escape room/obstacle course with me next time I’m in town?’ We rejoiced and booked our time with the F5.
Additionally, I’ve previously posted an interview with Frank, one of the owners of Trap Door Escape, so check it out.
|Out in the countryside, tornadoes are a somewhat common site. However, this one was getting larger, and closer, and moving faster the longer you kept it in your sights. This posed a unique problem for you, as you have really no way of getting out of its path. The only thing you can do is try to get into the storm cellar underneath your barn, so that’s where you and your friends were heading.
|Working as fast as you can, but being safe at the same time, you needed to get into the storm cellar of the nearby barn. While that sounds like a simple task, it proved to be much harder than I (we) expected. (Essentially, though, it was the following: Get. The fuck. To safety.)
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|As I said before, this one was a unique experience as that it is billed as being an obstacle course where you are escaping a tornado. I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of that but we signed up anyway because it sounded intriguing (read: AWESOME). What we got was a lesson in set design and how to basically integrate puzzles into an obstacle course.
Let me say that parts of it were, and parts of it were not, an obstacle course. Yes, there were your typical combination locks. And padlocks. You also had to break into a barn somehow, so there was that. There were also logic puzzles, puzzles of mental capacity and physical dexterity, without giving away too much.
All in all, nothing was repeated (even between rooms as we ended up doing a second room after lunch) and the puzzles were well thought out.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|There were only one or two puzzles, maybe I should call them tasks, that I would say threw us for any sort of a loop. The manual dexterity puzzle I mentioned, took entirely way too long; I believe at some point everyone in the group took a stab at it. (Much like the puzzle in DaVinci that Mike spent over 20 minutes working on.) Instructions were even provided! That did not make it any easier, however. *sadface*
The remaining puzzles were mostly keys and combinations, but considering we were in a barn at this point, shrug. One of my favorite things, however, was somewhat hidden in plain sight, and kind of required some brute force, literally. (It also took me too long to figure out. RAWRRRRR!!!)
|First let me say that Trapdoor Escape really went out of their way to make you feel like you were in a <BLANK> running away from a tornado that was coming from way out in the distance. I cannot emphasize that enough. I won’t say anymore about the set of this escape room because I really don’t want to give it away and I really think you need to see it for yourself (hence the blank). That said, I did give Frank a couple of ideas on how to make that better when we had a chat after the room was done.
That all said and done, the fact that I had to go through what I had to go through to get to the barn and get down into the storm cellar of said barn really made this attraction unique. I have neither attempted to escape nor even seen another room that comes close to setting this sort of environment for you. (I just wish the sense of urgency was more apparent; that’s what I pointed him towards in our chat.)
And as you’re progressing from the start to the barn then to the cellar, what you find are things you would normally expect to find while on a farm. Nothing seemed out of place with the exception of maybe one thing inside the barn, but overall the entire room itself fit the bill I would say damn near perfectly. And as such, a damn near perfect rating.
|When I say this was an obstacle course, they mostly weren’t kidding. There were some parts that I had to climb over and crawl under. That was really the concept that drew me to this room. I had a ton of fun in here, and seeing my sister bust her ass dropping into the cellar was probably the funniest thing I’ve seen that weekend. SPOILER ALERT Yes, to successfully “Escape” this room, you had to physically drop into the storm cellar.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|I wouldn’t necessarily say we specifically had a Game Master for this Escape. There was a prop that was used, not unlike a walkie-talkie, almost, but everything you needed to know was broadcast. It’s a nice touch to the aesthetic of the room so I don’t want to tell you *exactly* what it is.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I don’t necessarily recall getting any clues, so I will just leave this alone..|
|I’m giving one balled fist to this rating for the sole fact that there was a key that we could not find for what seemed like forever. It was the one I mentioned having to brute-force, but that was to find the key not to use it. I think that’s enough of a spoiler in itself.
Rating: ? 1/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.3/10
Final Thought: Ok, so maybe ‘obstacle course’ was a bit of a misnomer here, but I understand why they call it one. There’s a few things that everyone must absolutely traverse, but at some point you are able to bypass that stuff to backtrack. The overall aesthetic, however, is phenomenal. For that alone I highly recommend it to people in the area.