While some designers pursue technologies and new trends, others try to excel in the field of unconventional ideas and approaches. It is hard to tell whether this path is successful and could draw a larger audience, yet it still exists. That's what designers think. During the last month, we have been to two such rooms, impossible to rate using our common scale. This is not a typical room and not quite what any quest fan would like to see in a new room. Today, we decided to introduce a new section: "not rated". This section is where we are going to put rooms that just cannot be rated using our standard criteria. We hope these are not going to be too numerous. These rooms are, most of all, different, and there will definitely be someone who is going to appreciate these.
The Shawshank Redemption, an escape room by Exitkey, is based on the event of the cognominal motion picture, which, in turn, was adapted from Stephen King's novel "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption". It is the No. 1 position on IMDb's user-generated Top 250 movies list. When companies take a premade plot and build a room on the basis thereof, a customer usually expects emotions on par with those experienced after seeing the movie or reading the book. This room is no different: Andy escapes from the prison where he was doing time for a murder he did not commit. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Shawshank detention facility. After some time, he decides to make an escape attempt.
Your team starts off in Andy's prison cell. Each player is chained in a very unconventional manner, and this is how most of the game is going to be spent. The room is narrow; there is nothing but a toilet, a bunk, a bookshelf to make the prison term a little easier and a bureau with a chessboard. There is nothing special or bright in the interior, just bare walls and the ever-growing feeling that you definitely don't want to stay here. As the game progresses, you will get into some odd places, which cannot be praised for the beauty of interior or a special design. Decoration is one of the aspects we are unable to assess and praise this time. This is not a standard room, so beautiful interiors where it is nice to walk around, study and admire are not at the core here. The zest of the room is different…
Another point we cannot assess is the technology. Yes, there are conventional numeric locks here, an ancient item to be used in strict accordance with the manual and a task-related toggle switch. The game logics look appropriate for a quest room. Rating it, however, is of no use. The core of the event, if we could say so, is action and physical effort. Unlike most rooms, where you have to exercise your brain, this one is going to demand more of your body, with some occasional riddles requiring a little wits. Let's say, a labyrinth with bonus objectives.
We could not evaluate this room as we usually do. It's just different - based on physical effort and non-standard tasks. We cannot say we felt comfortable there. As to the general level, well, it's rather below average - well, at least it's lower than what the marker has been offering lately. If you like crawling and climbing, never mind the discomfort or don't care about any sophisticated interior, you might as well like it. It's just not exactly our cup of tea. Just keep some things in mind in advance:
1) Dress in sensible clothes
2) Get ready to get dirty
3) Physically impaired people and pregnant women are strongly discouraged from playing this game (stated in the rules)
4) Try to tune yourself in a different manner and do not expect any new technologies or a common quest environment.
The company has promised to open a second room very soon, and we do find the preview quite interesting. We'll be glad to see the implementation thereof and give it the credit that will be due. As of today, the Shawshank Redemption goes to our "Not Rated" section. It is definitely going to find its own visitor, who is going to be the one to deliver a verdict about the pleasure.