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March 27, 2018

North Valley Escape Room: Escape From Alcatraz & The Great Outdoors (Anthem, AZ)

One of Best Escape Room Locations in the Phoenix area!
North Valley Escape Rooms is located 33 miles north of downtown Phoenix in the city of Anthem. This was the first place that we visited on our trip to Phoenix and weren't quite sure what to expect given it was pretty far out in a little town of 30,000 people. When we entered the establishment, we were greeted by three employees who were energetic and friendly, a perfect way to start an escape room!

There were five games at this location and we were able to play two of them,"Escape From Alcatraz" and "The Great Outdoors". We have played a good number of prison/Alcatraz types of rooms so it generally takes something different for us to get excited but there was enough buzz from other enthusiasts for us to book the room. We also hadn't played an outdoorsy themed game so it was nice to mix things up. Although we didn't get to play their newest game, "The Legend Of The 7th Stone", we took a peek at their set which was beautiful and seemed to have a good mix of tech integration. From their site:

Escape From Alcatraz
"Get prepared for the ultimate in escape room experiences! With almost 2000 square feet of puzzles and clues, Escape from Alcatraz is certain to WOW and amaze even the most experienced escape room enthusiasts. What could be better? How about 75 minutes to complete!

Your crimes have brought you to The Rock to serve your time. A life sentence in this dark hole is not an option. Escape is your only choice. Do you have what it takes to escape The Rock?

The Great Outdoors
Your all-inclusive camping trip at Fall Mountain Campground is confirmed! No need to pack your camping gear... the Fall Mountain Campground is all inclusive. When tragedy strikes, will you have what it takes to escape? Survive the trip and live to tell the tale!

Puzzles, Technology & Set Design

Escape From Alcatraz: This 75-minute game starts off with split teams and one thing that you'll immediately notice is how HUGE this nicely created set is. The cells that you start off in are spacious and they aren't exaggerating when they say it's 2,000 sq ft big. A fellow raucous prisoner (actor) starts off in one of the cells nearby and you'll see that he's quite the violent criminal. The prisoner was one of the best elements in the game for me and our team enjoyed the role that he played for us. The prison break felt more "authentic" than most of the other prison rooms we've played and the fun doesn't stop there. The jail feel and the vastness of the physical space is impressive. We've been to the real Alcatraz twice and this was the closest interpretation of the real thing we've seen in a game.

The puzzles were of the tangible sort so if you prefer these types of puzzles you should have a good time. Overall, the mostly linear puzzles themselves were ok but there were a few that involved guesswork. As the game progressed, the types of puzzles you come upon become similar in nature to ones that you have seen.

The Great Outdoors: This room was the first one that opened a few years back and has been updated to be more modern. The decor transitions from a Cabin to the great outdoors and while it started off pretty ordinary, the outdoors part was very well done. The special effects used in the second half of the game helped enhance the atmosphere and were simple yet effective.

This room was padlock heavy and given it's age, it made sense. There were some eureka moments that will have you feeling great once you've figured it out. While the room felt linear, there was enough parallelism for our team of five to be busy most of the time.

Memorable Moments 

Escape From Alcatraz: The amazing set and fun actor were definitive highlights of this escape room

The Great Outdoors: The simple, yet effective effects towards the end of the game were unique and at times hilarious, depending who you ask :)

Room For Improvement

The set designs for both these rooms were great and the puzzles for the most part were fine. A few tweaks to some of the less thematic puzzles and to some of the arbitrary puzzle solutions which seemed out of place would make these games close to perfect.

The Great Outdoors did have one puzzle that required outside knowledge (I would assume non-Americans would not be able to solve it) so that had us guessing if we had the right answer.

Overall Thoughts

Both these rooms were solid and on the top of our list for the Greater Phoenix area. We highly recommend visiting North Valley Escape Room if you are ever in the area.

  • Set design: Amazing
  • Difficulty: Medium-Hard
  • Price: $24.95-29.95/person
  • Number of players: 10 max, (we recommend 4-5), public
  • Duration: Escape From Alcatraz 70 minutes, The Great Outdoors 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: Escape From Alcatraz ★★★★½, The Great Outdoors ★★★★
See their website here: http://www.northvalleyescaperoom.com

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