On a recent trip to Dallas, I only had time to play at one location and landed on "The Perfect Escape" based on some enthusiast recommendations. I played two rooms with a few new faces who were also first timers and they turned out to be cool teammates! Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant was The Perfect Escape's top room and O'Bannion's Safe was their first endeavor. From their website:
"Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant
The kitchen is buzzing! Celebrity chef Mitchell Nom is coming tonight to film and episode of his famous Food Escapes TV show and review Mr. Wong’s famous dumplings on camera. But Mr. Wong had a family emergency and had to quickly fly back to China.
After years of learning under Mr. Wong, it’s now up to you and your co-workers to make the perfect dumplings and save Mr. Wong’s chances of winning the coveted Mitchell N Star!
We’ve lost contact with several agents trying to put away known local thug Franky “Sawed-Off” O’Bannion. Our informant has tipped us off that a large amount of evidence that could put O’Bannion behind bars for good is being held in a safe nearby. The issue? The safe is located in one of O’Bannion’s illegal storefronts that is participating in money laundering. Travel back to the 1920’s in this escape room experience! Find the clues to crack the code, open the safe, and put O’Bannion away before his goons come snooping."
Set Design, Technology & PuzzlesMr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant
At first I thought the set design was rather basic, but then I thought "this is exactly what a Mom and Pop Chinese restaurant looks like!". It looked like the real deal because of one good reason: The creator's parents actually owned a restaurant and the equipment was repurposed for this escape room. The dining area and the kitchen felt genuine and it was quite an impressive feat for a couple of people to build out on their own. There is always a hint of charm when you enter a room that has been crafted by someone with passion and in this case, their actual childhood surroundings.
The puzzles were varied and were for the most part thematic throughout the experience. The game served up a menu of puzzles that often had some funny nods to Chinese restaurants. The fun heated up as we entered the kitchen with quite a few challenging puzzles. There were some elements that could be tricky to solve if a team doesn't stumble upon some hints that were cleverly hidden.
This game starts off in a barber's shop with some standard fare puzzling. Similarly to Wong's Chinese Restaurant, the second part of the game built up to a more unique scenery. The physical footprint of both games were large and unexpected which is always a pleasure. There are some cool elements that were mixed into the finale that made for a good time!
Memorable MomentsWalking into a Chinese Restaurant and seeing the...oops no spoilers. :) O'Bannion's Safe had a great transition between acts.
Room For ImprovementFor Mr. Wong's, there were a few puzzles that seemed to rely on unguided searching, which is always tricky because you don't know if you are missing something or if you already have everything you need. O'Bannion's had a lot of padlocks but it was understandable for a older room.
Overall ThoughtsIf you are in the Dallas area, the Perfect Escape will definitely keep you entertained and wanting to come back for more. If you have time for only one location, you should try out Mr. Wong's Chinese Restaurant and O'Bannions Safe!
- Set design: Good
- Difficulty: Medium
- Price: $30/person, public
- Number of players: up to 8-10 (recommend 4)
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Overall Rating: ★★★★½
Disclosure: The Perfect Escape graciously comped these games