Welcome witches and warlocks,
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Murder Co. escape room by Black Market Escape Rooms and thought I would offer up some thoughts for my fellow escape room enthusiasts. To best describe the story, I will use my own summary:
“We arrive at a high priced black market and get to watch as our chosen ‘artist’ murders a person before our eyes. It soon becomes clear; the company behind these games has no intention of letting us leave and plans to use us as the next victims. We have one hour to find our way out before the ‘artist’ returns to collect us.”
It is hard not to be impressed with the set design just from the waiting room. I mean, seriously, this space looks like something out of the gentlemen’s clubs of the early 1900’s with a fireplace and leather furniture to lounge on. This top notch design extended past the lobby into the experience itself with everything feeling very in theme. Heck, there was even a clever dummy that thanks to the design and lighting of the room my group mistook for a real person.
Speaking of the people, the actors in this were a lot of fun. The first character we met was our chosen ‘artist’ who made their scene incredibly memorable. We had the Maneater who pranced about their murder room and talked affectionately with us before performing a kill that seemed very in line with the character. As we moved further into the experience we met up with another gentleman who was just as memorable as the Maneater thanks to his frantic actions and witty quips. In a way, he also served as our guide because when we were lost he would try to guide us back onto track without giving anything away.
Looking at it now, the puzzles were not overly complex and people new to escape rooms are likely to get out without too much trouble. It does help that there is a guide of sorts to help us sort through the information or at least give us an idea of where we should start off. One of the cleverer puzzle tricks they pulled was making a lock that did not do a single thing so that we would focus our attention on the wrong place. While certainly not a new tactic, it is one that is not always used, but is always effective.
If I had to draw one complaint it would be that our party of eight just felt too large for some of the rooms/corridors. I felt like we were tripping over one another in the smaller rooms and I know I missed a thing or two happening because I just plain could not see due to being at the front or back of the group when the event occurred. Given that I love escape rooms and haunts, I was sad that I did not get to see at least one of the jump scares that a few of my other team members got to experience.
Speaking of scares, there were some jump scares in this that were effective. I counted three, including the one I missed, but there might have been more that my team did not mention. What is interesting is that I will admit that I thought this was going to be a fairly terrifying experience thanks to the setup, but it ended up being a bit more of a dark comedy once we met our ‘artist’. That is not to say that the idea itself is not creepy, it is, but more that this is more of a fun experience with some jump scares along the way.
All in all, I enjoyed my time spent at Murder Co. and I am curious how the other ‘artists’ perform their kills. The set design was lovely with some decent puzzles in between so that we did feel a certain sense of accomplishment when we found our way out. Fans of movies like Hostel (2005) or those who want something a little different from an escape room should give this a look.