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Monkey Mind Escape Rooms - "The Cursed Tomb"

Updated: Apr 12


LOCATION:  Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA

Photo above is property of Monkey Mind Escape Rooms

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


📝  ETR DECODER

  • 🔑 GAME: The Cursed Tomb

  • 📅 DATE PLAYED: August 17, 2023

  • 🎬 GENRE: Adventure

  • 🧠 DIFFICULTY (Based on 2 PPL): 6/10

  • 👥 TOTAL # OF PLAYERS: 2-8 ppl

  • 🕒 LENGTH OF TIME: 60 Mins

  • 💰 PRICE: $34/PP

  • ☎️ BOOKINGTYPE: Private

  • 🔓 ESCAPED/ COMPLETED?: Yes


📖 THE STORY

You are an intrepid explorer venturing into an Egyptian tomb said to be haunted by a pharaoh's curse. Disregarding the rumors you head inside… and immediately find yourself trapped. With just an hour left until you are buried alive with the pharaoh's mummy, you must venture deeper into the tomb, solving its puzzles in order to acquire the scarab of life and return it to the sacred sarcophagus. But beware! Not all is as it may first seem.

Video above is property of ESCAPETHEROOMers


🎯 HIT THE BULLSEYE

  • Atmosphere in this room is top-notch, with excellent lighting, props, special effects, and a fun surprise at the very beginning of the experience.

  • The puzzles are varied in their style and solutions, and are (mostly) satisfying to solve, especially the last puzzle. We just wish there were more of them.

🧩 MISSED THE MARK

  • By our count, there were exactly five puzzles in this room – six if you generously split the two halves of one bit into their own puzzles. That’s not even half the number we’ve come to expect in an escape room with an hour-long timer, so we were shocked when we completed the fifth puzzle and found that we were done.

  • All of the puzzles require clues from the same journal, so expect lots of time paging around and reading. This may be frustrating for large groups, as there isn’t much to explore in the space, despite its size.

  • One puzzle has a pretty sizable red herring written into its journal entry. There is a logical way to determine the correct answer, but it relies on a detail that’s very easy to miss in such a dark room. I’d say close to half the time we spent in this room was on this single puzzle alone.

🏹 TAKE A SHOT?

In most respects, “The Cursed Tomb” has everything it should need to be a successful escape room experience. Its puzzles are clever and largely satisfying to solve. It has a good story with strong sound design and special effects. Its decor is top of the line, oozing atmosphere with its detailed wall carvings and mood lighting. All of that is wonderful and in line with some of the best rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit… which is why it is absolutely baffling to me that this otherwise excellent room contains only five puzzles.


It took just 26 minutes for my team to complete The Cursed Tomb, making it the third fastest room we’ve ever completed (the others were both beginner rooms, with one specifically aimed at small children). This was despite the intermediate difficulty of its puzzles, and the fact that we were far from delivering our usual performance here, believing ourselves to be terribly far behind and burning two hints in an effort to catch up. So when the game’s narration told us we could leave, we almost didn’t believe it. But sure enough the game was over, and we hadn’t even hit the halfway mark on our timer, despite how much we struggled on one of the puzzles. In hindsight, frustrating challenges like finding puzzle pieces in a dark room and then stumbling over a big red herring baked into one of the clues seemed more like time-wasters to fill out an empty room rather than well thought-out puzzles that would be satisfying to solve.


My advice to the designers of this room is simply to add a lot more puzzles, and that’s not something I think would be too difficult to do based on the work that’s already been put into its design. After all, the tomb is very spacious, comprising three big rooms, the first of which has no puzzles whatsoever. Instead, the first room is more of a set-piece where the narrative kicks off before the group enters the tomb itself and the timer begins. If instead the group had to solve five or six puzzles to unlock the tomb (perhaps recovering important tools necessary for the expedition) and only then found themselves trapped inside, that would fill out some much-needed puzzle time while also making better use of a space that is so well decorated it’s a shame the group won’t spend much time at all in it there. Throw in a couple more small puzzles in the tomb itself, and I’m sure we’d end up with a room that’s great in all respects. Alternatively, the room could be run as is, but with only 30 minutes on the clock and a lower price point to match the shorter experience.


Based on what I’ve seen there, I am confident that the team at Monkey Mind Escape Room has the skills and know-how to shape The Cursed Tomb into a truly awesome escape room if they put in the effort to fill out the rest of the experience with more puzzles. However, in its current state, it’s hard to recommend this room to anyone, unless they’re only in it for the atmosphere and nothing else. If you’re in it for puzzles, however, I’d pass on this one for now. After all, any experienced team will find the game is over far too soon to satisfy.


ℹ️ ADDITIONAL INFO

  • Merchandise is available for purchase in the lobby

  • The lobby area has plenty of comfortable seating with small games, a foosball table, and a TV that was showing Indiana Jones when we visited.

  • While the room itself is largely handicap accessible, the building that Monkey Mind is located in may pose a challenge, as we had to climb stairs up to the correct floor. There was also a large step up in the middle of the lobby, which you may have to cross to get to your escape room.

  • Paid parking lots in the area

Photos above are property of ESCAPETHEROOMers

 

(If you do decide to try this game, give us a shoutout or tag us on social media so we know you heard it from "ESCAPETHEROOMers"!)


Disclosure: We thank Monkey Mind Escape Rooms for comping our tickets for this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, it does not impact our opinion on the review whatsoever.

 

Update: We also visited Monkey Mind Escape Rooms and played "The Cursed Tomb" and "The Stolen Diamond" in August 2023!!

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