Review criteria

Themed Nation takes pride in offering fair reviews that are meant to promote the escape room industry and give exposure to the facilities that have truly went above and beyond. Our Escape Room reviews give a rating that is based on the criteria below. Our goal is to always provide rooms with honest feedback and offer our readers recommendations on where we believe their experience would be best. Respectively, we follow the general criteria listed below to rate and rank the rooms we participate in. Should there ever be a concern about our rating or review we encourage facilities to contact us directly to make it right.

 
 

Theme

In our opinion the best possible aspect of an escape room is having a strong theme and story line. To help our readers understand what they can expect from the rooms we review and to assist owners in creating the best experience possible, we have outlined good and bad themes below:

Good Theme:

  • Consistent story line throughout the experience

  • Creative details and props that bring out all kinds of emotion

  • New and creative props not typically found in an escape room

  • Home made props that exhibit care versus “a lot of money spent”

  • A strong puzzle master that plays the part

  • A fun way to give clues that ties in with the theme

Bad Theme:

  • The use of “dollar store” props

  • Broken or damaged puzzles or props

  • A rude or disgruntled puzzle master

  • Use of technology that would not have been available in the time period that the room takes place in


Puzzles

The second aspect of a good escape room is an obvious one-the puzzles. To help our readers understand what they can expect from the rooms we review and to assist owners in creating the best experience possible, we have outlined good and bad puzzles below:

Good Puzzles:

  • Technology driven puzzles that fit well with the theme

  • Puzzles that require multiple participants to contribute to the answer

  • Reasonable puzzles that can be figured out by your average participant

  • Puzzles that require wit and observation versus physical or mental determination

  • Various types of locks that require different kinds of solutions (i.e.-not all “key” locks)

Bad Puzzles:

  • Off the shelf puzzles that are used by every escape room

  • Shelves and shelves of books and or reading material

  • Puzzles requiring extensive math or brain teasers that are unrealistic to solve without prior knowledge

  • Out of theme puzzles that don’t make sense to the story line

  • Puzzles that don’t have an “out”-Escape rooms should always have a way around any puzzle if the team chooses to skip it


Overall

In the overall section of our reviews we attempt to define the aspects of an escape room that are not covered by themes and puzzles. There are some rooms that we walk into and know they are going to be a hit before we ever step foot inside. We like to give a higher score to rooms that exemplify creativity and aren’t just in the industry to “make a quick dollar.” Seen below are some examples of items we would consider in the overall score of a room:

Good Overall:

  • Booking procedure and creativity upon arrival

  • Location of the facility and how it might tie in with the story line (Using local history to create a story)

  • Hospitality of the staff and owners

  • Upkeep of the facility

  • Passion of the owners to push the industry and not just turn a profit

Bad Overall:

  • Forcing participants to play with individuals they do not know

  • Complaints against other facilities (We’re all in this together!)

  • Puzzle Master not paying attention to the game or participants

  • Adhering too seriously to game start times or time limits