Everything you thought you knew about escape review websites is wrong.
For a newcomer on the block, Escape Authority is growing at a rapid pace. First of all, gone is the simplistic WordPress template of yesterday; this site was created by a professional. It maintains a consistent design language throughout, and even includes hover animations on many icons.
The menu: full immersion
Not only is there the review blog, but also a well-populated forum and some invaluable articles (with more just begging to be written). But herein lies Escape Authority’s first misstep: An article entitled ‘Our Rating System’. Riddle me this: Do you know what the graphic below means?
Of course you don’t! And guess what? This keys-in-keyholes image is found in every single one of Escape Authority’s reviews, and much to the reader’s chagrin, it represents the most crucial part of the review: the rating. Most readers (myself included) do not appreciate when outside knowledge is required to progress. I actually had to leave the review page to find the explanatory article, which was in a totally different section of the site. Based on that article, I’ve mocked up what I believe to be a much more succinct graphic, which should appear within every review:
You may be thinking, “Why such low scores for the visual pleasantness of icons?” After finally understanding what these icons represented after digging around the site, I too could appreciate their high production value and acknowledge that they’re very well-themed, but Escape Authority really didn’t bring the icons up to the level they needed to be. Do the keys turn? If not, why? Are they jammed? Are the correct keys in the correct locks? They all look exactly the same, so it’s hard to tell! It takes the reader out of the review and they are forced to compensate for the writer’s laziness by having to imagine how the keys should function. Again, I’ve mocked up what I believe to be a more intuitive graphic:
Now I’ve been hard on Escape Authority so far, but it’s not all bad. The actual review content is where the talent shines through.
Hold the phone… we’ll get to the review, but not before one last hurdle. Yes, the review graphic uses the glossy (albeit confusing and static) icons from earlier, but what’s this? A 6th key-in-keyhole drawn on ruled paper and taped on with Scotch tape? Major deduction for production value here, but I’m also left wondering: where does it end? Will I come across a 7th key drawn with a Sharpie onto white duct tape?
Onto the review. Escape Authority certainly impresses me with the intro hook:
“Take everything you thought you knew about escape rooms and smash it to pieces.”
I’ll tell you honestly; I thought I knew a lot about escape rooms, but this sentence violently challenged what I thought I knew about myself and forced me to read on.
And reading on was quite easy because of the font choice. Remember Microsoft Word pre-2007? It used Times New Roman for a reason. It’s a serif font, and serifs really help the reader stay on track from one line to the next. Although this isn’t Times New Roman, the nostalgia still kicked in, and I was instantly transported back to a time when font readability took precedence over the modern aesthetic. Additionally, Escape Authority has chosen an aged, yellow colour, which adds to the suggestion that he’s channeling times past. Although one could look at the sci-fi futuristic headings and think they’re not in line with the theme, think again! Every typographic choice here paints a picture of something so large in scope and time that I can feel my body molecules vibrating with confused excitement.
The writing style gets 4 solid Bookeo logos. There’s a great mix of words and sentences and I knew exactly what they meant.
The review covers just about everything I could want to know about this escape room, without spoiling a thing. I was so ready for a strong finish, until I noticed a problem. The reviewer describes the players’ roles, and finishes off by mentioning that, “The Detective acts as the intermediary, while also solving his own puzzles.” That’s right. Can you spot it? It’s 2016, people, and yet somehow the Detective solves HIS puzzles. The anti-feminist and probably hetero-normative stance taken here frankly shocks and appalls me, so much so that I may not be reading any more of Escape Authority’s reviews.
Thanks, and happy escape review reading!
Escape Authority can be found here: