Rise of the Mad Pharaoh – Hourglass Escapes (Review)

The star of the show is the life-size high-tech sarcophagus in the middle of the room.

Story and Background

Some of the decor surrounding the sarcophagus.

The plot centers around Dr. Carter and his discovery of the ancient Mad Pharaoh Ah-Ramen Twostep’s tomb. Dr. Carter is stuck in the tomb while you, as a group of adventurers, are tasked with unlocking the sarcophagus back in his office.

Here is the official story from the website (summarized)

While out on a dig for the ancient sarcophagus of the mad Pharaoh Ah-Ramen-Twostep, Dr. Jebidiah Carter, a world renown archaeologist, tired and worn from the hot Egyptian sun, packed up his tools for the day… Suddenly a huge boulder, slowly started to roll towards the entrance….

With time and oxygen whittling away, Dr. Carter, quickly found his radio, “Quickly! Send all of my crates of artifacts and fossils back to my Seattle office, hurry!” he shouted to his assistants. His next call was to you! Can you and your team help him out of this dark and spirit infested chamber?

Quick facts:

  • Theme: Egyptian
  • Good for beginners: Yes!
  • Play with strangers: Potentially, if you don’t buy out all of the tickets in your slot.
  • Location: 1600 Dexter Ave North, Seattle, WA, 98126 (Westlake)
  • Players: 5-9 (we recommend 5-6). Fewer than 5 is possible, but 5+ is recommended to get the full experience.
  • Price$30 per person
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Overall Rating: ★★★★★
  • Booking: http://www.hourglassescapes.com/

Highlights

rise_mad_pharoah_hourglass_escapesHourglass Escapes
  • Build Quality – The Sarcophagus itself was a well-built, solid contraption that came with a bunch of solid props that we were quite impressed by. The props were all very tactile and robust and we could feel the level of effort that went into its construction.
  • The Sarcophagus’s Tech – The puzzles in the room all led to a new way to interact with the tech in the sarcophagus. The interactions with the sarcophagus were extremely satisfying, with automatic reveals coupled with audio cues that lead to lots of fun surprises. The high-tech sarcophagus generally leads to nearly no traditional “locks” in this game. Instead, you will be inputting your answers by triggering events on the Sarcophagus.
  • Audio and Video – Dr. Carter will be talking to you via video and audio-link via the TV in the room, via a fairly well produced video (for an escape room). There are various audio surprises in the room as well (some involving the sarcophagus itself), which are fun and help make the sarcophagus almost seem “alive”. The video component also helps tie the game together into a satisfying conclusion.
  • Themed Puzzles – The puzzles were delightfully Egyptian themed. While you definitely don’t need to know Egyptian mythology to have fun in this room, some knowledge (especially of the names of various Gods and Goddesses) can help you better understand the theme of some of the puzzles. The puzzles are solid and fair, with plenty of clues if you need them (on the character tags given at the beginning).

Shortcomings

The office setting of the game is fairly ordinary compared to the excitement that goes on in the Sarcophagus and in the video. While there is some nice decor in the form of nice “artifacts”, the surroundings of the sarcophagus are mostly there to provide some decor and some flat work surfaces for the team.

This is partially explained because Rise of the Mad Pharaoh is also available as a portable game, so the office setting of the game is not particularly necessary for the game to operate.

Much of the drama in the game happens via the video link where you see the peril of Dr. Carter. There is a bit of wall between the drama that happens on screen and the drama that happens in the room.

The “bonus puzzle” that Hourglass Escapes has at the end after escaping is underwhelming given the strength of the rest of the puzzles.

Tips

While Hourglass escapes will let you play with less than 5 people, you get the full effect of one of the features of the sarcophagus with at least 5 people. We recommend a team size between 5-6 so that the room and working surfaces won’t become overly crowded.

Overall Recommendation ★★★★★

Rise of the Mad Pharaoh is a ton of fun for both escape room beginners and veterans alike. The Sarcophagus and all of its Egyptian-themed puzzles are a true delight and this is worth a trip just to be able to interact with it.

Rise of the Mad Pharaoh is excellent for teams that want a high-tech game with a bunch of well-themed puzzles. The story is fun and takes place through the video interludes and from your introduction with your game master. There’s a clear progression in the game as you unlock the sarcophagus. The ending is extremely satisfying.

This also made it into our recommendations for the The 10 Best Escape Rooms in Seattle!

Book your tickets at http://www.hourglassescapes.com/ and let your host know that EscapeRoomTips.com sent you!

 


Full disclosure: Hourglass Escapes comped our tickets for this event.

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