Disclaimer: This following content may contain some minor spoilers for this Escape Room, so read on with caution.
The Space Bus is a new escape room that was unveiled by EscapeSF a few months ago. It’s a high-tech room that takes place inside a school bus, that is retrofitted to look like the interior of a spaceship.
The “Escape Crew” that I’m a part of had a booking for the Space Bus this past Saturday. Here are the details of the booking:
- Location: San Francisco, CA
- Time: 60 minutes
- Players: 4-8 players
- Price: $155 minimum for room (up to 4 players); +$30 per additional player
- More info
A group of space cadets are in route to the Space Academy when the ship is damaged. The team needs to find out the way to switch to manual controls and safely make it to the original destination.
The Space Bus starts out by the intercom system informing you of the asteroid collision and the equipment onboard malfunctioning. This got my adrenaline pumping which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was hoping that the bus would rumble or something during the asteroid strike announcement, but that might be too much special effects.
Story Score: ★★★★★
It was clever of EscapeSF to have an escape room on a bus, especially a space-themed one. Once you board the bus and the door shuts, you literally feel like you’re inside a spaceship because of the decor.
The main area of the Space Bus is decked out with numerous computer screens, blinking buttons, and switches. As you start solving puzzles, there is an intercom system that gives you feedback. If all this doesn’t make you feel like you’re inside a spaceship, I’m not sure what will.
And you know what? The ambiance completely drew me into the Space Bus. I didn’t even look at the timer until we had ~20 minutes left. Now that’s what you call being fully engrossed!
Ambiance Score: ★★★★★
Puzzles & Clues
This room is not your typical escape room where you have to search for most of the clues before you start solving them. On the Space Bus, all the puzzles you need to solve are in plain view. This is a negative for me because I love the mystery of not knowing what clues or puzzles I’m going to find. It’s also less exciting because the room is basically what-you-see-is-what-you-get.
This leads to my next complaint: Since all of the clues are in front of your face, the puzzle-solving process felt linear. A couple times during the game, one or two of us had nothing to do because most of the puzzles were taken and we knew that there’s nothing to search for. This resulted in some of us just standing around doing nothing.
The puzzles themselves felt like they all belonged on a spaceship. My biggest peeve is when a puzzle or clue sticks out like a sore thumb because it doesn’t look like it belongs in the room. Thankfully, I didn’t encounter anything like that on the Space Bus.
The difficulty of the puzzles is perfect. We weren’t breezing through any of the puzzles nor did we feel like any of the puzzles were unsolvable without asking for hints. We may have gotten lucky with a couple of them, but overall, I think the difficulty is at the right level.
Puzzles & Clues Score: ★★☆☆☆
- Escaped? Yes!
- Completion Time: ~47 minutes
(Note: We were told we were technically the fastest group to complete the room. #ezgame)
EscapeSF did it again! They provided us with another great escape room that really sucks you into the story and setting. However, my gripe with the Space Bus is that it lacked a lot of the mystery aspect that escape rooms usually have. Also, the puzzles and clues felt linear, which resulted in some downtime during the game.
Overall, the Space Bus was an enjoyable escape room and we would definitely recommend it to our friends, but only if they have done the all the other EscapeSF rooms.
Final Score: ★★★★☆