Review: Special Ops – Mysterious Market (The Escape Game San Francisco)

Games Reviews

The Escape Game San Francisco opened its doors very recently, and there’s already a buzz going around that they just might be one of the best escape game companies in the Bay Area! It’s been a while since I’ve done a great escape room in San Francisco so I’ve been wanting to try one of the rooms from this company.

I’ve heard great things about the Special Ops: Mysterious Market from a few friends that have done the room. A free weekend finally opened up so I was able to book a timeslot.

  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Players: 2-8 players
  • Price: $41.99 per ticket. Extra tickets could potentially be booked by strangers.
  • More info

Story

You and your fellow field agents were sent to investigate the area’s local market. It’s late, it’s quiet… but something’s not quite right. Just as you are about to wrap up your inspection, you encounter a twist you never expected. Should you have seen this coming?

Special Ops: Mysterious Market stays true to the story. The room starts off in a bazaar-type area, and as you start discovering clues and solving puzzles, you uncover more and more of the “mystery.”

At no point do you feel like things were added to the room without thought. Everything you encounter in the room is relevant into the story, and you can tell a lot of thought was put into staying true to the theme.

Story Score: ★★★★★

Ambiance

If there was an award for “best room design,” I’d say the award would go to The Escape Game San Francisco, and an honorary mention would go to Palace Games. I was absolutely blown away by how realistic this room felt with respect to the theme. I felt completely immersed in the whole story because of the design. In fact, at certain points in the game, I felt like I was walking inside the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland. That’s how realistic it felt!

The technology used for the room was awesome! It’s definitely one of the more high-tech escape rooms. It’s not uncommon for rooms to use technology, but not many of them incorporate them well enough to provide a seamless experience. Props to The Escape Room SF for being able to do that!

Ambiance Score: ★★★★★

Puzzles & Clues

As mentioned before, the room stays true to the theme throughout the entire escape experience, and that includes the puzzles and clues. One of my biggest annoyances with escape rooms is when they get lazy with the clues. You know what I mean? Like a random crossword puzzle in a prison cell or a math problem in a playroom. Why would those types of clues be there in the first place?! Special Ops: Mysterious Market doesn’t have any of that non-sense, and I praise them for that.

In terms of difficulty, I felt it was the right level of difficulty for the level it advertised itself as. It’s probably not the best room for kids or novices, but it’s still possible to have fun.

The number of puzzles provided might be best for a group of 5-6 people. My group filled up the spots for the room, and we felt it would’ve been much more enjoyable if we were a smaller group. The room didn’t have much space so maneuvering around one another was difficult. There weren’t a lot of puzzles as well for 8 people to solve for the entire one hour so it’s probably best to not max out the spots. This isn’t a flaw of the room though, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Puzzles & Clues Score: ★★★★★

Conclusion

  • Escaped? Yes!
  • Completion Time: 46:13

This was the first room I completed for 2020, and I can’t imagine any room topping this experience. Is it the best escape room I’ve done? I’m not sure if it’ll top The Edison Room, but it’s definitely top 3 for me.

If you’re looking for a modern escape room that completely immerses you into the story with its use of technology and puzzles, you should definitely take a look at The Escape Room SF’s offerings. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

Final Score: ★★★★★

Bonus: After completing any room, you are given the opportunity to purchase a gift card for your next booking at 20% off! Also, reviewing them will get you a free pin!

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