The Montauk Project
A MyssTic Rooms Escape Room
Brooklyn, NYC ~ June 2022
The Experience & How it Works:
The Montauk Project is an escape room with a backstory: you’re told the story of the now-defunct Montauk Air Force Station and how a colleague has gone in with a much needed ID card and seems to have disappeared. Your job (with 1–7 companions): go in, brave the danger, and see if you can find and retrieve the ID card.
Why it’s Interesting, IMHO:
MyssTic rooms boasts a blend of “theatre and mystery.” Wondering how they brought in elements of theater was a compelling enough mystery to want to check it out.
Initial Impression & Critical Discussion:
While the experience’s description conjures a scenario that’s a bit creepy, the initial set of the experience is disarming. (I’ll leave it at that to avoid spoilers). Even though we’re not quite sure what we’re looking for, there’s a sense of what our eventual goal for the room is. There are enough items and subtle clues to be found that prompt the thought, “Okay, there’s something we should do with this…”
While the recommended minimum number of attendees for the experience is 3–4, our group was two and made up of one experienced escape room participant and one complete novice. What was nice — and rather impressive — is that both of us felt useful and challenged throughout. I can’t imagine that’s an easy balance to strike. Another rather successful element of the escape room is that there are certain challenges that require two people two work together — some require collaborative intention, while other instances of teamwork may — even must — happen by chance.
The clues and puzzles were varied and consistently clever and surprising, though never surprising in a jump-scare way, which was appreciated. For the most part the narrative was light; it was strongest in the backstory given at the start and in the final scene, where one of the more descriptive clues alludes to a story of something that’s happened in the past and is something that your team — nervously, in our case — aspires to carry out.
Structurally, one could say that the experience has a teaser, three acts and a tag. The first two scenes were more about solving the puzzles and less tied to the overall framing narrative. The puzzles made good use of objects appropriate to the set. And the experience’s theatricality is perhaps most on display in the set design, lighting, sound, and how the clues and reveals are thoughtfully integrated into the spaces themselves.
Experiential Viewpoint Expression (E.V.E.):
Embodied, 1st person visual, 1st person narrative, participant, mortal.
Who Should See This?
Anyone who loves escape rooms or is curious to try one for the first time.