Malfunction at Lock Chicago


Played October 2016
Evanston, IL

60 minutes
1-5 players
$29.95 USD/person

Lock Chicago
1601 Sherman Ave - Suite 215, Evanston, IL

RATING: 6 / 10

Clues allowed: 0
Did we beat it?
Technically, yes. In our hearts, no.


Malfunction is different from most escape rooms in that the objective isn’t to escape in 60 minutes, but to find as many of the life-saving cores hidden throughout the room to keep you and your Martian space team alive. So you can “win” by finding seven cores or really win by finding all nine. The catch? Two of the puzzles only allow one attempt, so if you fail them, you permanently lose out on those cores. This concept is cool because it gives you the sensation of high stakes, without ending the game if you make a critical mistake along the way.

The Malfunction room is good for mid- to advanced level players. It uses primarily logic and visual puzzles to help players find numerical codes to padlocks and lock boxes; but no major skills-based challenges. The game designers were thoughtful and creative with how they presented the puzzles, so it felt like a very different experience than most rooms. Clues were mostly sequential, with a few items presented before you could use them. The most unique aspect to this room was a music puzzle, which is unlike anything we’d seen before. There were also challenges that included lead balls, gears, and decoders – so they get bonus points for the variety of elements used in the room!

We found seven cores, but didn’t end up finding all nine in time because we got tripped up on a puzzle at the end. We kept entering a code incorrectly and locking ourselves out of a lock box. The boxes in this room are timed, so after two or three failed attempts, you’re locked out for a couple minutes. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’ve double checked your code and only enter codes in the right box – it’s fairly obvious to know which ones go with which clues.

The ambiance in the room was nice, with outer space music playing and planets on the wall. Alex, our game master was really relatable and fun; and he even let us solve the puzzle that stumped us for pride’s sake after the time was up. :)

Lock Chicago is a great live adventure game with two strong rooms. They're expanding in 2017 and we hope to be invited back to try their next new rooms before they debut!

Insider tip: if you like Lock Chicago on Facebook, they'll give you an extra 5 minutes on your room. We needed it.

-- Melissa