In for the kill: Terrifying escape room comes to Sheepshead Bay • Brooklyn Paper

In for the kill: Terrifying escape room comes to Sheepshead Bay

Body horror: Element Quest in Sheepshead Bay invites people to play its horror-themed escape room “The Taken,” if they dare.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

Escape from Sheepshead Bay!

A new escape room in Sheepshead Bay is sending people scrambling against the clock to find clues in its gruesome, fake blood–spattered space. The owner of Element Quest, the first escape room in the southern part of the borough, hopes it will provide an exciting new entertainment option for people in the nabe.

“There’s nothing really for this type of entertainment here, so I thought this would be the perfect place,” said Bryan Sardinha, who lives in Sheepshead Bay. “It gives people more to do besides shopping and food.”

Escape rooms are a type of physical adventure game, in which groups of people are locked in a room, generally with some sort of exotic theme, and must work together to solve a series of puzzles and riddles in order to escape before time runs out. Common themes include medieval dungeons, Victorian parlors, and mad scientist’s laboratories. Element Quest, which opened last November, has just one escape room for now: “The Taken,” a horror-based room that simulates being captured by a “Saw”-esque serial killer. The scary theme makes for an exciting room, said Sardinha.

“Escape rooms are very immersive. Some people enjoy the thrill of the scare and the surprise,” he said.

Element Quest plans to open its second escape room, which will have a “Jumanji” theme, within a few weeks. Sardinha said the new space, loosely based on the book and film about kids transported to an exotic jungle, will make players forget that they are in Brooklyn.

“It’ll give a feel that you’re in a forest and don’t know you’re in a building,” he said. “I like to create an immersion experience along with the puzzles.”

Chamber of horror: Element Quest’s owner wanted to create an immersive escape room experience by replicating a serial killer’s cell.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

Sardinha began playing escape rooms four years ago, and his passion for them has taken him to the Netherlands, China, and Russia. Sardinha said he was particularly inspired by the elaborate scenarios of the Russian escape rooms.

“They have more storylines and puzzles in an immersive set,” he said. “Russian escape rooms are theatrical.”

Business started slowly, said Sardinha, but it has picked up as he has done more marketing and spread the word.

One escape room enthusiast, who made the schlep all the way from the Bronx to Sheepshead Bay in order to tackle the “The Taken” experience, had warm words about Element Quest. C.J. Smith and his friends felt it had the elements of a solid, scary escape room.

“There was a nice spooky feel, and I kinda felt like something was going to pop out randomly at any point — at some point something did,” he said. “I could hear a startled scream through the wall!”

Element Quest [1311 Kings Hwy., second floor, between E. 13th and 14th streets in Sheepshead Bay, (347) 729–0550, www.element-quest.com]. $30.

Reach reporter Adam Lucente at alucente@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Lucente.
Welcome to the jungle: Element Quest’s next escape room will have a “Jumanji” theme.
Photo by Zoe Freilich

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