Location: Charlotte, NC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 3-4)
Price: $30 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
A boy’s best friend is his mother.
A string of serial killings have been tracked back to a dilapidated cabin in the woods, and you, as BlackOut Agents, have been tasked with infiltrating the house, securing the name of the next victim, and escaping before the suspected murderer returns. There’s only one problem, not only is the killer on his way back, his house is likely haunted too.
This was my second visit to BlackOut, but my first time in their new location. They have a very comfortable new lobby that fits the overall theme of BlackOut very well. The staff is, as always, in character and ready to immerse you in their world from the moment you step in the front door. After getting settled and signing waivers, you’re given your briefing in a separate room, then blindfolded, and led to your mission. Every step of the process ensures the outside world disappears from the time you enter, until the time you (hopefully!) escape!
The briefing room and escape rooms being separate from the lobby allows for total immersion once the game begins, and is a very nice touch. The set design is very well done and the rooms are spacious enough to move around in, even with the maximum players in the room. Puzzles are mostly linear, but flow well into each other, and each is fairly well clued as to where they go. The actors in the room add to the story and drop small hints as you progress. The actors are fun to interact with and unobtrusive as well. All of the elements combine in this room to create a very creepy and horror based atmosphere.
One particular interaction is interesting, but mostly serves to drain time from the clock, which can feel frustrating during a timed event. (Update: After speaking with Blackout, they let us know that they give an extra 2-5 minutes to the clock for actor interactions, which they are making sure to include in their briefings, and we were originally unaware of.) The stricter linearity of the latter puzzles can limit the amount of people actively puzzling, though they allow for more interaction than most singular puzzles. There are a lot of random items in the room, which can lead to a messy experience for disorganized groups.
South End Psycho is a very well done room that not only takes its theme from horror, but actually feels scary at times. This can be a pro or a con depending on your tastes, but we definitely enjoyed a room that scared us at times. Puzzles were solid and intuitive, and BlackOut creates an experience that is hard to top, through their specific blend of theatrical and escape room elements. You can book your escape from the South End Psycho here!