Experience the BlackOut – Cell Block 704 (Review)

Location: Charlotte, NC

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $30 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

You either get busy escapin’ or get busy dyin’.

Theme:

A team of BlackOut Agents have been captured and locked up in Cell Block 704. It is up to your team to ensure they are extracted and the evidence against them secured. You’ve infiltrated the prison and have 60 minutes to get the evidence and break out!

First Impressions:

As previously stated in my review of South End Psycho, BlackOut goes all out with their presentation and immersion from the moment you step through the door. The entire opening briefing is woven into the experience expertly, and everyone is encouraged to work as a team from the start. After being blindfolded and handcuffed together, we were put in prison, and our race against the clock began.

High Points:

We were put in separate cells and had to work together passing items and clues between each ourselves in order to access the rest of the room. The flow of the room was a bit chaotic, but made sense between cells. The hint system is well done, and adds to the flow and immersion of the room rather than feeling like a random lifeline to the GM. There are enough puzzle lines to keep a full group occupied, and even though the room is dark, flashlights are plentiful, so the mood is well set without sacrificing our ability to work on the puzzles.

Low Points:

Our group of 4 was matched up with another group of 4, and the room felt very tight. BlackOut has since moved locations and expanded the size of their rooms, so this may no longer be an issue. One puzzle’s solution was dependent on an item already used for a previous puzzle and did not feel well clued. The one actor interaction seemed to drag along too long, stopping the action while our time ticked down. (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.) A late game puzzle involved a serious leap of logic none of us were able to make without help. Some elements of the room felt out of place, but were not too egregious.

Verdict:

Cell Block 704 is a good room that ties together the stories of BlackOut’s other rooms well. There are a couple of hiccups along the way, but the overall room is well put together and flows in a natural, if chaotic, way. A wide range of puzzles will keep groups occupied and entertained throughout the hour leading up to their escape! I would recommend doing BlackOut’s other two rooms first, in order to get the backstory, but this is not 100% necessary. Book your escape from the Cell Block here!

8/10 (Great)

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