Location: Charlotte, NC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 3-4)
Price: $30 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Recently, the Agency has discovered a plot to unleash a zombification virus onto Charlotte by a brilliant scientist’s insane lab assistant, and is sending your team of BlackOut Agents into the field to find the cure he was working on! The data was hidden away before his assistant could get to it, but the lab is currently under high security, and could possibly be home to undead creatures. It is up to you to figure out the clues left behind, and retrieve the data before the virus is let loose on the city, but stay on your toes, as time isn’t the only enemy working against you!
Per usual, BlackOut’s theatrical approach brings you into the story long before you step into the room, joining a dim but comfortable lobby with a staff that remains in character throughout your experience. The briefing and transportation to your assignment are all expertly done, and do a great deal to immerse you into their world.
Actor interactions are well timed and intense, allowing for a couple different ranges in emotion and excitement. Puzzles lead well into each other, and cluing is specific enough to allow the flow to work cohesively, if not perfectly. The theatrics push the story forward well, and add a level of pressure to the experience.
Of the three experiences that BlackOut has to offer, Trade Street Epidemic is the most basic. The décor is very banal overall and puzzling doesn’t quite rise to the level of South End Psycho and Cell Block 704. Puzzles are average and serviceable, but do little to excite, especially for seasoned escapists. One interaction feels like it has become overdone and highly predictable for the theme, and the execution does little to justify its addition. Several lock types show up multiple times, so it isn’t always clear what goes where.
While an alright room, Trade Street Epidemic feels like just another zombie themed room in an industry that’s already flooded with zombies. While some take the theme to new heights, like Undead Outbreak, this one feels like it is just barely above average, which is disappointing due to BlackOut’s track record for stellar theatrical experiences. This one will appeal more to beginners who haven’t yet become veterans in the fight against zombies, and unless you’re finishing up your quest for a plaque on BlackOut’s Agent wall, I’d say enthusiasts can safely skip this one. You can book your mission here!