Location: Charlotte, NC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 3-4)
Price: $25 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Spy vs. Spy
As top trainees of a shadowy government agency, you are expected to be the best of the best, and your mission today will test whether you become a full fledged spy, or return to desk jockeying for the CIA. You’ll be given a series of tasks to test each area of competency, but if you cannot finish them within 60 minutes, you will fail. In order to raise the already high stakes, another group of trainees will be placed in an identical test, and you will be expected to finish before them for top honors! Will you be able to complete your mission and earn bragging rights over the other team, or will you crack under pressure?
This was my first run through a competitive room, and though I am confident in my team’s abilities, I still felt the extra pressure of going head to head against another team. In fact, we didn’t meet them until we were lined up at the two red and blue doors, minutes away from our face off! An excellent video intro played to give us our mission and the stakes, and we jumped into action as the clock started, spurred on by the thrill of competition!
As previously stated, the competition aspect of the room gives it that extra kick of adrenaline, even though we were playing against strangers. I would imagine with other enthusiast friends, the pressure would’ve been greater! Some highly original interactions and puzzles were very exciting to complete and puzzle through, and the room ran a gamut of puzzle types to keep things fresh. Though sparse, the set changed based on where we were in the game, and added new obstacles, mysteries, and clues as we went. Immersion was well done, as we felt the tension of being tested, (in a good way!) throughout the experience.
The room is highly linear, so even with the small maximum of 6 players, there isn’t always enough to do to keep the whole group engaged. Some fuzzy logic during a couple of the tests, as well as a few clues that were extremely well hidden, caused the flow to break down fairly hard. The room itself is nowhere near as beautiful as some of Exit Strategy’s other offerings, though it does fit “Government Training Facility” pretty well, so it’s a small thing.
As Charlotte’s first Competition based room, Spy Trainer fits the bill for an exciting race against your friends. Several blemishes keep it from being as amazing as it could be, but for the first room of its type in the area, it’s a good jumping off point. Beginners and enthusiasts alike will enjoy testing their mettle against friends, and I highly recommend Spy Trainer for a large group that wants to do a room, but doesn’t want to have too many cooks in the kitchen. You can book your final exam here!