Port City Escape – Nuclear Countdown (Review)
Location: Wilmington, NC
Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-5)
Price: $26 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
We work together this time, comrade!
It’s the middle of the Cold War and tensions are high on both sides. Luckily, however, mutually assured destruction is keeping anyone from making any rash decisions, and a razor thin détente is holding on. The posturing and fear, however, has sparked one man to take control of the nuclear launch codes and he has threatened to let them fire in one hour unless the warring nations work together to stop them!
After Blackbeard’s Escape, we were excited to see what Port City would do with another historically ripe theme. The Cold War is definitely an interesting point to explore, and escape rooms are a great way to add a little historical education while having fun, as seen in rooms like Ripper – Solve the Mystery!
Some historical props and pieces to puzzles were interesting to see and examine, even if they were not 100% able to be interacted with. There were a few puzzles were fairly interactive and supplied multiple step conundrums to solve, which led to an enjoyable puzzle thread near the end. Cluing was direct, allowing us to generally know what we needed to do next.
The story was a little convoluted, and as it evolved within the room, it made less and less sense to us, as the motivations of our bad guy became weirdly conflicting. The room was quite a bit sparser and felt, on the whole, a lot emptier than others we did at Port City. Puzzle props were not as high quality as in the other two rooms, and felt overall like a step down from their Blackbeard room. Puzzles came fast and furious in a non-linear fashion, but weren’t extremely exciting to us, mostly feeling banal at best, and frustratingly obtuse at worst. Set design did little to catch the eye, which was a huge departure from Port City’s other rooms, which were very immersive. Though many props were theme appropriate, the way many were presented felt sterile and non-interactive. Afterwards multiple teammates lamented that they did not feel very engaged throughout.
Nuclear Countdown was surprisingly average compared to Port City’s other escape experiences. The theme itself is full of potential, but overall, the game doesn’t rise to it. I definitely recommend trying out the other rooms here, but this one will need some work to become an adventure that truly stands out from the crowd. You can book your time in the bunker here.
Full Disclosure: Port City Escape provided Media Discounted tickets for our group.