Location: Charlotte, NC
Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-6)
Price: $25 per person
Time to Escape: 60 Minutes
You are a group of miners stuck in a deep mine shaft out in the middle of nowhere, West Virginia. A recent collapse has you stuck far away from the elevator, and honestly, it’s unlikely that the elevator is even working right now. As always with this place, the only thing standing between you and the exit is a whole bunch of padlocks and a light smidge of tech. Have at it.
We thought King Tut’s Curse was okay, we were disappointed with Amazon Survival and when entering the dark mine shaft, we were really hoping for a miracle. The sparse, black painted walls and Styrofoam coals did not raise my spirits. Luckily, we were paired with a group of six really fun strangers, at least! That’s not sarcasm, they were really cool and I hope they get to do better escape rooms in the future. Those guys were great.
At least the room is big enough to hold ten people, even if the game flow is not up to the task. Also the Game Master was responsive and upbeat.
If it seems like I’m having a real hard time coming up with anything nice to say about this room, it’s because I am. What a disaster.
You start out in a dark room, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some of my favorite rooms start out that way. The problem here is that the mechanism to ever so slightly light up the room is implemented in the worst possible way. One of your teammates is going to be locked down operating the lights for a while, which is possibly one of the most boring interactions I’ve ever come across in an escape room. I’m not saying everything has to be high-octane adrenaline the whole time, but this was beyond the pale. We immediately came across a destructible state puzzle, which is inexcusable for what it was, and the experience was pretty much all downhill from there. The game itself trends more linear for the most part, though the game has branching puzzle paths on occasion, but never really supports 10 players. There are going to be a lot of dead moments for teammates who aren’t actively working on puzzles. The main highlight of Escape Tactic, set design, is also completely absent from this room, as the shaft itself is mostly black painted walls and darkness. There’s just not much else to look at, and what is there isn’t all that interesting. Again, as in previous Escape Tactic rooms, everything here is pulled from the early days of escape rooms, with puzzles we’ve seen done better in far superior rooms time and time again. One particular prop that was used on at least two separate occasions barely worked, and the Game Master had to break in both times to clue us in on what we needed to be hearing. In fact, she did this without our prompting, so it’s obvious this is a frequent problem. Lock after repetitive lock is the answer to every puzzle, save for a precious few, and the trial and error of entering codes gets tiresome fast. The more “challenging” puzzles require enormous leaps of logic, and some even have multiple solutions, depending on the orientation, forcing you to flip and shuffle highly cumbersome large props. The horribly uninspired “shine the blacklight literally everywhere because of reasons” puzzle returns, and is still not clever in any way. What is it with blacklights and mine shafts anyway? Finally, just to cap off our misery, two of our teammates had allergic reactions to this very dusty room.
I haven’t been in a room this bad in a long time. I try to make sure I vet each location we visit for quality, since we hate to waste our money on a subpar experience, and our time is valuable to us when we travel, but sometimes a real stinker like this one slips through the cracks. An awful game through and through, Mine Trap isn’t worthy of visiting, and I absolutely cannot recommend this one to anyone. The impeccable Twisted is right across the street guys, and there are tons of better rooms in the Charlotte area, Masterpiece Escapes, The Box, and Exit Strategy, to name a few. Go there. Not here.