Escapology Columbia – Mayday (Review)

Location: Columbia, SC

Players: 2-6 (We recommend 3-5)

Price: $29.99 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Get off my plane!

Theme:

As members of the Secret Service, you are accompanying President Reagan back from the G7 Economic Summit in Europe. Meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev broke down, and it looks like discussions with the Soviet Union have become impossible, ratcheting up global tensions. Without warning, the plane’s instruments go haywire and it becomes obvious that you’ve been sabotaged! With only 60 minutes of glide time remaining, it is up to you to figure out what went wrong, and make an emergency landing before the inevitable crash!

First Impressions:

Mayday is the newest room for Escapology, and is only available at Escapology Columbia as of this writing. It’s always exciting to be one of the first to play a room, and we have been looking for a good airplane themed room for a while, as the last couple we’d tried weren’t that great. Also, as the first room of our 17 room escape room weekend, we were hoping to start things out on the right foot! Escapology’s lobby is very comfortable, and the rest of the business is just as lushly appointed, with a steampunk theme that I really enjoyed.

High Points:

The interior is made out to resemble a high class plane from the 80s, and extreme effort has been made to help Air Force One look authentic and comfortable. Each subsequent room took us closer to the cockpit, and once we arrived, the front of the plane was very well decorated to present a pilot’s domain within the puzzle focused world. Puzzles are hidden in believable ways, and flow excellently between interactions, leading us through the story while we continued to work through the game. The game itself weaves excellently between linear and non linear paths, keeping our group engaged and entertained from start to finish.

The game takes place during the height of the Cold War and contains a lot of fun historical easter eggs to find for history buffs. Working through the final parts of the adventure, and landing the plane properly is climactic and tense, requiring an excellent amount of teamwork and group cohesion. Completing the game truly feels like cause for celebration as Air Force One touches down!

Low Points:

Newer players will enjoy some of the basic code breaking that is included, but for enthusiasts, this will be a chore you’ve done several times before. One particular puzzle had what seemed to be a very straightforward presentation, but baffled our group due to a lack of clues pointing towards the solution. Even more frustrating for us was that we activated the puzzle solution twice without knowing how we managed it. We didn’t need it spelled out, but a bit more cluing within the game would be great. One door also opened accidentally after an incorrect code was entered due to a slight nudge opening it prematurely.

Verdict:

Mayday is an excellent historically themed and airplane based experience. Combining a thrilling story with a clever puzzling flow, it is definitely one of the best rooms at Escapology Columbia, and I definitely recommend giving it a shot! You can book your stint as a Secret Service Member here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Escapology Columbia provided comped tickets for our team.

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