Uptown Escapes – Sanctuary (Review)

Location: Shelby, NC

Players: 4-8 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $23 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday) $28 (Friday, Saturday) per person

Time to Escape: 70 minutes

People are the true monsters here.


From the Uptown Escapes website:

It’s been years since the lights went out. Civilization is in shambles. All forms of government have crumbled. After the blackout, cities were razed to ash as different factions desperately tried to seize power. There remains, however, one small ray of hope: Sanctuary. You’ve seen the signs, painted crudely on billboards and underpasses. A safe place, open to all, where your worries will finally be relieved.

You have had an uphill journey making your way to Sanctuary’s gates. You are relieved to be here, but there is unquestionably something strange about this refuge. As you enter the gates and approach the welcoming headquarters, the other inhabitants will not look you in the eye. Could this be the place you’ve hoped for? A place to rebuild and start over? Or is this Sanctuary just a prison in disguise?

First Impressions:

Jumping back into the briefing room, we were greeted with another well produced briefing, and waited to see what would happen to us this time! We had been told that Sanctuary was a much more intense experience than Room 1306, so we steeled ourselves for anything! Soon our helpful Sanctuary guard came by to show us to our two separate rooms in his own special, and our adventure into the safe walls of Sanctuary began. There were gumdrop trees and warm hugs all around, definitely. No need to fear your first steps into this stronghold of fear!

High Points:

Sanctuary may be the first room I’ve done that splits the players at the beginning and doesn’t have one room that is way better than the other, which is apparently a triumph, as I’ve never come across such in the almost 200 rooms I’ve previously experienced, so kudos to Uptown Escapes there! Sanctuary is definitely an intense adventure, spanning an extra ten minutes more than the usual escape, and that time isn’t just there for show, you’ll need it during the densely packed rooms that are ahead! The game starts in your dark and bare holding cells, but as you make your way through this, one of humanity’s last bastions, a sinister story unfolds through the development of the set and the excellent props you’ll find inside!

The game flow is great for the most part, splitting between many different puzzle types, allowing for each member of the team to shine during their favorite interactions. There are many points at which small details were suddenly important and helped direct us toward intuitive and satisfying ah ha moments. Several great interactions with the set and props abounded, and one particular puzzle was so simple in it’s presentation, but was one of my favorite interactions of the 17 room weekend, the solution was so elegant! The intense storyline of our escape kept building throughout the entire experience, and only let up once we had completed the wholly awesome climax.

Low Points:

One of the first interactions I had with the room was getting a splinter from a very rough area of one of our initial props. The owners have been notified however, so I’m confident this won’t be a problem in the future. The intensity of the experience could be a pro or con, depending on the player, as it certainly does not let up at all. A slight reprieve from the action might help, as this is definitely a long experience, and though we enjoyed it, there’s a reason most horror movies include comic relief to lighten the mood, as once we were done, we were thoroughly mentally exhausted. At one point during the room, a key was unfortunately missing from the set, causing us to fumble about for a while trying to find it, but once we asked for a clue and it was ascertained that the key was not where it should’ve been, our Game Master leapt into action, getting the key to us and adding some extra time to our clock to make up for it.


Sanctuary is definitely one of the most intense escape adventures I’ve been on, but I still think it is a must do if you’re anywhere near Shelby, NC! An excellent set, coupled with a dense game flow, and an intense storyline, this room is definitely the full package! Beginners might want to check out Room 1306 to start, since this one definitely is a challenge, but I think it can be done with the right group. Enthusiasts will love the ramped up challenge and story, I think! Start your trek to Sanctuary by booking here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Uptown Escapes provided media discounted tickets for our team.

One thought on “Uptown Escapes – Sanctuary (Review)

  1. Wow! Awesome time. The Sanctuary is well done. We had a blast. Thought it would be odd at first with four other strangers but we couldn’t have done it without them. Made it out with only seconds to spare. Again well worth the price!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s