Location: Columbia, SC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 2-4)
Price: $29.99 per person
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
Not quite the cure for boredom
It’s a tale as old as escape rooms. Mad scientist meets deadly toxin. Mad scientist falls in love with deadly toxin, and devises a way to trigger the apocalypse with deadly toxin. Mad scientist sets a plan in motion, but accidentally tips off the authorities. You are said authorities, stop the deadly toxin! It’s not a terrible theme, but it isn’t overly imaginative, and as we’ve seen recently with Room 5280’s The Experiment, there are ways to implement a scientific theme while creating something wholly new and exciting!
We’d had a fun time in Escapology’s three previous rooms, so even though the theme here wasn’t the most original, we were excited to see how they approached it. After turning down the option to play this one as a competitive room, (Our team sticks together no matter what! Keyed Up for Life!) we were led into the lab and set upon our goal of stopping the virus!
There is one enjoyable interaction that involves performing specific actions to sterilize the room before moving on, and with just a bit more theatrics, could help this room stand out a little more. The game flow makes sense on the whole, and though the room does have a couple points at which it becomes non-linear, the mostly narrow path through the room’s puzzles is a good start for beginner groups, which we were advised Antidote was designed for as it is Escapology’s easiest room. The props are fun to play around with, and a couple of highly tactile interactions make for a satisfying few moments.
Unfortunately, the experience on the whole is very basic. The set looks like your run of the mill lab, and doesn’t do much to excite, executing the bare minimum to qualify as a mad scientist’s lair. After the elaborate first rooms of Budapest Express, Under Pressure, and Mayday, it was a bit of a let down to enter what felt ultimately like a repurposed office space. One puzzle demands teamwork, but is next to impossible to line up correctly due to the way it is set up, and though we had our tallest member manipulate the half of the puzzle that seemed to demand height, we never quite got it to work properly. It’s a good idea, but a lot of adjustment needs to be made, as we eventually puzzled out the answer via different means than what was intended. Overall, almost none of the puzzles stand out, with one seeming to correlate to a different solution due to the vagary of its cluing, and so many relying on laminated pages in a notebook to present the riddles. It’s never really that bad of a room, just overall stark and plain, with puzzles all but the newest escapees will have seen before.
Antidote isn’t a bad room, but it never really becomes good, with a banal run of puzzles that lead toward the escape. Very new players might have a good time with it, but any level of experience will more than likely make it a paint by numbers experience. Sadly, Antidote is the most average experience I’ve had with an escape room, which isn’t necessarily horrible, but very forgettable. If you’d like to check it out, though, you can book your time stopping the deadly toxin here!
Full Disclosure: Escapology Columbia provided comped tickets for our team.