Room 5280 – The Dark Room (Review)

Location: Raleigh, NC

Players: 2-6 (We recommend 3-4)

Price: $28 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

In the dark of the night!

Theme:

Something strange happened in this mysterious dark room, and it’s up to you to determine what. The previous occupant is long gone, but the mystery endures. Follow their lead, and you might just make it out. There’s more than meets the eye to unearth within, but you’ll have to discover the path within an hour, otherwise you might become part of the mystery itself!

First Impressions:

The Dark Room, like Classified, is slight on details in order to heighten the mystery of the room. From what we could gather, however, this would be a spooky, though not outright scary, adventure. Further, the room was based on a true story, with psychological roots, so we were very excited to uncover the mystery behind this escape!

High Points:

The atmosphere of The Dark Room is excellent, as the pitch darkness coupled with creepy props and designs quickly immersed our group within the world of the room. It became immediately clear that the previous captive of this room had left bread crumbs for us along the way, and these were hidden well, but highly intuitively for the most part! The theme of the room was pretty great, with subtle hints as to what might be going on buried within the puzzles and props. We liked the idea that someone had already escaped, and we were following in their footsteps, as it sort of flipped the ubiquitous kidnapping genre on it’s head.

Once again, we appreciated the trademark streamlined set and game flow of Room 5280, as well as the great use of almost everything in the room to contribute to the puzzles, connecting everything together cleverly. Each clue along the way feels important, ensuring that the experience was light on filler. The game flow works very well, if mostly linearly, and kept us all engaged until the very end with original and finely crafted puzzles. The climax of the room is appropriately exciting, and the interaction at the end was simple, but very much on theme and a lot of fun to experience.

Low Points:

The four of us were only given a couple flashlights in order to explore this dark room, and though this is sometimes done in the name of promoting teamwork, everyone in the room should have their own flashlight, as it alleviates frustrations. I know that I, personally, want to look at and poke everything, so not having a flashlight can make you feel like you’re missing out. One particular puzzle was a lock we hadn’t seen before in a room, which is saying something! Unfortunately, there wasn’t really an intuitive way to open the lock, so it got completely bypassed and we missed out on some key story notes. As it has been said many times, it’s important that you solve puzzles, not locks in escape rooms. This particular lock would benefit from being part of another puzzle, or a clue or two about how to pop it open. One early puzzle involved some particularly hard to find markings that could be made more intuitive with a clue or extra puzzle to determine where they are.

Verdict:

Room 5280 continues to impress with their newest room, delivering a spooky and historically based story that is sure to entertain. Though this one is a bit easier, I think enthusiasts will enjoy the excellent and original puzzles on offer, and newcomers will appreciate The Dark Room as a thrilling introduction to the world of escape rooms. I absolutely recommend giving this and the other three rooms at Room 5280 a shot if you’re in the Raleigh area. Unravel the mystery here!

8/10 (Great)

Full Disclosure: Room 5280 comped our tickets for this room.

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