Dare 2 Escape – The Archive (Review)

Location: Kissimmee, FL

Players:  2-8 (We recommend 3-5)

Price: $36 per person

Time to Escape: 90 minutes

This is it! The culmination of all your hard work!

Theme:

From the Dare 2 Escape website:

Do you dare to follow the coordinates sent to you by a mysterious source and be the first group of urban explorers to make it out with the deepest, darkest secrets of the Tillman Family? Do you dare to face the unknown and expose these secrets, with the ultimate risk of being trapped underground and becoming part of the secret that might be buried forever?

First Impressions:

This is it! After three fantastic rooms at Dare 2 Escape, it was time for the room that would tie up the stories of The Asylum, The Ringmaster, and The Dig into one epic conclusion. To say anticipation was high amongst our group would be an understatement. When we stepped into this room for the first time, it was immediately evident our excitement was not unfounded.

High Points:

The Archive boasts the best set of all of Dare 2 Escape’s rooms, and that is high praise. You’re not just told by the game master that you’ll be delving into the sewers of New York to seek out the mysterious Tillman family’s archive, you legitimately step down into the dank looking sewers as the first introduction into the game. The effort gone into making this experience look dank and murky without actually being so is commendable, and it really adds to the immersion of the adventure. Perfectly placed lights and excellent sound design ramp up the feeling of urban exploration, and the multi-floor game remains thrilling from start to finish because of the amazing work done to keep the room looking brilliant. Transitions between each contrasting level of the game were done fantastically, and the reveal of the Archive itself is truly really cool. The set had a few points at which we would climb or crawl, and it was nice to see that there were comfort and safety features added in a way that were non-intrusive, but still ensured we wouldn’t experience any pain during these segments. Story-wise, The Archive expertly weaves together the previous three rooms into an epic conclusion and delivers a superb, twisty climax that leaves the door open for new adventures.

The game flow was incredibly packed with loads of original puzzles, keeping our team engaged for the whole adventure. There are a few different stages to the game, and are, for the most part, non-linear, allowing us to split up to unearth all the secrets that the Tillman family Archive had to offer. And there were so many! Call backs to previous rooms and new story revelations that wove through the entire saga were an excellent way to wrap up the four room experience that Dare 2 Escape has put together. Connections between puzzles and their solutions remained very smooth, and at no point did we feel as though we were stonewalled due to deficiency in the design of the game. There were many different puzzle types to enjoy as well, and enough variety that everyone was able to find an interaction they excelled in. I had several favorite puzzles within The Archive, many of which seemed wholly enigmatic until we discerned the secret behind their moving parts, leading to incredibly satisfying moments of revelation we won’t soon forget!

Low Points:

There weren’t many low points to the experience, honestly. One particular puzzle could have used a little bit more cluing as to the order the solution should be placed in, and another felt as though it required some slightly aimless searching, but these are very small criticisms overall.

Verdict:

The Archive is truly a masterwork of an escape adventure. Very rarely do we see a business that has tailored their rooms into one over arching story, and rarer still is the climactic room so incredibly well done. The Archive is a splendid crown jewel in the Tillman Family Saga of rooms, and I absolutely recommend doing it, especially if you can try out the three rooms that lead up to it. For ninety minute experience that will fly by in the best possible way, you can’t go wrong with this room. Book your urban exploration into the New York sewer system here!

9/10 (Excellent)

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