Location: Clayton, NC
Players: 2-6 (We recommend 2-3)
Price: $27.75 plus a $.69 booking fee per person (With the option to make the experience private for a flat $150 added on.)
Time to Escape: 60 minutes
That way lies madness
The old Asylum is meant to become an elegant hotel soon, but the workers keep coming across explainable phenomenon! It’s up to your team of ghost hunters to eradicate the spectral menace, and ensure the Asylum is free of ghosts. You have sixty minutes.
6th Se6se seemed to have some good ideas for themes, if not business names, and were on the way during one of our most recent escape trips, so we thought we’d give them a shot. The lobby was interestingly decorated, and we had checked out a couple of pretty great businesses earlier in the day, so we were jazzed and ready to give another few rooms a go!
The system for delivering clues to each other while split up between rooms is pretty awesome, if slightly difficult to reach for shorter players. The first part of the room does encourage a good bit of teamwork, and communication back and forth is absolutely key to getting the team back together. There quite a bit to do within the room, however, it is very hit or miss, and the mantra, “quality over quantity” came to mind frequently. This is also 6th Se6se’s most original room, for what it’s worth.
The room starts out in a pretty poor fashion, with our GM jumping in over the walkie talkie to ask us if we want a hint since pretty much everyone needs a hint for the first puzzle. Not the best way to start, as if everyone needs the hint, why not incorporate it into the game via a in room clue? The puzzle itself also required leaps of logic that made little sense, and was a puzzle type that is widely despised, furthering the negative first impression. Beyond that, the rooms are very first gen, which is not an issue in itself, but a lot of the locks repeat, so there is entirely too much guess and check after solving a puzzle which becomes tiresome. This could be alleviated by adding in some in game method of tying locks to puzzles, which tends to be the norm. There were also particular locks that were pointed out to us before the game that were known to be overly finicky, and there was no reason not to replace these with better functioning locks. True to form, these locks were difficult to open and it’s very frustrating that the owners know the locks are temperamental, yet haven’t replaced them with better locks. There was also a reset failure for one box, which was already set to the code needed to open it.
Asylum was filled to the absolute brim with escape room sins. The first was a seeming love affair with the black light we found, which needed to be shined everywhere because of reasons. No direction at all, just lazy, shine the light on everything “puzzles.” An extremely common escape room code was used over and over, padding out the game time in a way that added absolutely nothing positive to the experience. Very frequently, the victory of opening a lock was confounded when all that was found inside was a random key or yet another locked box, ultimately destroying any sense of satisfaction or progression we could eke out from the room. There’s a lot of junk in the room as well, leading to an extremely messy set, even though we tried our best to stay organized, per usual. This was exacerbated by the room’s inability to comfortably hold the six escapists we brought, much less the maximum of eight that was advertised. Luckily, we weren’t joined by any strangers, or we probably would’ve been crammed in there even more uncomfortably. Most puzzles involved some Herculean leaps of logic, with one making next to no sense, essentially requiring us to spin the last dial for reasons unknown.
Truly, this room is just an absolutely miserable time.
The Asylum has some good ideas in theory and 6th Se6se’s best set, but it’s not quite good enough to overcome the bland puzzling and the uncomfortable nature of the escape room itself. Unfortunately, this is also their best room. If you’re really desperate for an escape room, it might do the trick, but there are others within a thirty minute drive that’ll scratch that itch way better than this one. Even worse, this room is one of the most expensive in the area, and it certainly does not live up to the almost thirty dollar price point. I don’t recommend booking here, but if you would like to get trapped in this particular Asylum, you can do so here.