Xscape – Bomb Squad: It’s All Wired! (Second Look Review)

Location: Hudson, NC

Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-6)

Price: $20 per person Tuesday-Thursday, $25 per person Friday-Saturday

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

It’s still the bomb!

Theme:

The terrorist known as Omega has rigged up a nuclear bomb in his dingy, hidden apartment, and your bombsquad team has been tasked with making sure it doesn’t go off! Navigate his traps and puzzles to find the nuke, and disarm it carefully so that you can be the heroes of the day, rather than bits of ash at ground zero!

Xscape_Bombsquad_01

First Impressions:

This review might seem to be a bit of deja-vu, and if so, it’s because we’ve played Bomb Squad once before, about a year ago. During that game we experienced a major game mastering error that prevented us from escaping, and after speaking with the owner, they wanted to have us back to try again on the house so that we could have the full experience. It took us a good while, but we finally made the trek back so that we can more fully review this room! This is the first time we’ve ever replayed a room, but luckily, we were able to bring some newbies along, and we had forgotten most of the details of the previous experience.

Xscape_Bombsquad_03

High Points:

I am extremely pleased to report that many of the issues we experienced during our last outing to Xscape have been remedied. Our game master was excellent, and provided a fantastic briefing and supportive clues when needed, all within the game flow. Gating issues we came across previously have all been eradicated, as puzzles we were able to previously solve out of order to no effect have been corrected to ensure this is no longer possible, and the aimless seek and find that featured heavily before was eliminated in favor of much more elegant, but still challenging, interactions.

The set design of Bomb Squad is still top notch, even a year later, and though I’m sure hundreds of teams have puzzled their way through Omega’s lair in the interim, the room still looks fantastic, with zero wear and tear in sight. The sense of immersion we felt within the room is spectacular, and the soundtrack, storyline, and lighting effects all heighten the feeling throughout. The story is fantastic, and new tidbits are delivered through humorous cut scenes peppered throughout the experience, providing a bit of comic relief during the intense adventure. Some unexpected twists fake out even the most hardened escape veteran, and the game is all the more exciting for it.

The game flow is spectacular and promotes teamwork throughout, focusing on good communication and tight puzzling, and although it is generally linear, no one was left standing around to wait for other puzzles to solve. There are several points in which the room became non-linear, and the interactions during those sections were well suited to dividing and conquering. The game also provides a very challenging experience, which demands keen observation skills and some really out of the box thinking, but does not stoop to obtuse puzzles or unfair interactions to artificially heighten the challenge. A mostly lockless experience, the tech that makes up the bulk of the room is well hidden, producing an escape that is continually full of surprises throughout. Even basic puzzles are presented in clever ways, spicing up what would be simpler interactions with a touch of cool tech and fantastically remastered gameplay. Overall, this version of Bomb Squad is superb, clearing up old issues and providing one of the best escape experiences in North Carolina!

Xscape_Bombsquad_04

Low Points:

The only thing I think we had a problem with during this adventure was the video scenes. The dialogue is great, but sometimes difficult to hear during the game, especially when running from another room in order to see what’s happening. Even when in the same room, however, it can be difficult to decipher what’s being said. A small adjustment to the ambient noise or a louder dialogue track might help, but barring that, it might be helpful to include subtitles for those having trouble hearing.

Xscape_Bombsquad_06

Verdict:

Our second run through Bomb Squad was even more amazing than the first, delivering an experience that is tactile, surprising, and most importantly, purely fun. It was great to see the improvements made, and I’m happy to be able to highly recommend this beautifully crafted experience. As I said before, Bomb Squad is absolutely worth the time and money, and is densely packed with clever puzzles to solve! Book your time in Omega’s lair here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

Full disclosure: Xscape provided comped tickets for our team.

One thought on “Xscape – Bomb Squad: It’s All Wired! (Second Look Review)

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