NC Escape – Brewery Heist (Review)

Location: Durham, NC (Also available at Green Light Escape Room in Wilmington, NC)

Players: 4-10 (We Recommend 4-6)

Price: $26 per person

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

OktoberHeist

Theme:

A modern day prohibition has struck, and beer lovers everywhere have been stockpiling as much alcohol away as they can, but a much beloved cache is lost inside an old brewery! You and your boozy friends have stumbled upon that same brewery, and are looking to score the lost beer, but only have an hour to do so. You’ll need a sharp mind if you want to dull it later, so get cracking!

First Impressions:

The Attic was an astounding upgrade for NC Escape, and we were looking forward to our next room almost immediately. Brewery Heist has an original theme and promised to be a larger scale experience based in the same room we had originally completed The Study. This room absolutely blew that one out of the water!

High Points:

I had been in this room before, when it was The Study, a room the previous management had built. Usually when doing a new room in a familiar space, it gives off a palpable sense of deja vu, even with the best makeover, but that was not the case here. NC Escape’s new owners have done such an amazing job transforming the old room into such a beautiful set that I didn’t recognize the room at all. Even after the sneaky twists in The Attic, Brewery Heist proved to be just as, if not more surprising than NC Escape’s other room! A couple of moments during the game, we were astounded by how well the room magically delivered unexpected new treats. In fact, at one point we thought we had to have completed the room when much to our surprise, the room delivered a great “But wait, there’s more!” moment. This room is also one of the few which I can believe would comfortably entertain the maximum ten players via their game flow. With a great run of non-linear puzzling that comes together and branches off several times throughout the game, we remained busily engaged with the room from start to finish. One awesome puzzle had us puzzling over what could possibly be next, and the way we built towards the solution was organic and amazingly satisfying to solve once we finally put all the pieces together.

Though there wasn’t an ongoing storyline beyond exploring the secrets of the old brewery and coming out with the cache of beer, it was an original and entertaining impetus for engaging in the escape. The whole experience is full of mystery, and the final climax of the adventure comes after several very memorable moments. There are a lot of great props to engage with, and the tactile nature of the room really adds to the fun. Each stage of the room builds towards an interesting meta-puzzle, and once each one is completed, it’s a joy to see how the room reacts. The challenge is set upon a really smooth difficulty curve, and the variety of puzzle types really encouraged us to bring our A-game in regards to teamwork! The game flow remains logical and intuitive throughout, and though the room was certainly very challenging, I never felt like we were spinning our wheels or at a loss for what to do.

Low Points:

One small technical failure occurred during our run through the brewery, but it was spotted and taken care of quickly. Some of the puzzles don’t tie as well into the theme as others, popping up as somewhat strange additions. They’re fairly benign, however, and don’t disrupt immersion too terribly. One puzzle type repeats a few times, but each instance was short, causing little frustration.

Verdict:

Brewery Heist is easily one of the best rooms in the area, with an expansive and beautiful set, a great run of non-linear puzzling, and some superb surprises around every corner! Players of all experience levels will find something to enjoy here, and I absolutely recommend trying it out if you’re in the RTP area. The future of NC Escape is very bright under the new owners, and I am extremely excited to see what they come up with next! Book your time searching for the lost beer here!

9/10 (Excellent)

Full disclosure: NC Escape provided comped tickets for our group.

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