Southern Pines Escape – Ninja Team Six (Review)

Location: Southern Pines, NC

Players: 2-8 (We recommend 2-3)

Price: $27 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

Chuck Norris once finished an escape room before the briefing began.

Theme:

From the Southern Pines Escape website:

Nobody says NO to legendary martial artist and all around badass Buck Morris, so when he decided to bid on a cursed diamond at an estate auction, nobody tried to outbid him. Unfortunately, that jewel has turned Buck to the dark side. Now he’s roundhouse-kicking anyone who gets in his way as he embarks on a crime fueled rampage. The super-secret vigilante group known as Ninja Team 6 has been tasked with breaking into the military bunker where it’s been rumored that Buck is keeping the jewel.You are members of Ninja Team Six. Your mission is to 1) Infiltrate Buck Morris’ bunker; 2) Figure out where he is keeping the diamond; 3) Retrieve the diamond and escape within one hour, when Buck is expected to return.

First Impressions:

Ninja Team Six is certainly one of the most creative themes we’ve come across, with Chuck Norris’s evil twin serving as the main antagonist and granting his strange eccentricities to the room’s theme. This was also the newest room at Southern Pines Escape, so I was interested to see how their rooms had evolved over the years!

High Points:

While the story line is fairly light overall, it is definitely an interesting conceit for a room in practice, and all areas of the room have a well integrated set design, setting up a fun dichotomy between the levels of the game. There is a really dense set of puzzles to engage with as well, and the connections within Ninja Team Six are some of the best at Southern Pines Escape. Coupling this with a mostly non-linear game flow, even larger teams will have something to do at all points during the adventure. The difficulty curve is pretty smooth for the most part, with the late stages of the game holding the best and most challenging conundrums. One puzzle I thought was really great involved some great Chuck Norris themed word play and had a smooth mechanical interaction that was a fun touch. Though the climax of the room was marred somewhat for us (see below,) it was a cool reveal once the game master was able to get it working, and provided an interesting way to cap things off. Hidden items and surprising reveals are done well, keeping us on our toes through their great presentation. On the whole, this is a reasonably entertaining room to work through, though there is nothing overly mind blowing for veteran escapists.

Low Points:

One of the most noticeable parts of the room is a big red herring, and though we kept coming back to it thinking that it would eventually reveal itself to hold some important clue, it was one hundred percent just a random red herring that had nothing to do with anything. One particular puzzle was an out of theme, “because escape room” time waster that we have been seeing pop up quite a bit lately after not seeing them around much since the escape room early days. Several times, keys did not open locks, not because they were the incorrect key, but because the prop was already worn and finicky, and one late game lock misfired totally, ruining the climactic surprise because it just did not work. One particular escape room sin, (black light, it’s almost always black light, isn’t it?) tripped us up for a while as the use for this item was unclued. One prop was incorrectly reset, causing us to lose a fair bit of time before the game master realized what had happened and came in to correct the problem. Overall, the room is cute and portrays a fun theme, but Chuck Norris’s meme currency is fairly dated, so it’s going to be very hit or miss with players.

Verdict:

Ninja Team Six is a great idea, and the presentation is overall done well, though it is not without it’s issues. However, the game is a little better than average, and will definitely be a good time for those new to the hobby. Enthusiasts might have more fun with a limited group, but should not expect anything too out of the ordinary. I can recommend this one if you’re really itching for an escape, though it wouldn’t be my first choice. Book your enlistment with Ninja Team Six here!

6/10 (Alright)

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