Race City Escapes – Medieval Marauders (Review)

Location: Mooresville, NC

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

Price: $25 per person

Time to Escape: 60 minutes

’tis a silly place.

Theme:

From the Race City Escapes website:

The king has died. He cared deeply for his cherished kingdom. He chose a leader from each of the four neighboring factions. Knowing that the lust for power would be a factor he hid the identity of his chosen benefactor inside the room. It is your job to find out who it is, eliminate the other factions to be able to claim the throne, and stop the Crusaders from taking control.

First Impressions:

Race City Escapes was a new (to us) business we visited on our recent annual trip out to Charlotte for a marathon of escapes, and we were hoping to find another diamond in the rough, akin to the glorious Masterpiece Escapes in Indian Trail.

High Points:

Continuing this trip’s trend, Medieval Marauders is a very spacious room, easily capable of physically holding the maximum ten players. It’s strange to have to list that as a high point, but it seems like so many rooms are intent of smushing as many players as possible within a tiny room, so it’s commendable that the room is large enough to fit comfortably within. The room is decorated adequately, and while it isn’t anything mind blowing, there are a few nice large scale props included, and it works for a small scale business. Some of the heftier props gave an excellent tactile feel to some of the puzzles, and a lot of the ideas are, at their base level, clever to build off of. The foreshadowing for some of the main endings of puzzle threads was nicely done, and the climax of the room ends things off in an exciting and fun way.

Low Points:

Race City Escapes has a lot of great ideas within the room but is overall lacking in execution. There were quite a few moments when large logical leaps had to be made, and from time to time we’d accidentally get something right, triggering the next box to open and having no idea how we did so. To quote one of my teammates from this room, there’s just a certain level of ridiculousness in place. If you can start to wrap your head around said ridiculousness, it does become somewhat easier to navigate the room, but this experience is very much akin to those in which you have to be inside the designer’s head to understand what’s going on for the most part. The game flow is very choppy, and this is exacerbated by a couple of issues. First, the game play mostly consists of opening a lot of locked boxes, causing a dearth of variety and never really elevating the experience with an exciting reveal. Even those items opened via some form of tech are never surprising as they are not seamlessly hidden and are obviously panels to be opened from the start. The other issue is that the game play is very linear, and there are many moments at which some players are just going to be casting about, looking for something to do. While the room may hold ten players, I can’t imagine a maxed out group staying engaged for the whole experience; there are just too many choke points along the way. The one thing that could improve the whole game is the introduction of a fair amount of cluing. As it stands, there is a lot of vagary and guess and check involved with the puzzling, which just isn’t an entertaining way to engage and immerse players. While the set design is adequate, a lot could be done to add to the immersion in this regard as well, and we’ve seen even smaller businesses execute a convincing castle before, it just takes a bit of know how and a good carpenter/set designer.

Verdict:

Medieval Marauders isn’t a terrible room, but it overall fails to impress. Alright for a small group itching for an escape, or new players looking for an alright introduction to escape rooms, I still can’t fully recommend it due to the absolute boon of escapes available to Charlotte area residents. If you’ve done everything else, it’ll be an ok hour, but I’d check out other spots first. Book your time claiming the crown here.

6/10 (Alright)

Full Disclosure: Race City Escapes provided media discounted tickets for this room.

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