Total Escape – Yacht Heist (Review)

Location: Winston-Salem, NC

Price: $30 per person

Players: 2-10 (We recommend 4-6)

Time to Escape: 60 Minutes

Steal from the ultra rich and give to the poor. The poor being us.

Theme:

Your team owes a loan shark a lot of money, and in order to raise it in time, you look to your only skill set, thievery! You’ve identified a swanky yacht and have the inside scoop on a couple million dollars worth of crowns and coins hidden inside. You need to collect at least a million to get keep the knee breakers at bay, but anything beyond that will definitely make for a good nest egg! You’ve only got an hour, so get in, get the loot, and get out before the cops arrive!

First Impressions:

A few months ago, we’d tried out Total Escape’s two previous escape rooms, Temple of Tikal and Prison Break, which we had an amazing time escaping from. We just barely missed the opening of Yacht Heist the last time we came out, and couldn’t wait to return, as when they gave us a sneak peek of the build, we were absolutely floored at how awesome it already looked! To cap off our Charlotte area road trip, we visited on our way back home, and I can easily say that it was an awesome way to end our 11 room run!

High Points:

The finished set of Yacht Heist is absolutely beautiful, with an ever expanding, wonderfully spacious set of rooms that were filled to the brim with astoundingly good props, puzzles, and technical effects. Matching the great set is the excellent premise, which tasks players with stealing as much loot as they can within an hour, rather than simply escaping. One of my favorite introductions for any escape room is breaking in, rather than out, and the initial stages of the game have players doing just that, ensuring they feel like the master thieves the theme promises. As puzzles are solved and the money total ramps up, the sense of accomplishment and immersion into our roles was enormously satisfying. This room truly lived up to the hype I’d built up in my mind, and then some. We were told roughly how much loot was in the yacht from the start, and the way progression was marked was beautiful, giving us a tactile way to log our spoils, while at the same time ensuring we knew exactly where we were within the flow of the room itself. As far as the set, thematic design, and overall game mechanics go, this room was executed beautifully.

Puzzles did not disappoint either, with a non-linear run of interactions that kept our group fully engaged from start to finish. The multiple threads weave through the game fantastically, and branch off of the main path with what could be described as fun side missions as we investigated suspicious areas of the yacht and uncovered new and exciting items and loot! (and bottled water once, which was greatly appreciated.) Many of these interactions were housed within some fantastic tech, which were seamlessly implemented within the luxurious floating puzzle room and I don’t remember coming across a single basic lock! The difficulty curve works wonderfully, and delivers some easy wins on the way to some deviously clever puzzling. The gamut of challenges was also astoundingly varied, with something to appeal to all types of solvers! Our team split up and came together for various puzzles multiple times, finding conundrums that played to each of our strengths, and at no point did anyone experience any time standing around. By the time we triggered the climax of the room, we were jazzed at having solved this densely packed room, and amazed at what was certainly one of the best rooms in NC.

Low Points:

There is quite a bit to find within the titular yacht, but some of it boils down to aimless searching. As completionists, we wanted to make sure we found everything, and we did, but some of the more well hidden items were unclued. It would’ve been more interesting to have a clue or puzzle to point towards these, especially one hidden stash that seemed like it was in a place we were told would hold no secrets. This was really the only point where we hit a snag in the game flow, and luckily, we aren’t averse to taking hints when we need them, so it didn’t become overly frustrating. There is one piece of outside knowledge that wasn’t an issue for us, but the younger crowd might not know what’s being referenced.

Verdict:

Yacht Heist is my absolute favorite room at Total Escape, and that’s certainly saying something, as all of their rooms have been beautiful, top notch puzzling experiences. This business is absolutely one of those to keep an eye on, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Their rooms have evolved by leaps and bounds each time, and I highly recommend checking this, or any of their others out, as they’re some of the best around. Book your yacht heist here!

9.5/10 (Excellent)

Full disclosure: Total Escape provided media discounted tickets for our group.

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